Developer: Nintendo EAD Publisher: Nintendo Series: Mario Kart Platform: Nintendo Switch Exclusive Mode: Single-player, Multiplayer Genre: Racing Available Now
“Race anytime, anywhere! Hit the road with the definitive version of Mario Kart 8.”
By: Mitchell Cole
Ready to Kart It Up…Again???
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has raced its way into the homes of Nintendo Switch owners with fresh paint, a few new characters & tracks, and…well, that’s just about it but with a formula as golden as Mario Kart, this may just be enough to entice new Switch owners, already familiar with the Nintendo Wii U predecessor. For those not familiar with the Wii U version, mark this title a Switch ‘Must-Have’ for your library. Luckily, the Nintendo Switch offers something its Wii U counterpart never could or will be able to; a fully powered Mario Kart with the ability to take the race with you wherever you go!
Looking Good in that Auto Body!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features a bevy of characters and tracks previously available on the Nintendo Wii U version with a few added bonuses. Nintendo took Mario Kart 8, supe’d it up times ten, and fully demonstrated the early capabilities of the Nintendo Switch. 42 characters, 48 courses, 8 battle mode courses, 23 power-ups, and a slew of kart pieces to unlock, helps make Nintendo’s claim as the ‘definitive version’ the undeniable truth.
Mario Kart shines on both the big screen and small screen in respect. Whether 720p or 1080p, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe shines graphically. Where many may think there isn’t much of difference between the looks of Mario Kart 8 on the Nintendo Wii U versus its new Nintendo Switch power-up look, it’s all in the details and how well you look! With every crash, every weapon, every showboat reaction, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe retains the whimsical look but with cutting edge graphical power. Sun gleams off of karts while your racers eyes follow your opponent as they pass you by. (or vice versa if you prefer)
The Thrill of the Race, The Sounds That Delight!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sounds are top-notch while never more than just happy go-lucky tunes, tiny sound effects, and the occasional blurp from a racer passing by, but that only adds to the charm. Each level has the most appropriate track and each sound effect from the tracks add to the exciting action no matter what level you play.
The controls for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are superb! Nintendo also introduced a new feature here. Players now have the ability to select a more beginner level of controls i.e. smart-steering and auto-accelerate for beginners; the former makes driving and staying on the track easier, the latter makes the vehicle automatically accelerate. Nintendo has provided plenty of option in ‘how’ you play too. While playing from the dock and your television is fun and fine; simply detach the Switch console from its dock and GO! Here is where this game shines above all others before it. Once portable, players have the chance to attach your joy-con controllers to the base and play as a mobile game console, or play with a family member in the doctors’ waiting room with separate joy-con pieces acting as independent controllers. (I referenced the doctor’s office visit as that was the exact scene played out with me and a son of mine here just recently!)
So Many New Statistics
I had to go check on this myself and I’m glad I did. Nintendo went and adjusted a lot of the stats of karts and players. Nothing major or one-sided either. For me, it felt as if the weight system had been altered, which was the case. Stats have been brought even closer to a more balanced nature. I’m not one for stats on a Kart racer. I choose karts based upon the looks and how goofy I can make my Kart look sometimes. But if you are a stat nut, I’m sure you also noticed this too. Nintendo tinkered under the hood most in this oft-times overlooked department. For a player such as myself, it was hardly a notice or worthwhile venture. Serious online racers will look at it much differently I suspect.
Just how do you want it? Local… 3 players only…how about online in a private group? Nintendo has long been the King of local multiplayer yet much likened to the Court Jester for online multiplayers. Finding enough players to create a private group was okay while simply playing online and joining a match also played fine. I am not much for online racing but experimented with the game’s online portion. I noticed I still waited for what seemed like eternity while a match was set-up or finishing. For as many copies sold, I always hope there are enough players in queue to keep up without forcing players to wait in the waiting lobby eternal hell. Also, again not present is voice chat. I doubt Nintendo will allow voice chat in any near future but it is a huge ding in the online multiplayer world.
Nintendo has no worries about local multiplayer problems though. Here is where Nintendo shines! Invite your friends over or sit down with your children and turn on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and watch as time flies by. While it may cost a small fortune in proper accessories to play a larger scale party, the ability is there. My children, girlfriend, and I have been having a terrific time racing against each other or together on teams. This is a ‘Must-Have’ for parties with a Switch present!
Wii U Version, Great! Switch Version, Absolutely Amazing!
As an owner of both versions, I can say that there was enough material and interest to justify a purchase of the Switch version. With new characters and tracks previously not released on the Wii U version, the Nintendo Switch version also did a great job in improving ‘Battle Mode’. I enjoy the ‘Gran Prix’ but the Battle Mode is where I love to live! 5 Battle Modes and 8 Battle Tracks makes Deluxe almost large enough a game on its own without the rest! Battle mode games include Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners, and Shine Thief. Competition is fierce and ruthless. Choose to play single-player or as a team, set your parameters, and off you go looking to destroy before being destroyed yourself!
If you already own the Wii U version and have been on the fence; I understand. For me, there was enough new to justify my desire to own and play the game. For others, it may not be the case. And that is fine. Make no mistake though, although this is Mario Kart 8; this is Mario Kart 8 DELUXE! Maybe that is enough to get you off that fence!
Story: C | Graphics: A+ | Audio: A | Replay: A | Controls: A
Overall, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is as they claim…The ‘definitive Mario Kart 8’ edition. This is by far the largest Mario Kart game to date period. With so many characters, stats, karts, and levels available from the very beginning, one would think they threw the whole kitchen sink into this game however there is at least one un-lockable character. (We’ll let you look that up or discover for yourself!) If you have purchased a Switch, you most likely have bought this game but if you are the other half who has yet to purchase; you’re really missing out on a great feeling title that encourages fun over anything else in gaming. If you are considering a Switch purchase, you still have to wait most everywhere as they are still sold out. When you do get your Switch, be sure to give Mario Kart 8 Deluxe its proper respect. Although a port of its predecessor, Deluxe offers much more of what Nintendo probably wanted to accomplish for the game in the first place. Do you agree? Share your thoughts, let us know if agree or disagree with my review! And as ever, ‘Gamers Unite’!!!