It’s been a long, long time since I’ve played Mario Kart. It wasn’t until the Nintendo 64 version that I spent endless hours playing with friends. Since then, I’ve skipped many iterations, including the original Mario Kart 8 that launched on the Wii U. With the Deluxe version on Nintendo Switch though, you’re getting the base game and all the unlocked content in one great package. With the definitive version of Mario Kart 8 now on the Switch, is this new exclusive worth the plunge if you have it already?
It’s easy to repackage a game and bring it over to the next console generation, it’s become the normal thing companies do these days. However, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you’re getting a stellar package on top of new features that weren’t present in the original game. This is the definitive version of Mario Kart 8, with all 48 courses, including all DLC tracks, and 42 characters to choose from. There are even newcomers like Bowser Jr, the Inkling Boy and Girl, King Boo, and Dry Bones.
The amount of content you’re getting will leave you busy for dozens of hours right from the start, Nintendo wants you and your friends to explore every mode, play every map and have fun with friends.
Jumping straight in, the first thing you’ll see is that everything is already unlocked, this leaves more time for enjoying playing with your friends and online, granted, small things like new rides unlock by collecting coins, but characters and tracks are unlocked. Players are now able to hold two items now, which wasn’t present in the original release, often being the reason of salvation during a final lap stretch.
Battle mode has gotten an overhaul, and after considering the abysmal version featured on the Wii U, Nintendo has revamped this mode for the Switch release. On the Wii U, Battle Mode took place on race tracks instead of battle arenas, with this release, we’ve now got dedicated arenas. In addition to the arenas, Nintendo went ahead and added Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners, and Shine Thief.
In Balloon Battle, your main adjective is to survive by taking the others out and utilizing items to pop rival’s balloons. New modes like Renegade Roundup, essentially cops and robbers, has two teams and has the cops using Piranha Plants to capture Renegades and place them in jail. The Renegades can free teammates by pushing a button linked to the cell they are placed in. It’s a hectic mode and a ton of fun if you’re playing with a full lobby.
Bob-omb Blast is Balloon Blast with all items being Bob-ombs. Coin Runners has you dashing around the map collecting coins, trying not to get hit by others, which cause you to lose coins, whoever collects the most wins the round. Shine Thief has you collecting a Shine from the middle of the map, and you need to hold onto it, however, when holding the Shine, you will drive slower than the others who are working against you drop it.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks best when docked to your TV, as here you’re getting 1080p/60 frames per second, and 720p/60 frames per second while in handheld mode. The charm of Nintendo characters and level design pave the way for the best Mario Kart game so far, this is hands down a beautiful game to look at in motion.
Online play is basic, for whatever reason, Nintendo decides to stay at arms-length when it comes to multiplayer, or any online capabilities, which is sad to see with such colorful games. Why can’t I send an invitation to a friend, or speak to them via voice chat? These missteps from Nintendo hurt the company, and in 2017, this is sad to see missing from their products.
The benefit of porting a game like Mario Kart 8 to the Nintendo Switch, is the portability the console brings. Playing on the go is fantastic, and being able to play while waiting in the doctor’s office, waiting in line, or on break, is an experience I’m getting used to.
While I would have preferred Mario Kart 9 on the Switch, the definitive version of Mario Kart 8 is a welcome addition to the small lineup that Nintendo’s console offers. I can’t tell you how much fun I had playing this with my friends, coworkers, and strangers online these past few days, and I fully expect myself to continue enjoying it long past its release date. If you’ve played Mario Kart 8 before, this version is it, it’s the best of everything combined into one package. If you’re like me and jumping back into the series, there is no better version to get addicted to. Thankfully, Nintendo listened and did well by their fans, and the improved Battle Mode is a good reason to consider purchasing the game.