Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Video Games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

11 May , 2017  

Written by Jon Scarr
Start your engines! The definitive version of Mario Kart 8 has sped its way onto the Nintendo Switch and includes everything from the Wii U version and more.
With new characters, a new Battle Mode, new items and karts, improved graphics, and more ways to play—Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a must-have game. Read more in our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review.

Gameplay enhancements for new and experienced players

Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U had impeccable gameplay and it’s hard to image but Nintendo has made some tweaks to gameplay that make it even better on the Nintendo Switch. The tweaks that Nintendo have made to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are two fold.
The game is now more accessible to gamers of varying skill and experienced gamers get some bonuses too. Smart steering, enabled by default, helps gamers new to the series stay on the tracks. So tracks like Rainbow Road are no longer frustrating and gives everyone a fair shot.
At first I wasn’t too keen on this feature being enabled by default, but then realized it allows for different handicaps when racing against others. It’s easy to turn this on and off and makes an already mainstream game even more accessible.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review
Nintendo didn’t forget Mario Kart veterans when tweaking the gameplay. There is now a third level of drift boost, indicated by purple sparks, that allows you to shave precious seconds from your fastest lap times. This adds an extra level of completion on and off online that I found absolutely compelling.
Furthermore, it feels as if the distribution of power ups has been levelled. Of course you still get the best power ups when you are lagging behind to encourage epic comebacks. Now that you can hold two power ups at a time, it makes taking out your opponent that much more fun.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Revamped Battle Mode

If there was one thing that I could complain about Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U was its Battle Mode. Simply put, it wasn’t fun. Luckily that’s all been changed with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, welcome back arena-style maps.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has eight arenas to play in, including some classics from previous Mario Kart Battle Modes, and a nice variety of gameplay modes.

  • The classic Balloon Fight, the most hits on your opponents will win
  • Bob-omb Blast is bomb-only carnage fest
  • Coin Runners has you collecting gold coins, the person with the most wins
  • Shine Thief is a kind of rolling King of the Hill, as players must hold onto a star for a certain amount of time to win
  • The all-new Renegade Roundup is my personal favourite. It’s a team-based game of cops and robbers, as one team chases the other with Piranha Plants that chomp. If you get caught you get placed in a jail cell, and you are trapped until one of your teammates can free you.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review


More karts, items and characters

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe adds five new characters, Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy, King Boo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr. to bring the total number of racers to 42—the most for any game in the series.
The Koopa Clown kart from Mario 7 makes a return, and two new Splatoon-themed ATVs—the Splat Buggy and Inkstriker—make their debut. In addition, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sees the return of the item-stealing Boo and jumping Feather.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Tips to give you the competitive edge

The Mario Kart series has always been a franchise that invokes friendly competitive play, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is no different. I’ve come up with these tips to give you the competitive edge against your opponents.

  • The best strategy for any of the game’s Battle Modes is to stay on the outside of any crowd. Opponents will be slinging power ups at each other at a frantic pace, which will make it nearly impossible to avoid getting hit. Stay at a safe distance and throw your projectiles in to the crow to get points.
  • Unlike previous games, you are not out when all of your balloons are popped in Balloon Battle. Instead, points are deducted and you are put right back in the game. Your main person of interest should be the current high scorer. Pop all five of their balloons and they are put into the middle of the pack, giving you a chance to take the lead.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the banana peel can be deadly weapon. When you get the three banana peel power up, it will rotate around you like shells normally do. Use this to your advantage to block incoming shells or to ram your opponents.
  • You can steal your opponents balloons in Battle Mode by using the Feather and the Mushroom. Ram into your opponent while boosting with the Mushroom to nab a balloon. Or, with the Feather simply jump over your opponent and you’ll steal a balloon.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Final Thoughts

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a perfect example of what Nintendo does best, make fun and enjoyable games that everyone loves. This game is yet another reason to buy a Nintendo Switch and even if you own Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, Nintendo has packed so many new features into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that makes it worthy of a purchase.
Simply put, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch is the best Mario Kart game in franchise history. I can’t think of a single game that has got my attention and kept it for so long than this game. If you are looking for a game with incredible replay value, loads of hours of competitive fun both off and online—then you can not go wrong with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Game Details

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Racing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Final Score: 99/100
About the Author: Jon Scarr
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.


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