Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) Review

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Good: New Battle Modes, Portable Mario Kart 8, Play Anywhere
Bad: Limited Reason to Play Single-Player
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It’s a daunting task to improve upon near gaming perfection, but Nintendo approached this challenge with confidence and optimism as they sought to enhance Mario Kart 8 with a fresh deluxe version for the newly released Nintendo Switch. Mario Kart 8 was originally released in 2014 for the Nintendo Wii U, and the title was praised for its innovative gravity defying racing system, brilliant sound design, and exquisite track design. The culmination of these made Mario Kart 8 one of the best Mario Kart titles to ever release; yet the title had one flaw: a poorly implemented battle mode. This one blemish has been purified in 2017, as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch has a full featured battle mode and other enhancements that make it the best version of Mario Kart 8 and pure joy to play on Switch.

If you played Mario Kart 8 on Wii U and devoted hundreds of hours of playtime to the game over the last few years, you may worry that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe doesn’t offer enough new content to justify a double-dip. While those concerns are certainly valid, one must consider what the duo of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Nintendo Switch offer to the player. For starters; all of Mario Kart 8’s downloadable content – 200cc, more tracks, and more vehicle customization options, is featured in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Then there is better resolution, along with graphical and performance upgrades. An improved Battle Mode that features new tracks and multiplayer game modes. Local and split-screen multiplayer without the need to buy a second controller. And, finally, the gift of portability and freedom to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe anywhere.

Single-player provides the player with all the standard modes you have come to expect from a Mario Kart release – 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, 200cc, and Mirror Mode. Unlike the vanilla release of Mario Kart 8; all difficulties, characters, and cups are unlocked from the start in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This modification is a bit like a Green Shell – it has its benefits, but also runs the risk of damaging one’s self. What we mean by that is it benefits those who have played Mario Kart 8 and may not feel the desire to grind through the single-player to unlock their favorite character again; but also negates the need to play through the single-player mode.

This change is one that may not bother some, and it may bother others. Luckily, the single-player is entertaining and well worth playing through as the coins you collect will aid in unlocking karts and customization parts in the game. There is one other incentive exclusive to 200cc, and that is Gold Mario. If you earn the gold on all the cups in 200cc, you will unlock Gold Mario as a playable character. Completing 200cc and earning the gold trophy is quite the task and requires an intimate knowledge of the course design, as you will need to know when to brake to avoid falling off the track. Gold Mario is a nice reward for completing 200cc in first place and it provides the single-player a purpose.

The biggest addition made to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is Battle Mode and its five game modes – Balloon Battle, Shine Thief, Coin Runners, Renegade Roundup, and Bob-omb Blast. Each of the five modes offer a distinct multiplayer – or solo – experience, thus offers the player multiple variety. Allowing for up to 12-players to compete, matches in each mode can become chaotic, exciting, and be an absolute thrill.

Balloon Battle has players throw items to pop opponents’ balloons to earn points. The player with the most points at the end of the round wins. If all your balloons are popped in a match, you are sidelined for a few seconds, lose half of your point total, and are given a new set of balloons.

Bob-omb Blast is similar to Balloon Battle as your goal is to destroy the balloons of the other competitors. However, the key difference between the two modes is that the only item available in Bob-omb Blast are bombs. This mode is explosive fun as you time your bomb drops to catch an unsuspecting opponent, or blindly toss a long-distance bomb in hopes it hits a rival racer.

In Coin Runners your mission is simple: collect as many coins as possible within the time limit. To gather extra coins, you can throw items at opposing racers to make them drop coins or ram into them while using a Mushroom to steal a few coins. Coins will appear on the map every so often in random drops, so it’s a competition to collect and steal as many coins as imaginable. If are in the lead, you will be marked with a crown on the game’s mini-map and may need to play a bit of defense to keep predators away from your coin stockpile.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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