From Wii U to the Nintendo Switch
Let’s start with the obvious note, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t a completely new release, it’s merely a translation of the Wii U game to the Nintendo Switch with minor aspects added and overhauled. The game runs better than ever before on the small console with full 1080p and 60fps in docked mode and 720p and 60fps in handheld mode. You can play local multiplayer with up to 4 players and easily play with the two joycons in local mulitplayer for two right from the start. What is also new are 6 new characters, smart steering, auto acceleration, dual item capacity, 8 people local multiplayer, lan mode functionality and all tracks have been unlocked right from the start. That is quite a lot and makes the new version of Mario Kart 8 actually deluxe.
Fantastic as usual and more open than ever
This might indicate, that Super Mario Kart 8 DX is now an open world driving game, but what I actually meant with this headline is that the newly added auto acceleration and smart steering help a lot when playing Mario Kart. It can be turned off, so don’t worry, yes you can still take all of the short cuts wherever they are on the track. This is important because it helps other players which are maybe not as experienced with the game, younger players and also players with disabilities, to drive just as well or at least well enough to have fun racing pros and those that are in general good at racing and Mario Kart games. This inclusion is tremendous for many reasons, not just the inclusion of a barrier free implementation, but also to bring in more people that may have thought they shouldn’t try games like Mario Kart for whatever reason, such as being too afraid of never learning how to play properly. This new smart steering does actually only serve as a training wheel mode, as this function will always try to keep you on track, while you may want to actively take a shortcut away from the standard racetrack.
Other than that, the dual item mode, meaning you can store an addtional item in your hands while you’re driving, means that a lot more action gets into the game. Players will have more chances of taking over other drivers when chasing for the first place and in that also have more fun. Races are as always action packed and challenging, while keeping the fun alive and well in the spirit of Mario Kart as we all got to love it over the past years.
Online and beyond
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe does come with online functionality again and going into online races takes just a few seconds to a minute. Sometimes you’ll get placed into a lobby while a race is going on, which allows you to use the built in spectator mode to watch other drivers while you wait. As soon as the next race starts you can also pick your driver, vote for a map and start the fun again. Other than the previous Mario Kart 8, the Deluxe version does not feature the voice chat support, which, as we know now, will be delivered via the Smartphone app some day. Maybe. It’s January 9th now and it still hasn’t arrived yet while we still wait in general for the Nintendo Switch online system. Rumour has it, that it will be delayed until the end of 2018, but who knows what is really true right now. We don’t have official sources for this part of the Nintendo Switch online system yet. Luckily, online racing isn’t a part of this for now, so we can all just sit down and have fun races with the world in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Performance where needed
Other changes also have made their way to the Deluxe version of Mario Kart 8. The fire hopping glitch was removed and two addtional items make their return, the boo item and the feather item. The boo item lets you steal another item from a random driver, turning things around yet more than before. The feather item lets you take a big jump which opens up some interesting strategies for driving through shortcuts and evading attacks like a nice red cooper shell. Lastly you can now also boost into one higher step, after the orange and blue sparks you can now also get to the pink sparks, giving you an even higher boost than before. Especially drifting feels fantastic yet again in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which helps you greatly taking those tight turns at highest speeds.
So that’s it?
Pretty much. I can’t really go into more details as I am not much of an expert on Mario Kart games and their respective competitive scene, nor am I really seeing any big innovation from the previous games, other than the fact that races are happening now on the side of walls and even upside down from the freaking ceiling! I find it interesting, that the level design doesn’t require that much change in many tracks in order to make them feel better. The classic maps are of course exempt from this change. So still, after all these years, it does not really feel like a big change from the previous Mario Kart games, just simply a really good version. From what I would hope for is the double dash principle, to drive together while a friend can help out with items, dashes and similar gameplay mechanics, but I suppose that is not going to happen anytime soon.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes every bit of content a Mario Kart fan can hope for, while also receiving a solid on the go experience, linked to the power of the Nintendo Switch. Playing with friends together was never easier, even without the use of the home wifi to connect all consoles. Holding two items at the same time and the inclusive smart steering and auto acceleration functions help a lot to bring the fun to more than just the typical Mario Kart veterans. I definitely recommend this game to add to your collection.