Between the Luigi Death Stare and the on-point DLC, Mario Kart 8 hit the sweet spot for players almost every time. But it was one shell-shocker mode that caused a ruckus in the arena, battle mode was the face of disappointment, the elephant in the room. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nintendo has finally made a battle mode to rival those golden days from the N64 and GameCube. And it’s really that good.
It’s been three years since we graced the tracks in Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. Since then, we’ve seen new DLC and characters released for the game to keep it fresh. With the Nintendo Switch’s release, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe promises more fun-fuelled action with the return of two item slots for double banana-stacking trouble, an all-new battle mode and six new characters – including Inkling Girl and Boy, King Boo, Bowser Junior, Metal Mario and Dry Bones – for a 42-strong karting roster. With all DLC – which includes the Mercedes-Benz crossover vehicles and upgrades – and Grand Prix modes unlocked from the get-go, there’s plenty of content for those who missed out on the Wii U version, along with new 200cc time trials for the seasoned veteran.
Playing at a solid 60 frames per second at 1080p in Switch docked mode in both single player and split screen mode, Deluxe is beautiful to play. Between drifting from corner to corner with the new ultra-boost and clocking double item boxes on the course, Deluxe just feels faster. Choose to play with the Pro Controller, the Joy-Con Grip, or as separate controllers with or without the wheel accessory. Using the tiny Joy-Con wheel with motion control is a must for younger players, as they get to experience Mario Kart in the front seat. But for those with larger hands, it’s best to stick to the familiar for a more solid and controlled drive. You can still switch controllers mid-play with the Switch’s automatic controller detection, though motion control, smart steering...