Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Adam Riley 21.04.2017 30

Review for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Many felt that Mario Kart 7 was a shocking stumble for Nintendo's (now) 25-year-old racing series, yet it did not stop the 3DS title from notching up the usual multi-million sales globally, with the game still often popping back into the charts in many countries. Mario Kart 8, however, was deemed as the one to right all the wrongs, but was unable to match sales, being significantly held back by the limited Wii U userbase. Why let a great game die away? Exactly. Get ready for a second bite of the cherry with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch, due out on 28th April.

First things first, this is no remake, with it being more like an 'Ultimate Edition' package, something that is very important to note for anyone considering double-dipping after playing the Wii U version extensively. The Switch edition of Mario Kart 8 does come with shorter loading times, a higher resolution, some new filtering, and a fixed frame-rate (60fps, even for portable mode), but those wondering if there are any specific graphical enhancements, the answer is no, it is still recognisable for being a Wii U title. There is also no voice chat included here, so those with the game on Wii U and willing to grab the DLC (or having already done so) will be wondering what the draw is of Deluxe. Sadly, there is none… so far. Perhaps new DLC will make this more of an enticing package in the long-run, but for now this is purely for newcomers to the eighth iteration of the popular kart racer. Nintendo is indeed clearly aiming this at those that never touched Mario Kart 8 before, polishing the already excellent product until its sheen is blinding.

Screenshot for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

With that said, then: "Welcome all those that never played Mario Kart 8 before! Where have you been?" Deluxe offers 42 characters (including Inkling Boy and Girl from Splatoon, King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr.), 48 courses (including all the DLC from the Wii U game), 23 weapons (welcoming back the jump Feather for Battle Mode, and item-stealing Boo), five Battle Mode types across eight tracks (that include older, classic courses), 200cc added to the Time Trials section, the chance to hold two items at one time (no switching between them, though), a new third level of boost when sliding round corners, and more vehicle customisation options than you can shake a stick at, with extras unlocking the more you play.

The actual courses, characters (with the exception of Gold Mario that unlocks after beating all cups on 200cc, bringing the total actually to 43 characters), and speed classes (even the 'Mirror Mode') are all unlocked right from the off, so anyone that loved challenging themselves to unlock new modes will be sorely disappointed. The emphasis seems to be more on beating Ghosts in Time Trial, playing with friends online or locally, and having a blast in the battle arena, merely beating cups for sheer self-satisfaction.

Screenshot for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Some will be fine with this, whilst others will lament the fact that there is nothing pushing them to actually work through all of the cups on offer, other than that it would be a waste of money not to bother. It is a tough one because this is without a shadow of a doubt the most 'complete' Mario Kart to date, even surpassing the greats of Super Mario Kart (SNES), Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA), and actually topping the legendary Mario Kart 64 (N64). Shocking, but true! Will working towards unlocking Gold Mario be enough for people to plug away through all the cups, though?

Whatever the case, for a lot of people this is going to be seen as the next portable entry, and for that fact alone it will be seen as worth the entry fee. Being able to take the pinnacle of Mario Kart action on the road, without sapping anywhere near as much battery life as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild does, means this will become an instant must-buy for any Switch owner desperate for the character-based racing fun this brings to the table.

Screenshot for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Ramping up to 200cc also brings with it super-fast speeds, more akin to perhaps the F-Zero series, or Shin'en Multimedia's fantastic Switch release, FAST RMX, so anyone thinking that Mario Kart is a slow-paced, easy ride should think twice. Yes, there are options to help younger gamers, or those less adept at racing, to enjoy the experience (such as "Smart Steering" that helps prevent them falling off tracks, and the wide range of control options, including a pair of Switch wheels that lands at launch on 28th April and allow for the Joy-Con to be slotted neatly in for motion steering), but Nintendo is trying to cater for everyone with Deluxe, and has done a mighty fine job in doing so.

Cubed3 loved Mario Kart 8 back when it launched in 2014, and the staff adored it so much that a second review, basically a love letter to the game, was done over half a year later, expressing how fresh the experience still felt. Both reviews are well worth looking into for the intricacies of the game. Here and now, almost three years after landing on Wii U, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe feels as good as ever, if not more so thanks to being able to play in portable mode, complete with motion steering included. Be it playing online with folk from around the world in Battle Mode, or taking the Nintendo Switch round to a friend's house and huddling around one screen with two Joy-Con, reminiscing about hunching over trying to see one quarter of a small TV screen back in the split-screen Mario Kart 64 heyday, or just sitting back and challenging yourself against 200cc Ghosts from around the world (or flick down to 150cc if it is too tough) and then blasting through Grand Prix mode for fun, mixing and matching the different vehicle types and add-ons with a multitude of various characters, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the ultimate way to enjoy the Mario Kart experience.

Screenshot for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Online play for up to 12 people, local multiplayer for up to eight players - this alone will make Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a must for many. Throw in how it does not drop in quality in the slightest when in portable mode, and suddenly the old Mario Kart 8 from Wii U becomes even more enticing. With extra polish, all DLC content included, plus various tweaks to improve the experience, Nintendo has delivered the ultimate Mario Kart experience for all comers, new and old alike.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Driving

Players

8

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Our member of the week

I saw somewhere in a screenshot that they also added the possibility to switch karts and characters in between online races now, without having to exit the lobby, which is an excellent addition imho that should have been patched into the Wii U version through an update, although I can't imagine they will now for obvious economical reasons (they'd rather you buy the full new package and this is a small, but valid, reason for hardcore MK8 fans to want in on that feature).

No more additions to the time trials then? I was hoping this version would finally bring back the time trials functions from the Wii iteration, where you could easily pick and challenge a ghost from other players on your friends list and see graphs that show where you stand against the crowd of other player around the world. I loved that feature, that actually made me want to race against the clock (and friends' ghosts) to improve my skills and knowledge of each track in the game. Something else I wish was back is actually seeing race times at the finish line, to see how far ahead (or behind) you are compared to other racers. I see in this the ultimate MK for sure but imho, those are features that are still missing to make this the ultimate flawless Mario Kart experience (the fact that it's not a completely new entry notwithstanding).

Anyway... I'm still getting my copy next week. That could still be patched in (wishful thinking) and I'd be surprised if there's not more DLC on the way that will be exclusive to this version and not the Wii U one.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Yes, when online you can change your setup whilst waiting for the track to be confirmed by other players.

As for the ghosts, there are little bar charts for each track and player icons at various places along the chart, with you able to choose who you face off against. At the moment it's a bunch of Nintendo staff on the ghosts, surprisingly. I thought there would be more reviewers...but I guess they've focused on online battles more and/or GP. Some of the Ninty staff are bloomin' fast. I reckon they know all the shortcuts and tricks for stages, whereas I'm coming in blind.

Please do pepper me with questions and I'll answer as much as I can, and take some screenshots if you want. I'm just heading out for the evening, but I'll get back to you, don't worry Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Our member of the week

Adam Riley said:
As for the ghosts, there are little bar charts for each track and player icons at various places along the chart, with you able to choose who you face off against. At the moment it's a bunch of Nintendo staff on the ghosts, surprisingly. I thought there would be more reviewers...but I guess they've focused on online battles more and/or GP.

Oh, that's what I was talking about. So they DID bring it back! That's awesome! Thanks for confirming that, I had not heard about it from anywhere else.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

How did it work previously? After I'd given a course a go, my own ghost appeared on the chart, so I could race against myself or the NoA staff ghost. Do you have lots of ghost options after a while, or only a select few?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Our member of the week

I haven't touched MKWii in a long time and good old Nintendo WiiConnect24 has been down for years so I can't go back and check but the way I remember it, you had little Mii faces dotting the top of the chart for each track, where all your friends appeared + nintendo ghosts + a few other players selected at random. The chart would let you see where most people are, like the taller bars would indicate you where most people fit in terms of how fast they are, and then the game would give you a couple more people to challenge towards the end of the spectrum and it would end with the single WR holder at the far right of the chart. What I did most was try against people in my own friends list though, or just have a look at the WR holder to see how they fare and get tips from how they play.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I posted some photos up on our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/71790860617/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10158426732250618

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Many felt that Mario Kart 7 was a shocking stumble for Nintendo's (now) 25-year-old racing series,

Wah weee-woo-wah! That's craziness! MK7 is probably one of the best Mario Kart's out there, I wouldn't say 'Many' ....?

The time trials that Rudy seems to be mentioning is present in MK7 using the Streetpass/Spotpass feature, plus RETRO Studios had a lot of their dev team set times which was pretty cool. It is one of the best parts of that game. So I am hoping that is the feature that you are eluding to. It makes Time Trials so much more fun!

( Edited 24.04.2017 03:57 by Flynnie )

Smilie We gave it a harsh review and some staffers weren't big fans, but Nintendo supported it very well, I think.

Az asked me this:

"Can you share if there are any sound options in MK8DX? options to adjust sfx, bgm, etc?"

My response was:

Options? What are they??? I think Nintendo forgot about them completely... there isn't even a section to change ANY options whatsoever. Most of the customisation of controls (steering help, motion controls, etc) are slotted into the vehicle select screen. I have to admit that so far it's been okay...but certain courses have very loud sound effects, so it overpowers the music. Not too impressed with the soundtrack, though, so I'm not too fussed. Certain tunes are good, with a WaveRace feel to them, but others are instantly forgettable and I'm not liking some of the reworked classic SNES music AT ALL.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Probably a bit exaggerated on MK7 there; it's still a very fun game with friends. Had its share of letdowns tho, and seemed to be a step back from other MKs like DS, which had missions to prolong single-player. It's amazing Diddy Kong and Crash Bandicoot's original kart games still have content that MK is lagging behind in.

Can't agree with the 'legendary' mention of MK64 - that's probably the worst in the series when looking back. Decent for multiplayer, but definitely one of the worst in the series for me, nowadays.

Lack of sound options in DX is awful. The audio mix is terrible. How this wasn't on their checklist of things to add to DX is beyond me. Reading fan feedback my arse.

Azuardo said:
Probably a bit exaggerated on MK7 there; it's still a very fun game with friends. Had its share of letdowns tho, and seemed to be a step back from other MKs like DS, which had missions to prolong single-player. It's amazing Diddy Kong and Crash Bandicoot's original kart games still have content that MK is lagging behind in.

It's the initial impression I got when it launched. Looking around, though, I see people warmed to it. Anyway, as you say, it's surprising features from other kart games were missed out.

Can't agree with the 'legendary' mention of MK64 - that's probably the worst in the series when looking back. Decent for multiplayer, but definitely one of the worst in the series for me, nowadays.

Really? Wow, I loved that. Maybe it's nostalgia speaking, but that and the original SMK had by far the most play from me. Me and my mates hammered MK64 until we actually got sick and tired of it...then took a break, and went back because we missed it. There were flaws and the frame-rate was a bit iffy at times, but wow, what a game!

Lack of sound options in DX is awful. The audio mix is terrible. How this wasn't on their checklist of things to add to DX is beyond me. Reading fan feedback my arse.

Quite an interesting one - it wouldn't have taken much effort to add an options tab to the front screen. Was it the sort of problem lots of people complained about?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Really? Wow, I loved that. Maybe it's nostalgia speaking, but that and the original SMK had by far the most play from me. Me and my mates hammered MK64 until we actually got sick and tired of it...then took a break, and went back because we missed it. There were flaws and the frame-rate was a bit iffy at times, but wow, what a game!

I did at the time too, but have you ever gone back to it? Minus the awful slowdown of the original PAL version, the tracks are far too wide and the rubber banding of the AI is a nightmare. I think MK7 had the AI issue in single player too. As a multiplayer game tho, MK64 is a lot better, especially in battle mode. Block Fort is forever king.

Quite an interesting one - it wouldn't have taken much effort to add an options tab to the front screen. Was it the sort of problem lots of people complained about?

Yes. Constantly. Even if no one had complained about it tho, why there are volume sliders for sfx and bgm is amazing. Breath of the Wild is the same. Just Nintendo being dumb.

MarioKart 7 was better than Mario Kart DS for me, I can't really go back to DS anymore. Super Circuit is a better game in my opinion.

Mario Kart 64 has indeed aged badly but as a 4-player multiplayer game it still holds strong, especially in battle mode. I would say that MK64 help popularise the series, if the 64 version hadn't been as popular as it was then perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today. However the issues of rubber banding break that game. Especially on  tracks like DK and Toad's Turnpike.

I agree that Diddy Kong Racing's adventure mode is definitely a 1-up on any Mario Kart game. RETRO have been quiet for 3 years now, I doubt they are working on another 'country' game, so if its not Metroid then maybe DKR?

The lack of sound options seems a bit poor and its disappointing to hear that the soundtrack isn't up to scratch. Is it not the same tunes as the WiiU version?

The options in Mario Kart Wii to change how frantic the weapons were was quite a good addition, its a shame to see Nintendo stepping backwards on the customisation of options.

Is the Mercedes DLC in there?

Annnnd most importantly when are we playing each other? tourney???

Flynnie - I didn't play much of the Wii U version. The music will be the same, and some of the tracks are growing on me a bit the more I play. I like some of the menu music that sounds a bit like WaveRace music. Can't say I'm a massive fan of reworking of classic themes, though. SNES Rainbow Road, for instance, just isn't the same Smilie

...and I love how I'm getting the most flack not for my review but more because of my comments about MK7 and MK64 Smilie I'm going to give MK64 a whirl again soon to see if all this negativity holds any water Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The OST in MK8 is brilliant. Maybe Adam couldn't hear it properly because of the crappy audio mix XD

Mercedes DLC is in the game.

Yeah Mario Kart 8's soundtrack is superb. One of my favourite game soundtracks, for sure.

I mean listen to these


 

 


 

 

So damn good.

( Edited 25.04.2017 13:26 by Marzy )


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Damn them to hell for making N64 Rainbow Road's track so short. Could have at least given us options. That word must not exist in Japanese.

( Edited 25.04.2017 14:12 by Azuardo )

Smilie I am picky about music and it takes time to grow on me. I never liked the first Phoenix Wright's OST, but now love it, for instance! Smilie

EDIT: Playing MK64 on Wii U now and LOVING it! Smilie

( Edited 25.04.2017 17:58 by Adam Riley )

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Our member of the week

Adam Riley said:
I posted some photos up on our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/71790860617/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10158426732250618


My bad, the time trial thing is exactly the same as it was before, so there was no improvement in that regard it seems. That's a shame.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Well if thats the case then the soundtrack should be awesome, although I don't particularly like the remixes of old tracks so much either. I feel like Smash bros does a good job with the remixes though.

Haha, Adam, nah, its ok if you didn't enjoy those games, I do understand that MK64 has aged pretty badly. But only because its been superseeded, if the sequels didn't exist then we'd be raving over it still.

Rainbow Road's one lap being broken up into 3 sections is an absolute terrible idea. As you mentioned they should have at least given us a number of lap options in multiplayer.

So when are you organising the tournaments?? Smilie
 

Our member of the week

Flynnie said:
So when are you organising the tournaments?? Smilie
 

If you do let me know, my mate is bringing me a copy back when he's going to get his on Friday, so I'll surely have one by then (no shops selling video games nearby where I live and I didn't feel like ordering online).

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

RudyC3 said:

Flynnie said:
So when are you organising the tournaments?? Smilie
 

If you do let me know, my mate is bringing me a copy back when he's going to get his on Friday, so I'll surely have one by then (no shops selling video games nearby where I live and I didn't feel like ordering online).

You're wallet is lucky...I have so many shops that's why I end up buying so much! But then I wouldn't buy as many gems if it wasn't for shops like CEX....(2nd hand trading shop)

I have a bit of a time difference to contend with but happy to play you guys on the weekends and what not!

I've not had chance to touch this much since doing the review, so I'll be eager to jump back in when everyone's arranging matches Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Yesterday I was traveling by train, and of course, I'm absorbed in a little MK8 (first time playing the game actually) - the seat next to me is suddenly filled by a 30 something-year old, who looks eager to see the Switch and MK. It was my first time handing over Joycon to a total stranger, we ended up playing multiplayer for about an hour before the battery gave way. It was loads of fun, and summed up the genius of the Switch too. Nothing but a mutual love of Mario Kart, I wonder how often that sort of thing will happen with a game like this!

I was very late to Mario Kart 7. Although I found it to be extremely solid and fun, there's no comparison to fully fledged is there? Smilie 

 

( Edited 29.04.2017 08:11 by The Strat Man )

Playing with a stranger? Wow, brave man! Smilie

I was playing online multiplayer today, and it was great to see the Brits regularly beating the Japanese... Normally, Japanese players online are pretty much untouchable. They just seem SO much better from my past experience. Me and some guy called Martyn were the top two for several races. It was so much fun!

Is someone setting up a Cubed3 Tournament? I would, but I'll only likely be popping on once every now and then.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

The Strat Man said:
Yesterday I was traveling by train, and of course, I'm absorbed in a little MK8 (first time playing the game actually) - the seat next to me is suddenly filled by a 30 something-year old, who looks eager to see the Switch and MK. It was my first time handing over Joycon to a total stranger, we ended up playing multiplayer for about an hour before the battery gave way. It was loads of fun, and summed up the genius of the Switch too. Nothing but a mutual love of Mario Kart, I wonder how often that sort of thing will happen with a game like this!

I was very late to Mario Kart 7. Although I found it to be extremely solid and fun, there's no comparison to fully fledged is there? Smilie 

 


Wow, i'd never hand a joy-con to a random stranger but kudos! Good to see you could be converting people to the ways of Nintendo!

I was playing online and I was finishing top until the Japanese entered the room, I feel like they gang up on me! I was on the Airport stage and was in first then 4 Japanese players barrage me with weapons on the 2nd to last corner and then fire all their weapons backwards as well! Grrrr! 

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