Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Adam Riley 21.04.2017 33

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

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.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

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


Smilie I love that competitive side of MK. I've not heavily played multiplayer since MK64, so playing this online is bringing back some amazing memories!!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Our member of the week

Tried joining Marzy earlier and it kept telling me I couldn't join because that device could not receive any more connections... What is that nonsense?

EDIT: Oh yeah, with this game, I tried for the first time earlier tonight playing with just the single JoyCon against my bro and another friend (separately, cause the two included JoyCon are my only controller options at this point in time). I used for the first time the JoyCon wrist straps with them, so as to improve the feeling inside the hands, and it did improve things a little bit, though I had a stressful moment when it came to remove the blasted things off the JoyCon. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world to achieve.

Anyway, it didn't control too bad with just a JoyCon held sideways, all things considered. But I really plan on getting a Pro Controller down the line if I am to play this game seriously. The tiny Joystick isn't my favourite way to play this. I'll just regret not being able to play this game on Switch with my Club Nintendo SNES controller (that plugs into a Wiimote) cause that was my de facto favourite method of input Smilie, but I understand all the same that Wiimote had to go at some point.

( Edited 04.05.2017 23:33 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Did Marzy already have a lot of people connected to him? I think one system has a limit to how many others can connect to it...perhaps?

As for the controllers, the thing I found with MK8D and the Joy-Con is how uncomfortable the face buttons are compared to the Pro Controller's bigger buttons. The stick wasn't a problem for me. Motion controls are pretty cool, though. Better than in Zelda's gyro-platform thingies in some Shrines.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

RudyC3 said:
Tried joining Marzy earlier and it kept telling me I couldn't join because that device could not receive any more connections... What is that nonsense?

I have heard a few of my friends complaining about this too. I sense a patch incoming for this though.

We should get a game going at one point. What time is everyone normally online??

Our member of the week

Flynnie said:
We should get a game going at one point. What time is everyone normally online??

I'm good just about whenever, though mostly when it's the evening over here.

Still busy unlocking the kart parts that I like right now, though I let smart steering do that for me on its own while I play Fire Emblem lol Smilie.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

...Remember when we used to comment on reviews? Smilie

...remember when I used to actually *write* reviews? Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Hahah! Plenty of games on that list to play through Smilie

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