The Bomber Blaze

The Bomber Blaze

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Dylan Slonka, Staff Writer

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When Mario Kart 8 was released on the Wii U in 2014, it was a resounding success. The game married the nostalgia of playing the old Mario Kart games with something new and fresh. The game had polished HD graphics, several difficulty levels, slick menus, online connectivity, fun trick animations, new items, easy controls and loads more. It was everything you could want in a Mario Kart game.

But when the Nintendo Switch was released in March of this year, the number of games it had was scant. Besides the highly acclaimed “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and the puzzle game “Snipperclips”, there wasn’t much that would keep people coming back. Nintendo knew this, and released Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch on April 28th, 2017.

Although Deluxe is a port of the Wii U original, it has enough new features to warrant a whole new review. For starters, the game looks great. The textures are smooth and the game runs at a solid 60 frames per second. The characters are vibrant, and packed with personality. Each has its own unique voice samples and trick animations when going off jumps.

Deluxe adds several new characters that were not in the Wii U version. These include the playful Inklings from Splatoon, Bowser Jr, King Boo and Dry Bones. These new characters add more variety to the game, allowing for more players to choose their new favorite racer. Additionally, two items can now be held by one racer. This borrowed from the double item mechanic in “Mario Kart Double Dash”, which was released on the GameCube in November 2003. It enhances item management, as you have double the item mayhem.    

Another huge addition to Deluxe is a revamped Battle Mode. In the original, Battle Mode was just a selection of courses that were set out from racing for battles. Now there are several new battle mode arenas, each with their own unique style. Besides the normal Balloon Battle (where players use items to pop other player’s balloons), there is also Shine Thief (where players attempt to hold on to a Shine Sprite for the longest time), Coin Runners (where players compete to collect the most coins), Renegade Roundup (where players use Piranha Plants to catch other players trying to escape them) and Bob-omb Blast (which is the same as a Balloon Battle, except all the items are Bob-ombs). This was the Battle Mode that many fans desired, and it was granted to them through this game.

The new Battle Mode is great, but Mario Kart’s player interface has to be solid in order for players to enjoy it. Thankfully, it is. The Joy Con controllers and the Switch Pro Controller provide two easy ways to play Deluxe on the Switch. The Joy Cons can slide onto either side of the console to form a handheld way to play; the Switch Pro Controller can connect seamlessly to the console, up to four Joy Cons can be held sideways so four players can join, and two Joy Cons can be slipped into a Joy Con Grip to form a rudimentary controller. The liberal number of controller options makes Deluxe more fun and much easier to play.

In terms of a story, Deluxe has none. It doesn’t need to. It is a game where you simply put it in and race. There’s no story needed because racing requires no plot, and that’s perfectly fine. If it had a story, it would detract from the gameplay experience overall.  

Deluxe is Nintendo at its creative best, combining solid controls, vibrant graphics and fun new modes to make a solid port that can hold its own and make the Nintendo Switch library great. Once I played it, I couldn’t wait to start again.  

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review