Even though Mario Kart 8 Deluxe won’t be available at launch, it’s definitely a must-buy game for Nintendo Switch.
Available two months after launch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of one of the Wii U’s best games. As gamers, we’re used to seeing developers and publishers gouge us with remasters and HD remakes, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of the rare exceptions.
Here are eight reasons why Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is worth buying.
8. New content for the right price
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has a suggested retail price of $79.95 AUD. This is on the higher end of the re-release price scale, but you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
MK8D isn’t a straight re-release. The resolution has been increased from 720p to 1080p, — when played on the TV — there are new tracks and characters on top of all original and DLC content and an all new Battle Mode.
Battle Mode was the one misstep from the original release and Nintendo has remedied this with MK8D. The four new courses included with the re-release are all Battle courses and include two brand new ones; Urchin Underpass and Battle Stadium. Returning battle courses are Luigi’s Mansion and Battle Course 1 from the SNES.
Battle Mode isn’t limited to one mode either with players able to take part in Balloon Battle and the new Bob-omb Blast. Bob-omb Blast replaces all powerups with the Bob-omb powerup which makes for a hectic and chaotic battle.
Battle mode isn’t the only new inclusion, which leads us to…
7. Five new characters
On top of every character from the Wii U release and all DLC characters, MK8D will also include Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo, and two Inklings from Splatoon.
“New characters aren’t a big deal!” I hear you say, but think about it. This is the most complete line-up in Mario Kart history. Not only is there an abundance of Mario characters, there’s Link, Animal Crossing characters and now Splatoon.
With so many characters to choose from you’ll avoid those pesky arguments about who gets to be who, especially when you consider…
6. Up to eight local players at a time
For the first time for a console Mario Kart, up to eight players will be able to take part locally. That’s huge.
Mario Kart 7 offered up to eight player multiplayer locally and online and Mario Kart 8 allowed 12 players online, but this is a first for the console version.
There are so many different variations on how the Switch can achieve this too that it’s a bit mind-boggling. Eight players could play on eight different Switches or on four Switches with tabletop mode or eight players split across two TVs…and the list goes on.
Switch offers so much variety for MK8D that you’ll be able to play anytime, anywhere with anyone.
5. Items are better than ever
Not only is Nintendo bringing back the ability to carry two items at a time (THANK GOD!) but it’s also bringing back two of the best items ever; Boo and the Feather.
First of all, the ability to hold two items at a time is a cornerstorne of Mario Kart and bringing this back is sure to change how MK8D is played. There’s a strategy and depth of technique to carrying two items that Mario Kart 8 was missing.
Secondly, while Boo will be available in races and the Feather will be available in Battle, it doesn’t diminish their inclusion. Sure it would have been nice to use the Feather to try and find shortcuts, but the simple truth is that MK8D’s tracks aren’t like the tracks of old. There’s now way you’d be able to find a shortcut just by jumping over a part of the track.
It makes more sense to include the Feather in Battle as a way to escape. We can hardly wait to steal items during races too, though if the rules of Mario Kart hold true, we’ll only ever get Bananas.
4. Mario Kart 8 on the go
This one is really a no-brainer, but Mario Kart 8 is arguably the best Mario Kart ever and with Nintendo Switch you can play it anywhere.
If you’re in the middle of a Grand Prix but need to leave your house, you can just take your Switch rather than pause and come back later. You can show off MK8D to your friends in table-top mode and have two people play with one Joy-Con each.
It’s so simple, but the fact that you can play a full console release at home, on the train, on the bus, on a plane and anywhere else is amazing. We could have listed this as the one reason to buy MK8D and it would have been enough.
3. A whole new audience
The Wii U didn’t exactly set the world on fire, though Mario Kart 8 did manage to sell 8 million copies. As the Wii U’s best selling title, there’s no denying its popularity and with Switch, the potential for sales is even greater.
This means that players on Switch will have a huge player pool to compete with. Empty lobbies will be rare and playing online will be a smooth and fast process. Especially since Nintendo is charging us now.
With Switch Nintendo also seems determined to push into eSports and while Splatoon has been the focus in promos so far, MK8D could easily be featured on eSports circuits.
We’d be surprised if Nintendo didn’t already have a plan.
2. Proof of the power of the Switch
We already know that Switch is underpowered when compared to PS4 and Xbox One, but Mario Kart 8 is a gorgeous game, no matter which way you slice it.
By running on the Switch, at 1080p docked and 720p in portable, with eight player local play at 60fps, MK8D is proof positive that Switch can deliver stunning gameplay experiences, regardless of processing power.
Nintendo is best at getting its consoles to perform though, so whether 3rd-parties can achieve similar results remains to be seen.
For now though, colour me impressed that a handheld can display a Wii U title in 720p and 60fps.
1. Zelda and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will keep you busy until other games are released
We know that Breath of the Wild is going to be enormous. We know it’s going to take upwards of 100 hours to complete and while a lot of people will burn through that quite quickly, some players like to take their time.
March and April are incredibly busy months for games too and so a lot of players will be dividing their time between Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC. Having variety is only going to keep players coming back to Switch and there’s nothing quite like Mario Kart anywhere else.
Zelda is a beast all its own, but you can’t shake the similarities between it and Horizon: Zero Dawn. I don’t know about you, but I’ll need to take a break from the Action RPG genre every now and again. The perfect palette cleanser between bouts of Horizon, Zelda and Mass Effect: Andromeda is undoubtedly Mario Kart 8.
I’ll be playing it from April until the Switch’s successor appears and it’ll tide me over until Super Mario Odyssey later this year.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is definitely going to be one of the Switch’s early smash hit titles. It’s a must buy and an incredible display of both Nintendo’s ability to create long-lasting, engaging games and the power of the Switch.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be available for Switch from April 28, 2017.