Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review
The definitive version of Mario Kart 8?
For a lot of us, it’s the definitive version
of Mario Kart.
"Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an extremely fun and well-built game, and you don’t
necessarily need a Nintendo Switch to be able to tell that. What many are
calling “the definitive version” of Nintendo’s Wii U predecessor has been
widely heralded as one of the best Mario Kart games ever, and that includes
some of the classics that a lot of us are much, much more familiar with."
If you’ve managed to get your hands on the newest Nintendo console, the
Nintendo Switch, and you haven’t picked up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it’s time to do so.
Nintendo has wisely used one of it’s all-time most successful franchises to further
incentivize the sale of their console, albeit unnecessarily; many people are still just
trying to acquire the console in the first place. The massive hype surrounding The
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the flagship game of the Nintendo Switch, has
ensured its quick and effortless entry into the most recent generation of gaming
consoles. With this, it has attracted a group of gamers and developers who may
have been less than enthralled with the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS.
In the same vein, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is seeing play by a wide variety of fans,
including those who have bested Mario Kart 8 for Wii U and those who haven’t
picked up a Mario Kart game since the N64 or SNES. Having personally not gotten
into a Mario Kart game since the novelty of the steering wheel controller on Mario
Kart Wii, I actually can’t say how skeptical I was of purchasing a new Mario Kart
game. I hadn’t been back to the series in years, and I honestly couldn’t see myself
getting back into it now. However, what with it being one of the only big-name
releases for the Switch in these first months, Nintendo got me to bite, and I can’t say
I’m upset that I did.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the series, and particularly this game, is
the ease at which it grants access to players just having fun. The control scheme is
simple, but nuanced, enabling both new players to learn the concept of the game,
and granting experienced players the capability to perfect their builds and skills.
Right out of the box, there are an incredible number of playable characters, giving
players a thrilling 42 choices to then customize with many readily available kart
parts, before tearing on to even more beautiful, high-definition tracks. The focus is
not on unlocking any of your favorite racers, but instead satiates that desire by
providing new kart parts as you play, putting the focus on actually enjoying the
game. And it is, arguably, a very easy game to enjoy.
A player is free to choose from a variety of play modes and rules (it is a
Nintendo game), ranging from the traditional 4-race Grand Prix, to a new and
improved (and insanely fun) Battle Mode, offering many options to experiment with
different characters, karts, courses, and play styles. Experimentation is necessary,
as many different flairs and skill levels show up in online matches, where players
can race and battle both regionally and on a worldwide scale. Every mode of play is
made to be fast-paced and even hectic, as players can now hold up to two items at
any given time, further expanding opportunities to take the lead…or be taken down
a few places.
I was amazed at how easy it was to get into the game after my years away.
Within three minutes of turning the game on for the first time, I was looking at
characters I had never gotten the opportunity to play, without even having to unlock
them. After some time using the new “Smart Steering” feature (a game mechanic
that keeps you on the track with invisible bumpers), to gain my bearings on the
basics of the controls, I quickly turned it off so I could go off of the beaten path and
begin seeking out those classic Mario Kart shortcuts. The learning curve is
somewhat delineated, beginning with 50cc, and ramping up to 100- and 150cc,
increasing in difficulty as the player is encouraged to go faster and faster. There is
an even faster, breakneck 200cc tier in this game as well, which requires use of the
brakes on every course, and which I can see veteran players getting a well-deserved