Mario Kart has always been an icon of fun and quality, and now with the last installment, it proves one of its best representatives. Now, with the launch of Switch, the Japanese company has decided to publish a Deluxe version that includes the original title, all its downloadable content and new playable options offered by Nintendo’s Switch, both alone and with friends. Without a doubt, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe becomes the best video game of the series.
The first thing to keep in mind for beginners, although it seems a simple proposal, this is a really demanding arcade driving. The most brilliant of its design is that each player will be able to deepen everything they want in their gameplay until they perfected each level. That’s why, if you look for a simple approach, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers accessible maps and easy-to-handle karts, along with driving aids to stay on track.
However, if we continue perfecting our piloting and want a bigger challenge, MK8 Deluxe can offer us an experience only suitable for the most experts. Mastering all three types of skidding, using objects properly or controlling the power of vehicles is a challenge. In this way, only when we compete against the best will we realize that being a Pro is something within reach of very few.
Much of the success of this formula lies in its exceptional system of physics; Each of the vehicles, wheels or wings will have a direct impact on the driving and effects our style of play, so you have to adapt or find the parts that fit best to your style. Aspects like speed, acceleration or grip will be affected as if it were a simulator, although we can play without worrying about the configuration, but if you want a challenge against the best racers you need to analyze each modification well before competing.
Once on the track, in addition to the three new aids mentioned above, the game introduces a new purple turbo boost that will activate after the first two. This extra effective new boost level adds a new strategic element to the races and forces us to have a much more precise control of the indispensable mechanics of the skid, especially in the especially difficult higher categories. It is crucial, choosing the skid point, controlling its direction and deciding the exact moment of the release, are factors that, far from being a simple, become an art and once again show the depth of playable design.
Something similar with power-ups scattered on tracks, although with the power-ups there is a matter of luck, the use of them requires a great knowledge. In this Deluxe version, we have the classic bananas, shells, and bombs, plus a new Boo ghost that makes us invulnerable. However, the main novelty is that now we have the ability to hold two power-ups; With this new function adds a very significant strategic factor, since we can use them one after another and make devastating combinations, although they will only be activated in the order in which we have collected them. Obviously, the depth of the system is enormous enough so they didn’t put an option to switch between the power-ups.
Thanks to all these elements so we can enjoy frantic, strategic and unpredictable games since until the last moment everything will be possible. Nintendo Switch’s unique design also affects the gameplay, because now, thanks to the versatility of the hardware, we will be able to play in portable or TV mode, and both options require an equally precise control. Logically, the Pro controller offers more comfort and allows more precise control of all options, however, it is surprising how well you can play with a simple Joy-Con.
To give full play to this bright and deep playable design is included a large catalog of game modes. The best known is Grand Prix, a mode that allows us to play a total of twelve selection, each with four different circuits. The level of difficulty marks the power of the karts, being able to choose between 50cc (Easy), 100cc (Normal), 150cc (Difficult) or 200cc (Very Difficult), there being the last option called Mirror that allows us to complete the same tracks backward.
Once selected the level of difficulty, we find a very fun and demanding game mode in which we required to score the three stars of each cup, a goal that we will only achieve if we win the four races of each tournament. However, even though it offers many hours of gameplay, you miss a new cup or a campaign mode that avoids the monotony of playing alone.
If what we are looking for is something faster, Carrera Vs offers us the option to compete in a single race, being able to choose our preferred circuit in any of the available difficulty levels. Another very interesting modality is Time Trial, an ideal place to run alone or against a ghost and to perfect our piloting, and that for the first time incorporates the category of 200cc.
If you want to play online, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe supports up to 12 players. This mode will quickly be your preferred option, and Switch platform is a magnificent place to enhance all its gameplay. Much of the merit is a fast, complete and intuitive pairing system, which also allows us to play with another friend online or on the same console.
We can create online tournaments or join the existing lobbies, thanks to its fantastic search system. Of course, this online mode includes all categories and we can configure our vehicle before each race to achieve the best performance. As for the stability of the service we have no complaints, with very quick pairings, reduced waiting times and an ideal track performance.
But if we want to play with friends without having to connect online there are many options: the most fun is the cooperative mode for up to four players, being able to enjoy it both in desktop and TV mode, although, the small screen size makes it difficult depending your distance from it and the number of players. Another possibility is to connect up to eight Switch in a local network, an experience that demonstrates the enormous versatility of the console.
Looking to offer the greatest variety possible we have a total of 48 circuits, 32 original and 16 that were released in later DLC. They all have great level design and offer a unique and fun experience. However, we missed some new addition that was not in the WiiU version.
One of the great novelties playable mode Battle: here we find a total of five game modes that expand this new variant. In the original title (WiiU version), we already had Battle of Balloons, an option that confronts us other players with the goal of exploiting as many balloons as possible. At that time this was the only available mode, and we did not have paths created specifically to enhance its gameplay.
In the version of Nintendo Switch have added four new game modes and eight exclusive tracks. An interesting addition is Balloon Battle, that we will only have bombs to exploit the balloons of rivals. Another mode is Coin Runners, an option in which our goal is to get as many coins as possible, avoiding at any moment to lose our loot when attacked by rivals.
Renegade Roundup offering a more innovative approach, in which a team has to go capturing to the rivals with its carnivorous plants, while these try to escape and to release its companions of the jail. Finally, Shine Thief mode that follows the rules of capture the flag, having to keep the sun in our possession until the meter reaches zero. All these modalities can be configured to be played as a team or solo, both of which are very entertaining. Also, we can modify very important elements like the number of rounds, the difficulty of the AI, available objects or selectable paths.
In this sense, a total of eight maps are included: Battle Stadium, Dragon Palace, Sweet Sweet Kingdom, Wuhu Town, Lunar Colony, Luigi’s Mansion, Urchin Underpass and Battle Course 1. All of them have a design thought exclusively to adapt to all these modes, something that is greatly appreciated.
As it could not be otherwise, Battle Mode is also available to be enjoyed on a split screen with up to four friends or connecting eight Switch on a local network. Finally, we can also play online with up to twelve players, although a random system is used to choose the mode, something we did not like much since it prevents us from enjoying our favorite modes. Despite this inexplicable failure, Battle modes are a great innovation for this Deluxe version.
In this new title, we find a total of 42 characters, 6 of them new. Among the incorporations, we have Inkling girl and boy, King Boo, all of them with a great visual design. About vehicles, we have all karts, motorcycles, and accessories released at the time, as well as some new addition without much importance, being able to unlock the best pieces as we accumulate coins.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe boasts an exceptional artistic design and full of details that make clear the painstaking work that the Japanese company has done to give the title a unique personality. It keeps all the work of the original version of WiiU, with the exception of the new characters, as well as complements and circuits for Battle Mode. It is surprising to analyze in slow motion the amount of animations and effects that the title has, some as graceful as the famous movement of Donkey Kong.
Beyond this obsession with detail, which gives added value to the visual section, we find an outstanding technical level, maintaining at all times stable a rate of 60 frames per second. Although the TV mode uses a resolution of 1080p and the portable version is 720p, the visual finish on the screen of the Nintendo Switch is much more spectacular, highlighting a vivid color palette and objects with softer modeling.
At the sound level, the title uses the fantastic melodies of the WiiU version, counting each track with its own musical composition. Also, the video game uses a multitude of sound effects that give us direct feedback on what is happening on the screen, becoming a fundamental factor of the gameplay for the most trained ears.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not simply a Nintendo WiiU port; it is the best and most complete video game of the franchise released to date and an essential of Nintendo Switch. Under its simple and accessible appearance hides a title as demanding as we can delve into what is one of the most sophisticated and polished designs we have seen to date. This fantastic gameplay offers a huge variety of games and hilarious experiences that, especially in online modes, make each race different.
Besides, for Switch version, we not only have the original video game and all downloadable content released at the time but also have new Battle modes, more circuits, new characters, slight visual changes and a multitude of playable possibilities thanks to the developers including a local co-op. Without a doubt, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in Switch is a renewed experience and makes clear that the title is an essential for all those who enjoyed the original and indispensable for those who at the time could not enjoy this masterpiece.
We have done this review with a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe final build code provided by Nintendo