Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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Mario Kart 8 was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and is the best-selling Wii U game, with over eight million copies sold worldwide. The game continued to receive post-release patches and downloadable content, including additional characters, vehicles and tracks, and support for Nintendo’s Amiibo line of figurines. An enhanced port for the Nintendo Switch, titled Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, was released worldwide in April 2017. It was both a critical and commercial success, selling over ten million copies worldwide by June 2018, ranking it among the system’s best-selling games.

So Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, isn’t exactly a new game, it’s Mario Kart 8, with a few extras thrown but that doesn’t really matter, as  the ability to play in portable mode opens up whole new contexts,  also not that many people owned a Wii U anyway, and Mario Kart 8 is still an absolutely fantastic racing game and franchise. As the game gaming series has always been a part of my gaming experience when growing up and taking on family and friends in the classic versions of the game as well as the updated games in the series.

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It introduced bigger tracks for 12 racers and vehicles that defy gravity to drive up walls and along ceilings, and that sprout gliders to soar through the air. Those tracks all still look fantastic on the Switch console, especially in portable mode. And Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also includes all the  DLC content for the Wii U version, like the wonderful Animal Crossing, so there are 48 tracks in total.

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You choose from 42 Nintendo-themed characters, including a few new ones like Inkling Girl and Inkling Boy from Splatoon, also Link as well from Zelda breath of the wild. All tracks and characters are available from the beginning of the game you can only unlock content for the various kart and bike parts such as bodies, wheels, and gliders etc. You mix all that along with your chosen character’s weight class determine your overall stats for speed, acceleration, weight, handling, and grip. Players will need to spend some time with the game, to earn the coins needed to unlock their preferred combinations for the perfect lap times.

Experienced drivers will also enjoy those features new to Deluxe, like the added third level on the turbo boost you get for skidding around corners that you can easily build up around the courses. The 200cc time trials will give those who did own the Wii U version something new to master, and the ability to hold two items at once will encourage a more tactical use of items. GAMING TIP- as experienced players will know that you can hold a banana behind you to stop incoming shells. Another GAMING TIP for this game is that the blue shell for the person in first place use the music horn when it gets near to break it, so it does come in handy now that you can carry two items as you can get more useful things to help you stay in the top spot. Some more advice, when I have played these games and the blue shell was heading in my direction, I use to slow down a bit so the shell didn’t just affect me but got others as well.

The wonderful thing about Mario Kart games is their accessibility, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has a couple of new optional features aimed specifically at inexperienced players: smart steering, which will automatically redirect a racer headed for the edge of the track, and auto-accelerate. While Mario Kart games have always been balanced to allow those players performing less well a chance to catch up, most notably by rewarding them with better items to gain an advantage in the standings such as the missile bullet and the magical star.

The game is instantly playable by any group of people and very easy to pick up, and the Switch only improves on that. Here, as with other multiplayer games, the Joy-Con controllers prove themselves a wonderful invention, allowing you to play with a friend instantly.

While Mario Kart 8 offered only one kind of battle, in which you hit each other with items until you run out of balloons, and only on eight of the tracks already used for races. However Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features five modes and eight (five new) battle-only maps. Most modes will feel familiar to those who’ve played previous games in the series. Balloon Battle gives each player five balloons, which they lose when attacked, rewarding the aggressor with points, and your points are halved if you lose all your balloons. introduces a risk-reward angle that discourages driving right into the fray. Bob-omb Blast is Balloon Battle but all items are bombs, and you can collect several to let loose all at once, and earn those points, which I always thought the battle modes fun and refreshing after all the racing and especially its another way to beat family and friends as well.

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Coin Runners has players collect coins from around the course and from other players. In Shine Thief, which appeared originally in Double Dash on the GameCube, players fight over an item called the Shine Sprite, attempting to hold on to it for long enough for a timer to count down from 20 to zero. Which is very entertaining as the person who has it becomes the target for everyone else.

Some players will spend hours perfecting time trials and improving their standing online, I don’t think that is what the game is really for.  Mario Kart is a vehicle for fun with all your friends and family, no matter their individual skill, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best, most versatile version of that yet. This is an amazing game. It’s still a gorgeous kart racer and every bit as addictive as its ever been. Overview trailer below.

Rating 9.5/10

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