Ask any gamer nowadays what was their favorite racing game growing up and I can almost guarantee you’ll get a large number of Mario Kart responses. The beauty with Mario Kart is that it has grown with it’s fans over the generations. I remember getting my SNES and playing Mario Kart in the mid 90’s with my friends in my parents basement. Ask my brother who is nine years younger than me, and he’ll probably fondly remember the N64 installment. For every console Nintendo puts out, there is a subsequent Mario Kart release and if there is one thing we know from past releases, it’s that they are all fantastic.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe though is a little bit of a different beast. It’s a Mario Kart game, and an amazing one at that (probably one of the best ever) but if you owned a Wii U, chances are most of the game will be familiar to you. That’s because this is effectively the “Game of the Year” version of Mario Kart 8 that came out back in May 2014. What Nintendo did was release a better version of an already stellar game onto their new system, the Nintendo Switch. What’s different with this release? Well, quite a few things actually.
First thing you’ll notice upon starting up the game and getting into a race are the graphics. Nintendo did an amazing job taking an already beautiful looking game and making it look better in picture perfect 60fps. Along with the visuals, you’re getting every DLC that released for the Wii U version of the game including new maps, and new characters. On top of DLC characters, you’ll also see new characters such as the Splatoon guy/gal, Bowser Jr., Dry Bones (a personal favorite), Gold Mario, and King Boo (my son’s favorite so far.) The exhaustive lists of characters runs the gamut of Nintendo properties and you’re sure to see someone here who you’ll enjoy playing as. Plus, just like each previous installment in the series, different characters handle/act differently during races. So playing around is key to figuring out which is going to be your favorite.
Another new feature that families and friends will enjoy seeing is the revamped Battle Modes. Battle modes are the perfect mode to play online as you’ll be matched against other players in a battle of skill to outmaneuver and sometimes outgun your opponents. Modes such as Renegade Roundup have you trying to capture and imprison the other team while the renegades try to free their friends. Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners, and Shine Theif are three other modes making their Mario Kart 8 premier which will task you with using items and your vehicle to blow up or steal items from the opposing team. Fan favorite Balloon Battle alse returns to this installment as well.
The one thing Mario Kart has above all other race games is it’s fun factor. Sure, the Xbox has the super realistic Forza game and Sony has their Gran Turismo, but they are far too serious for me. I know there is a market for that, and I’m glad it exists, but I just can’t find a ton of fun in racing real cars around real tracks. Maybe if you could throw red shells at the other cars, but until then, I’ll stick with my Mario Kart games. Other titles have tried to replicate the winning formula of the Mario Kart series too. There have been numerous releases that were “kart” games but they never really stuck because there was always a better version on the market. That’s what you get when you play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the best version of the best kart racing game on a new system that is in desperate need of more first party titles.
If you didn’t play Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U and own a Nintendo Switch, you absolutely should pick this game up. You don’t need to consider anything else, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an amazing game at an amazing value and you really can’t go wrong with it, even if you’re interest in kart racers may put you more on the casual side. If you have played Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U though, I still think this is a very worthwhile purchase to make for your new system. Let’s be honest, you’ve been playing Zelda pretty much 24/7 since it came out. It’s time to put down the master sword and instead check out what Mario has to offer. The new characters, new maps, and new battle modes are all worthwhile additions that more than make up for the price tag. Plus, being able to play Mario Kart on the go is something that isn’t easily passed up.
I have covered Mario Kart before on FatherNerdsBest and one thing I always like to point out is just how good of a game this is for kids. My son loves to pick a character and compete in races, and while he can’t place in anything other than 50cc, it has been amazing watching him go from 12th place to 7th and above over the past few weeks (he’s been playing on the Wii U a lot as well.) With the Switch’s multiple controller options, family game night is easy to set up and you really can’t pick a better family game than Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. If you own a Switch, then you really owe it to yourself to pick this one up.