Review: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe


Mario Kart 8 is back…this time on the Nintendo Switch bursting with new and improved features in the form of its new identity: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

The game features an improved Battle Mode, 4 new characters (King Boo, The Inklings from Splatoon, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr.), the return of being able to hold 2 items at a time, two brand new items (Feather & Boo) and new ways of introducing new-comers to the series with options such as Smart-Steering and Auto-Accelerate.

So, is Deluxe simply just a straight console port? The game still feels familiar, but beneath the surface, it’s packed with new ideas and re-imaginings to its core gameplay that make this game the definite and must-have edition and is very welcome to the Switch’s growing library

Graphics & Sound

One of the new features in Deluxe is that is now runs at 1080p 60 frames per second when using the Nintendo Switch Dock. This is a vast improvement over the Wii U version, which only ran at 720p.

The game still looks great – bright, colourful and what you expect from the Mario Kart universe. There are no issues with frame rate drops and even when playing in handheld mode, it’s still presented wonderfully and you’ll have no problems with seeing what’s coming up in front of you…or even behind!

The same goes for sound as well, with each course having its own set music and, in the case of courses from Zelda, Animal Crossing and F-Zero, having specific game related sound effects to go along with it.


At last! Battle mode has made a triumphant return to Mario Kart.

After being regarded as an after-thought in the Wii U version, it’s now been revamped and gives you a good reason to re-invest hours back into the game.

With 5 battle modes and 8 courses (5 which are new and 3 being from past games), this has become one of the prominent features of Deluxe, and each mode requires a different style of play – especially in comparison to the more traditional form of racing. Strategy and well timed use of items are key.

Each mode is exciting, fun and, best of all, frantic. There are fair opportunities for players to excel well – even if they lose all their points and coins, with the re-introduction of carrying two items. This ultimately gets rid of the Wii U’s ‘item-spy’ when using the Gamepad, but encourages strategy and new ways of thinking to ensure dominance in battle.

In regards to the more classic racing aspect of Mario Kart, nothing really has changed much in Deluxe. The core gameplay is still there and all the modes from the Wii U version are present: 50cc, 100cc, 150cc and 200cc – with an additional 150cc Mirror Mode.

With new characters and new vehicles, there are now 16 weight classes – all ranging from light to heavy. Character and vehicle stats have also been altered in Deluxe, which will greatly affect how well you do on the courses – and may require the more experienced player to re-think their character and kart setup.

There is also a new additional level of mini-turbo present, this is now called the ‘Ultra Mini Turbo’ and is represented by purple sparks that follow immediately after the orange. This will greatly affect how you will drift and your decisions on certain courses!

With all this in mind, and with the re-introduction to being able to carry two items, this now makes racing a much more definite and enhanced experience – both offline and online.

Replay Value

With Grand Prix, Time Trials and Battle Mode all available to be played online and offline – you will have no problem with getting the absolute most out of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Whilst the majority of DLC from the Wii U version is present, and with all the characters unlocked from the start (except for one very special character) you will still need to unlock vehicles and their parts by collecting coins in the various game modes. You will need a certain amount of coins to unlock a random vehicle, wheels and glider at a time. This is not an easy task, but not impossible, and adds a nice incentive to try out all the modes to see which is better for collecting coins.

If you venture to the online part of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, then you won’t be disappointed. You’ll find opponents based on your skill level and will have the opportunity to showcase your skills in a variety of modes. One feature that was missing in the Wii U version was the ability to change your character and kart setup in a lobby, this has now thankfully been rectified and now adds to an already impressive online experience.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a wonderfully enhanced edition of Mario Kart 8.

With the revamped Battle Mode and with new characters, karts and gameplay mechanisms. This is no doubt, one of the best Mario Kart games in the series that is worthy of your investment.

4.5 / 5