Mario Kart 8 originally released in 2014, was a game that I thought was a very flawed game. It had a very questionable roster, the online wasn’t all that great, the battle mode was lazily done, and overall it felt like it was missing a lot of content. Especially after coming off of Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed, which had a crazy amount of content, and lots of fun single player modes to do. Thankfully Mario Kart 8 Deluxe addresses most of my issues with the original game, and has impressed me so much, that I can honestly say that it’s the best Mario Kart game to date. Yes, even better than Double Dash…I know…I’m legitimately hurt to have to say it but this game is seriously great.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of Nintendo’s best looking games to date, if not their best looking game ever. The original Mario Kart 8 was beautiful, but now it has a full 1080p under it’s belt making this look even better. The character models animate very well, and the attention to detail and race tracks are absolutely stunning. Don’t even get me started on the soundtrack, greatness. Whoever at Nintendo thought that Mario Kart needed a heavy influenced soundtrack, promote that person, because this soundtrack is godly.
New to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is purple sparks. Purple Sparks are like orange and blue sparks, but they are the final level of sparks that you get when drifting for a long period of time. Getting it will allow you to get a large boost from it. It’s not uncommon that you’ll go entire races without being able to activate it, since some stages work better for it, but it’s still a welcome addition. Another new addition to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is auto acceleration and smart steering. Auto acceleration is pretty self explanatory. Smart steering is when the game takes control and doesn’t let you veer off into hazards. It’s a great addition for new players to the series and handicap people. It does have its down sides, like some shortcuts won’t work, and you can’t get purple sparks. So it’s balanced fairly against experienced players.
But you didn’t come to this review to hear me talk about music, purple sparks, or auto acceleration. Or did you? If you did, I apologize, I shouldn’t have spoken on the behalf of you. But for those of you who didn’t, the main new addition to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is battle mode. You get 5 different battle modes. Renegade Roundup, which is basically Cops and Robbers. One team has to capture the other team, and the other team has to avoid being captured. Balloon Battle where it’s person who hits the most people wins. Losing all your balloons will give you a penalty with a dock in points. Next is Bob-omb blast where the same rules of Balloon Battle apply, except you only use exclusively bombs. Shine Thief is the next battle mode. In Shine Thief, it’s your job to get a hold of the shine, and hold it until the time runs out. And finally theres coin battle. Collect coins….that’s it. Definitely my least favorite of the battle modes, but you’re sure to find a mode that you’ll love.
While Mario Kart 8 Deluxe does add some shine to its exterior, it’s still a little bit rough behind the wheels. Is that a saying? If it isn’t, it is now. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe still uses amiibo functionality. Which means, you still have to pay for amiibos if you want to access character specific Mii costumes. Which is some booty. Especially when you consider that this is basically a definitive edition of Mario Kart 8. And whenever games re release like this, they tend to give you all things that required money in the original game. Not the case here. The game doesn’t come with any audio options. So if you want to have a heavier emphasis on this god tier soundtrack, that’s unfortunate. The character roster is still a bit questionable, and missing fan favorite characters like Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, Petey Pirahna, Birdo, etc. But instead, we have unnecessary princess babies, and alternate costumes of Mario and Peach taking up spots on the roster for other potential candidates. And while not a huge negative, I would have loved to have an option to play balloon battle traditionally, rather than making it point based like what we have now.
Overall, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best Mario Kart game we’ve seen to date. While there are some aspects that I think Mario Kart games prior do better. For example, how Double Dash handles the double item system. Or how Mario Kart DS had more to do outside of racing and battling. As a total package, I’d have to say that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best Mario Kart game ever. And this is coming from someone who didn’t really care for the original Mario Kart 8. To returning players, the game may look more of the same. But with the addition of 5 different battle modes, each being quality modes, a slightly improved online system, and slight tweaks to the game play like purple sparks, smart steering, and double items, I think there’s a lot new here for returning players as well. But the real question is, Has Mario Kart 8 Deluxe dethroned Sonic and All Stars Racing as the Kart Racing Champion? No, no it has not.