Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review

To all Kart.

Version tested: Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo's go-kart racing video game series, with nine main chapters plus 3 arcade games, is celebrating the first quarter of a century. It would have been logical, three years after the release of Mario barth 8 su Nintendo Wii U, publish a brand new chapter but unfortunately the decisions of the Japanese company have been different. Let me be clear, we are not criticizing the choice of re-proposing in a "definitive" version Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, indeed we are really excited about it, but in our hearts we would have liked (and we still trust since the Nintendo Switch era has just begun) that there can be a brand new chapter in the series.

Although almost three years have passed since the release of the game on Wii U, Mario Kart 8 has aged rather well and in fact, both from a technical and a gameplay point of view, is still valid today. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, could be considered a simple copy and paste of the Wii U version, but we guarantee you that this is only partially so; the game incorporates all the most successful elements of the previous version, proposing them in a "new" perspective, thanks to the addition of a few more characters, some interesting and double usable power-ups and the two DLCs that were proposed a few months later the release of the game in 2014.

Taking into account the hybrid nature of Nintendo Switch, it seems that this Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was conceived just for the new Nintendo flagship, managing to adapt to practically all game modes proposed by Switch.

But let's find out some more details in our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review and we remind you that if you need some practical advice you can take a look at our guide on: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, all the news and how to unlock Gold Mario!

Here we go!

Once the game started, nothing was practically changed, the menu is basically the same and still brings with it that breath of freshness and immediacy that we already had the opportunity to know in the Wii U version. A few simple steps will be enough to find us in the race, among shells, bombs, bananas and drifting. Selected the number of players, the type of competition between: Grand Prix, Time Trial, Challenge Race and the Battle mode that reminds me of childhood memories (good times those of the Nintendo 64) and finally selected the level of difficulty (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, Speculare and 200cc, the latter available immediately), we will be able to choose our “driver” and the kart on which to race.

The choice is really substantial, as we have 41 characters available + the possibility of being able to use our alter ego in Mii version, for a total of 42 options. As for the karts, motorcycles and components, the choice will initially be a bit limited but by winning the competitions and collecting the golden coins, it will be possible to unlock new karts and new customizations. Each character, based on his weight and physical conformation, will influence the performance of the kart (or motorcycle); in turn, different vehicles and accessories will make it possible to decide which parameter to optimize, determining the speed, acceleration, handling of the vehicle and finally the off-track, or rather our ability to go off-track without wasting much time.

Finally 12 trophies, for a total of 48 circuits and 8 arenas for Battle mode, make this Mario Kart 8 Deluxe practically the title of the series with the most content to choose from.

Briefly, we show you the various playable modes:

First of all, there are 4 different modes:

- A player

- More Players (up to four in split screen)

- Online - 1 Player or 2 Players

- Local Mode

The available competitions are the following and in particular we will focus more only on the Battle mode that has undergone the greatest "restyling":

Grand Prix, which will allow us to face the 12 available cups, made up of 4 tracks each, for a total of 48 tracks; it is the most classic mode, in which each position corresponds to a certain number of points.

Time Trial, which will allow us to compete alone within a given track to score the best lap time (and study the best shortcuts); also present the possibility to face the Nintendo ghosts or to download the ghosts of other players who have decided to make their best time public and to load our lap time;

Race Challenge, will give us the opportunity to choose the settings of the race that we are going to face, setting different parameters such as: the level of difficulty of the CPU, the use or not of objects, the number of races and the category of usable vehicles.

Battle, a very fun mode that rediscovers the glories of one of the most successful Mario Kart of the series: Double Dash. The first important news concerns the Arenas, no longer derived from the circuits of the Grand Prix mode but made specifically for Battle Mode. There are eight, three inspired by the old Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart Double Dash and Super Mario Kart SNES. The one that struck us most, especially for its difficulty is the Urban suburbs of Splatoon that by taking up the elements of the frantic shooter will give you a lot of fun.

After selecting the game arena, it will be possible to choose between five different battles: the best known is the one already seen in the past, or the Battle Balloons, in which the goal is to pierce all the opponents' balloons; Bob-Ombe at the Carpet, which does not differ much from the Clash with the Balloons but only bombs will be allowed; Coin catcher, will require you to collect as many coins as possible within the time limit. The more you get, the better your ranking will be; Steal the Guardian Sun., already seen on Nintendo GameCube, in which the goal will be to conquer the Sun present in the game stage and prevent our opponents from taking it by the end of the battle; finally, the team challenge Guards and Thieves, in which the participants will be divided into two teams: one made up of guards armed with carnivorous plants and the other of thieves who will have to escape the chase.

When we find ourselves in the clutches of the vigilantes, we will be suspended in cages on the ceiling which can however be opened by the other players by activating a special button. The guards win if they manage to catch all the outlaws. The thieves win if at least one of them is left on the loose when the time limit runs out.

Finally, within the two online categories it will instead be possible to challenge opponents of all nationalities, choosing whether to face players from all over the world, European (Regional), Friends and Opponents or to participate in tournaments. Once you have chosen the type of opponents to challenge, you can decide whether to compete in Race, Battle or in a Custom race.

The Race and Battle modes also boast a sophisticated Ranking system that will see us start with a score of 1000 and that will gradually increase or decrease based on our performance in online races, thus decreeing our level of skill and making the system capable. to mate, in the challenge phase, with opponents who are close to our level.

Two is better than Uan!

After the examination of the large amount of content present, it is necessary to reiterate how the gameplay doesn't seem to have aged anywhere near. It represents the beating heart of the entire Nintendo production, thanks to simple but functional mechanics that offer an interesting, intense and satisfying experience to play for hours and hours of gameplay. Initially, especially considering newbies to the series, we may have some slight problems in managing the driving system better, but with a little practice and some sound defeat, you will find yourself steering curves, drifting and hitting opponents with any power. -up available in the blink of an eye.

Attention, for all those who have stripped the title on Wii U, do not think you are a "pro player" as, Some new power-ups like the Feather and Boo have been added: the first will make us jump higher in order to avoid shells and bananas, while the second will make us invisible and "untouchables", allowing us to steal the objects of unsuspecting opponents. What could really make a difference is the presence of an additional level of boost which is obtained in drifting (it will be necessary to drift for quite a few seconds) visually distinguished by pops of purple color. If used in the right way and at the right time it will allow us to make spectacular overtaking and gain a lot of advantage over our direct rivals.

Finally, the outcome of the tender could also be changed by a new (or rather old) introduction, the double power-up available that works in a similar way, with the exception of the double character on the Double Dash Kart. Unfortunately, as already seen in the past, the balance of the power-ups makes the nose turn up a bit, in fact in some races, as long as we are in the very first positions, we will find ourselves having an easy life or almost while in others we could be launched against everything and more even within a few seconds. It is true that those in the rear need better objects to attempt a comeback, but in a very short time they find themselves struck by lightning, red shells and blue shells without being able to defend themselves because the only available object is a coin. enjoyable.

PS without counting the luck factor that is the basis of all Mario Kart so far released.

A Deluxe Edition

The technical department of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been treated and refined in every aspect. Although the menu appears to be identical to that seen on Wii U, we really appreciate its simplicity and intuitiveness of use and access. Furthermore, the game runs smoothly at 60fps and 1080p in home mode while the resolution drops to 720p in portable mode. The new Nintendo hardware performs very well and has made it possible to improve the system of shadows and lights and to further refine the textures. Perhaps, however, Nintendo from this point of view could have dared more as we find ourselves in front of a certainly better version than the one seen on Wii U but a better anti-aliasing or even a greater detail in the background, would have made the job of better remastering.

For split-screen multiplayer it does not differ particularly from what we saw on Wii U. With the screen split between two players, the gameplay remains at 60fps but switching to three or at most four players will be reduced to 30fps which will make the controls less immediate on the screen. The sound is good, certainly in portable mode the various effects and the various melodies are not able to immerse us particularly, but if you have a nice pair of headphones to connect to the audio jack or if you have a home theater for home mode, we guarantee that the gaming experience will be even richer and more satisfying.

We would also like to promote all the possible game options granted by Switch; maybe a little less than the four-player split screen mode using the tablet as the screen would become really too small for a good gaming experience, but surely the two-player local split screen fits perfectly and the possibility of using the Joy- Con, but as long as you don't have too big hands, it's still satisfying.

Small parenthesis Amiibo, the compatibility is total but the in-game additions are not great, limiting ourselves to new outfits for our pilots.

Final comment

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe does not represent a simple reinterpretation of the game released almost three years ago on the included Wii U, on the contrary, Nintendo has managed to make a whole series of improvements: double power-ups, an additional boost level in drift, the immediate presence of the two DLCs released in the months following the launch of Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, five new playable characters, arenas expressly dedicated to Battle Mode and much more that will make happy not only newbies but also those who have already thoroughly stripped the edition Wii U. Finally, we should applaud the developers who have managed to take full advantage of the new hardware offered by Nintendo Switch which gives us hope for the possibility of seeing similar productions in the near future.



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