Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Review

Noah Conley, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Now, let’s get this out of the way first: I’ve never really played a Mario Kart game before this one. I mean, I played Mario Kart Wii with my friend once or twice, but it didn’t really latch on to me. But now I can definitely say that Mario Kart 8: Deluxe is one of the best party games I have ever had the pleasure of playing.

The best part about Mario Kart on the Switch: It’s portable. Just picture that. We live in a world where we can just pop out our Switch and challenge the commuter next to us to a game of Mario Kart. I assure you, this is not a dream. And the portability of the Switch might be the biggest boon to the game. However, I have played it in portable mode and the one draw is that the split screen can make it a little bit of a pain on the eyes due to the relatively small 6.2 inch screen of the Switch. I would much rather play the game in the Switch’s docked mode, but I am definitely willing to play in portable mode if the situation calls for it.

Another great thing about the game is the way you can play; Mario Kart 8 can be played in a hardcore manner, or a casual one. You could master how to put together the perfect kart, wheel and glider combination or just pick it up to play a fun night of Mario Kart 8 with your friends. This helps cater the game to a wider audience and that helps its overall quality.

One of my favorite things about the game is the diversity of the racetracks. No two tracks are exactly alike (except for the several variations of Rainbow Road), and they all have their own dynamics and shortcuts, which helps make them all feel special in their own way.

However, because you can pick things like which kart, wheel, and glider, choosing the wrong combination for the wrong map can cause you to lose big time. Let’s say you decide on a combination of those three things that would give you an advantage on a map with a stone racetrack. You’ll lose if you use that combo on a primarily off-road track, which can dampen the overall game play experience.  

Additionally, a cool thing that Nintendo does is throw some strategy in to the mix with the ability to hold 2 power-ups at once. Say you get the fire flower AND the red shell and you’re in 6th place. You can chain the power ups by wiping out the people in front with fireballs and then use the red shell to take out whoever is still in front. They also added two power-ups to the game that help add more variety, the feather power-up and the boo power-up. The feather lets you execute a small jump, while the boo lets you turn invisible for a short time. These don’t really add to game play, but the new power ups are handy at times.

One of the things I felt conflicted about while playing was the Battle mode. Don’t get me wrong, once you get it the various Battle modes like Balloon Battle and Coin Runners are fun, especially when you play with a friend in local multiplayer. But getting to know the rules well enough to really play takes about 2-3 rounds and I am surprised that Nintendo didn’t include some sort of training mode or tutorial to fix a problem like this in one of their most popular franchises. But once you get the rules, the Battle mode is quite fun and enjoyable and I found the Coin Runners and Balloon Battle modes tied for my favorite battle mode.

Mario Kart 8: Deluxe also has an online mode where you can race 11 other people from all over the globe (or from your region of the world if you prefer), but when I started playing online, I realized I was going to have to take a cue from the Dark Souls series and “git gud,” as many players of that game say to newbies. The people I played with online seemed to have a mastery of the game, and I always finished in either 6th or 8th. I would recommend a bunch of practice on local multiplayer before going online.

Despite this, I would give Mario Kart 8:Deluxe 8 howls out of 10. It has amazing local multiplayer for that fun night of Mario Kart with your friends in terms of the split-screen racing and Battle modes, but online multiplayer can be hard to get into right away.