Video Games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Is the Second Big Reason to Get a Nintendo Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

At launch, there was one main reason to push through the day-one lines and get your hands on a Nintendo Switch: it had The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a launch title. Now, two months later, Nintendo’s second major persuasion point is upon us, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

This isn’t a brand new game — it originally launched for Nintendo’s doomed Wii U console back in 2014 — but this version comes packed full of all of the DLC from the original game, plus extras. In fact, this is the most content-rich Mario Kart game of all time, featuring 48 tracks, 42 characters, some much-needed balance tweaks (like getting rid of the fire-hopping exploit), and a robust Battle Mode. There’s even a new Smart Steering feature, but I recommend shutting it down as soon as possible.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Gone are the days when Mario Kart stuck with a lineup of characters from Mario and Donkey Kong games; we’ve got Link from The Legend of Zelda, a couple characters from Splatoon, and some familiar faces from Animal Crossing.

Half the game’s courses are new for Mario Kart 8, while the other half is made up of legacy courses with tweaks and an enormous graphical upgrade. The classic SNES course Donut Plains 3, for example, is back and looking better than ever.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

I was actually surprised when I compared Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s track lineup against that of Mario Kart Wii. I expected to see a lot of favorite tracks reused, but that’s not the case at all. There are only a few tracks shared between these two games. (While I was sad that my favorite course from Mario Kart Wii, Maple Treeway, was absent, we at least got to see the return of the glorious Moo Moo Meadows along with its goofy track theme song.) This means that even if you put dozens of hours into the Wii’s Mario Kart game like I did, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers an almost entirely fresh experience.

It’s a great idea for Nintendo to re-release some of their mega-hits from the Wii U, since the console saw such a small install base that an enormous amount of fans passed over some of the best games it had to offer, like Super Smash Bros. and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Giving Mario Kart 8 a second chance is an exciting concept, as is getting to play it on the go.

Oh, and don’t forget the now-iconic Luigi Death Stare. That’s back too.

Luigi Death Stare

If you happen to have a Nintendo Switch lying around and you missed Mario Kart 8 back when it was one of the Wii U’s most exciting pieces of software, you owe it to yourself to pick up Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It’s everything a great Mario Kart game should be and more, and some might even dare to call it perfect.

Check out the launch trailer below.

Josh Wirtanen owns this place and has opinions about pretty much everything. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuajwirtanen.