Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Heading to Nintendo Switch


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the game on top of its video game racing genre.

Neil Bondoc, Photojournalist

Nintendo Switch had a successful launch thanks to the strength of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But more than a month after its release, what other great games are coming out for the system?

With several projects already in the works, Nintendo is turning to an old stalwart to carry the load while its first-party titles bake a little longer. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a port of a game originally released in 2014, but the version available on the Switch is different from the one gamers bought earlier.

First off, Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U offered downloadable content. This included free Mercedes-Benz vehicles and character and course packs that cost extra. The “deluxe” part of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is that the DLC is now included, along with additional tweaks and changes. It’s a refinement of the kart formula, in which players race around a track and try to pass each other with the use of weapons and driving skills.

In the “deluxe” version, Dry Bones, Bowser Jr., King Boo and the Inkling kids join the rest of the post-DLC cast for an enormous roster of 42 characters. Further changing the gameplay, Nintendo added two new items: the feather, which lets players jump extra high to avoid turtle shells; and Boo, which helps them steal items and then become invisible. The final major update is an ability to carry two items, which adds a new dimension of strategy, especially during close races, and makes those item boxes more important than ever.

Finally, Nintendo has made the game more accessible to beginners with Smart Steering, an assist that helps keep Mario Kart newbies on the track. It’s especially useful when playing with a group that includes kids and adults.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe makes the Switch a party in a box. Players can bring it along while waiting in line for the new Guardians of Galaxy movie and instantly entertain friends. They can take it to a dull birthday party and liven things up. Of course, bringing along an extra set of Joy-Con controllers will help, too, and the system and peripherals are compact enough to fit into a small bag.

That’s significant because Mario Kart 8 Deluxe capitalizes on one of the Switch’s biggest strengths — its portability. The “Mario Kart” series has always been a party game at heart. It’s best during get-togethers with friends, where everyone can pick up a controller and whip around the track. Adding more people amplifies the fun.