If you’re a Nintendo Switch owner who skipped the Wii U, I think Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be an automatic purchase. It’s easily the best Mario Kart title since Mario Kart DS, and it’ll be a staple in your collection on the Switch.
If you owned a Wii U and poured hundreds of hours into the original Mario Kart 8 (like me), then you might question whether or not you should pick it up on the Switch.
We played a bit of the game’s new Battle Mode at PAX East 2017 this past weekend, and we talked to Nintendo about all that’s new in the game. What is it that sets Mario Kart 8 Deluxe apart from its original form?
These (aside from the new resolution) are the biggest additions and changes.
All characters, courses and modes are unlocked right away
In recent years, Nintendo’s tucked their game’s features behind walls of unlocking challenges. Even remakes and ports like Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS suffered from this fate.
With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, everything will be unlocked the moment you turn the game on…
…except for kart customizations. You’ll need to earn new karts, wheels and gliders by collecting coins. But characters, cups, CCs and modes? Those are freed up right away.
LAN Play supports up to 12 players
Want to get a local tournament going? LAN Play supports up to 12 players. You can even play with two people on the same Nintendo Switch through split-screen, if you don’t have 12 consoles and 12 TVs.
The Switch systems must be docked in order to do this, and you’ll need a USB-Ethernet adapter. Those aren’t too expensive. Just make sure the one you get worked with the Wii. I’m using my old Wii’s adapter on the Switch, and it’s working fine.
Here’s how you’ll start up LAN Play: from the main menu, hold L+R and click the left stick. You’ll see the online option switch to LAN Play.
Of course, you can still play wirelessly with up to 8 Nintendo Switch consoles locally, or you can go online.
You can stack two items again
Easy enough, but this is one that fans wanted. You can stack two items again with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. That means you’ll pick up one box, not use it, pick up another and have two items. You cannot switch item order, though. Also, there are double item boxes that give you two items at once.
Young player-focused features like Smart Steering
If you have a more novice or younger player in your home, you might want to turn on Smart Steering or Auto Acceleration. Smart Steering essentially puts bumpers on the track so players won’t run into walls or fall off. Auto Acceleration basically keeps the gas on a bit to keep players moving.
If you’ve ever played with a young kid, you’ll know how this can keep them a bit more competitive.
Players can now break while drifting
This one comes largely because of 200cc. That’s unlocked and available in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe right away, and it offers bleeding fast races. They’re so fast, in fact, that drifting becomes nigh impossible at times.
Now you’ll be able to break while drifting, thus letting you slow your way through tight corners without breaking your drift in order to attain that boost at the end.
You can adjust multiplayer controls schemes before starting each race
This was a problem with the Wii U game. If a player wanted to tweak their controls during multiplayer, they had to wait for the first race to start, pause the game, enter the options menu and adjust their motion control options there. Each player had to do it, too, so that meant lots of waiting.
Now, you’ll be able to set up your motion control preference on the character select screen (along with Smart Steering and Auto Acceleration). Those options can be tweaked in races, too, just like before.
Battle Mode is back, baby!
I mentioned it in the intro, and I’ll say it again. This might be the biggest one, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features Battle Mode. This was sorely missed in its lackluster form in the original Mario Kart 8. That’s five modes spread over eight Battle Mode specific courses.
That’s what’s new in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. It’s due on April 28, 2017. Will you pick it up?