Mario Kart 8 Deluxe boxart

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (April 2017)

Nintendo Switch
Mario Kart

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent some time playing Mario Kart. I haven’t played this much Mario Kart since Mario Kart Wii. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the epitome of Mario Kart, and I haven’t had this much fun with a racing game in ages. So, this is my Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review.


Of course, I owe a lot of that fun to my sisters and brother who actually enjoy playing it with me. I’m impressed with this game and applaud the improvements over the Wii U version.

Gameplay for Everyone, Difficulty for your Tastes

Gameplay is the core of this racing game. In Mario Kart, you don’t do much else than riding a kart around in various ways. In fact, all you do is ride karts around. The controls are tight, and I think that they really figured out how to get you to move around perfectly. There are a few different modes, though, so there is that variation.

Grand Prix

The first form of variation is the Grand Prix. I’ve cleared all of these races, so I have a good idea how this works. Grand Prix has always been my favorite part of Mario Kart. I rarely work through time trials, and battle mode is only ever fun with friends. I really enjoy the sheer number of cups and various difficulties to play in Grand Prix.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Ready for the first race! Don’t the two Pink Gold Peaches look excited?

The first form of variation is the Grand Prix. I’ve cleared all of these races, so I have a good idea how this works. Grand Prix has always been my favorite part of Mario Kart. I rarely work through time trials, and battle mode is only ever fun with friends. I really enjoy the sheer number of cups and various difficulties to play in Grand Prix.

Being the oldest in my family, I’ve had to clear them on the other versions to unlock everything else. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe doesn’t require Grand Prix to unlock many characters at all. They’re all, with the exception of one, available at the start.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Make sure your Kart has the right construction.

So, if you don’t like Grand Prix, you don’t need to play it! You can just do Versus mode or just battle it out with friends. There’s nothing holding you back, as long as you collect coins with other parts.

However, I’d highly recommend playing Grand Prix. Going for gold and trying for three stars (perfect completion of Grand Prix) really helps you become a better racer. You’ll learn the course and have a great time. You’ll also have to learn proper Kart construction with 150 and 200 CC difficulties.

Versus Mode

Versus mode is generally what I play with friends and family. This is where the competition can start heating up. Instead of focusing on 4 predefined races, you get to choose whichever you like. I know a lot of people that only really play versus mode just so they can have the option to race where they want.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Two best brothers racing around a sweet place.

I do, however, have a few criticisms with Versus Mode. One of these criticisms is course selection. Only player one can make course selections, and there’s no way to set it so that the current loser gets the chance to choose. This could help with some balancing, especially among friends of similar ability and skill.

Another criticism with versus mode is the complete lack of control over what items can appear. While you can choose various categories, it would be a fantastic move to let the player completely customize which items appear. If they can do it in Smash Bros., they can do it in Mario Kart.

Apart from that, Versus Mode is incredibly fun and plays very well.

Time Trials

Not much to say about this mode in 1 Player. I’ve cleared the 150cc time trials, and they were fun. I’d recommend looking up a guide for Kart construction, but it’s a fun time.

Battle Mode

The final mode I want to touch on in this review is Battle Mode. To be honest, this Mode is the one I have the least experience with. I have played on each stage and with each mode, and I have to say that it’s great to get these modes back.

One of my biggest issues with the Wii U release of the game was the battle mode. They fixed it! You can finally play Bomb-omb Blast, Balloon Battle, and more both offline and online. The return of these modes has made the game much more valuable.

However, I wish that they were more like Double Dash, in that when you run out of balloons, you’re eliminated. On the other hand, this isn’t a big enough issue for me to dwell on.

Wonderful Visuals for Wonderful Play

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks beautiful on the Switch. I haven’t had any issues with the visuals at all. It all looks great, and everything is smooth. It looks great in handheld mode and great on our 4K TV.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Look at those pixels.

The models look great, and it’s clear that they made the textures perfect for high-quality play. The Kart design is fresh, the characters all have great animations (looking at you, Waluigi), and even the new characters look like they belong.

I guess it disappoints me that 4-player split screen lowers the frame rate, but I really don’t have an issue with it. It wasn’t noticeable on my end. Everything else looks crisp and polished.

Tight Sound Design and Exciting Music

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ReviewI’ve always loved the music in Mario Kart games. Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 64 has always been one of my favorite video game songs, and I get nostalgic for Double Dash’s music. Mario Kart 8’s music is no exception.

Every stage has its own music, and each song is distinct. The recreations of the classic courses have updated music that fits incredibly well. The homages to F-Zero, Zelda, and Animal Crossing are all wonderful and help merge the courses into Mario Kart.

The sound design is great, where pretty much everything gives a sound. I love the engine sounds of the karts and the differences when you play with different ones. There is so much lovely and impressive detail.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Just Makes Me Happy

In all, I’ve loved playing this game. My Switch says I’ve already logged 50 hours, so you could say I’ve played a lot. Of course, a lot of that is coin farming, but that’s no big deal.

The game isn’t perfect, as battle mode still isn’t quite what it could be. There’s also the issue of being able to play with more people on 2 nonconnected consoles, than if you were to combine the consoles over a network.

However, the game is a must-have for the Nintendo Switch. I don’t think a Nintendo console would be complete without Mario Kart, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a love song to the launch of the console. I highly recommend it for everyone. When a game gets my youngest sister excited to play a game, you know you have a winner.

If you want to write a review, or just leave a review score for this game, head over to Nintendo Switch Network’s page for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe


9.3 /10


8.5 /10


9.0 /10


9.2 /10


  • Tight controls
  • Fast-paced gameplay
  • Adjustable difficulty
  • Modes that everyone can play


  • Battle Mode still isn't quite what it could be
  • Almost identical content to Wii U version

David Van Komen

I'm the head honcho here. I love Nintendo, and I love writing about it all. Ask me sometime about why I believe Waluigi is a ghost.