Mario Kart 8 Deluxe- Impressions

As a day-one Switch adopter, Breath of the Wild kept me interested for about 70 hours and I loved playing the console handheld, on-the-go. I was disappointed with Zelda’s lack of end-game content, however, and left wishing I had something else to play on my shiny new console. Enter MK8D.

Everything about Mario Kart radiates quality, craft and fun. The game looks stunning, and is incredibly easy to pick up and play. I quickly set to work attempting to get gold on all of the Grand Prix, which up to the Mirror Cup was challenging but not overwhelming. 200cc mode was whole other beast, and many of the cups took several (many) attempts. All of it was thoroughly enjoyable.

In comparison to my previous experiences with Mario Kart games, MK8D feels fairer. It is still frustrating to be blue-shell’d, but knowing there are ways to avoid it mitigates this considerably. Items can be used to repel the blue shell, and letting an opponent cruise into first place only to get nuked from above is extremely satisfying. Similar goes for red shells and other obstacles in the game. Ultimately it feels more like a game of skill.

This has been evident through the online play as well, in which I have seen my ranking slowly improve as I gained skill and finesse. Again, nothing seems unfair and the consistency of the top players within a tournament indicates that the role of luck is minimal. Furthermore on the online play, the netcode seems good once in-game with little to no lag and generally good performance. I have been kicked from pre-game lobbies more than a few times though.

My main criticism of MK8D is that after around 15 hours I have gold in all the cups (unlocking the Gold Mario character) and feel unsure what else there is to do. More gold equipment can be unlocked by getting 3 stars in all the cups, which sounds like much more of an ordeal than it is worth. I still need to investigate Time Trial mode which could reveal some more addictive challenges, but (while fun) I don’t feel compelled to go back to the online mode. Hopefully MK8D has something to hook me back in lest I return to my wanderings in the Switch release schedule wasteland.

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