Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Worth Buying?

If the Wii U was a showstopper in any sort of commercial sense, it was by way of selling a paltry amount of units in comparison to other successful video game consoles.

Latest public reports suggest that it never sold anymore than 13 million units during its entire lifespan.

So it’s not hard to imagine a world where tens of millions of gamers didn’t experience some of the best exclusive games on the Wii U such as Mario Kart 8. And this is why Nintendo has been taking such big strides towards making its best Wii U titles available on the Switch.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Switch’s counterpart to the vanilla Mario Kart 8, is one shining example.

An entire generation devoid of a Mario Kart game? This is the reality for many Nintendo fans, and if you’re a new Switch owner, you might be wondering, “Should I buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?” or “Is it worth it?”.

Continue reading for our take on whether or not Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the right call for your next Nintendo Switch pick up.

Is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Worth Buying?

You’ve graciously power slid, countered Red Shells, and made use of one or two short cuts in order to power on from the back of the pack to 3rd place.

Mario hasn’t let you down thus far, and that beam of focus let’s you know that 1st place is only a matter of time.

The two players in front of you don’t seem to have gotten there by way of skill. They’re faltering on their slides and generally out of the bounds of the Mario Kart flow.

You’ve actually got this.

It’s too bad that in that moment luck just wasn’t in your favor. Moments after, you were zapped, lost your items, held it together for a few seconds, but were ultimately stomped by a whizzing Bullet Bill and Red Shell 10 seconds within each other.

As the general flow of Mario Kart would have it, you’re now in 8th place with no chance at improving.

And this is the chaotic, nonsensical, and simple fun that never fades in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (or really any entry for that matter).

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe stays true to this mantra, and allows you to hop in and out with ease. The hybrid nature of the Switch makes the experience all the more enjoyable with the ability to not only play on the big screen, but also lounge around in bed via the undocked handheld mode.

But what about the new? What does Mario Kart 8 Deluxe do differently than the Wii U version?

Tracks, Tracks, Tracks

One of the biggest differences concerning Mario Kart 8 vs Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the number of tracks available in the game.

Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U included 32 vanilla tracks with 16 additional DLC tracks that were sold separately. Conversely, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ships with all vanilla tracks as well as the DLC tracks for a total of 48 courses to duel it out on.

You also won’t have to worry about any unlocking as all 48 tracks can be fired up right from the start.

New Vehicles

In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe you’ll be getting 3 new vehicles in addition to all offered in the Wii U version.

The new vehicles include:

  • Inkstriker
  • Splat Buggy
  • Koopa Clown

New Characters

Just as with the tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, all of the playable characters are unlocked from the get go (except for a special variant).

The Switch version offers a total of 6 additional characters over the Wii U version. The new characters include:

  • Bowser Jr.
  • Dry Bones
  • Inkling Girl and Boy
  • King Boo
  • Gold Mario (variant that needs to be unlocked)

Wondering how you can unlock Gold Mario in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? It’s very simple – beat the 200cc Grand Prix and come in first place. There’s no grinding, no convoluted progression system, and no amiibo required. Simply best the hardest single player content in the game and Gold Mario is yours.

Battle Mode Revamp

The difference between Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe when it comes to Battle Mode is absolutely staggering.

There are 4 new modes and 8 new tracks for the new and improved Battle Mode, making it an entirely different beast from its predecessor.

The new modes include:

  • Coin Runners
  • Shine Thief
  • Renegade Roundup
  • Bob-omb Blast

And the the new tracks are as follows:

  • Battle Stadium
  • Luigi’s Mansion
  • Urchin Underpass
  • Battle Course 1
  • Sweet Sweet Kingdom
  • Dragon Palace
  • Wuhu Town
  • Lunar Colony


There are only 2 new items in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Boo and the Feather, but there’s a big meta mix up of sorts with the ability to carry two items at once.

As a result, you’ll also find item boxes that offer 2 items at once. They’re regularly fought over, but they’re there.

Miscellaneous Changes

The above changes are some of the biggest alterations available on the Switch version of Mario Kart 8, but there’s a few more minor miscellaneous and quality of life changes worth noting.

They are as follows:

  • The introduction of the Ultra Mini Turbo boost
  • 12 player LAN
  • Smart Steering
  • You can now change characters and karts in online lobbies
  • Reduced load times
  • Time trial for 200cc

Of all these changes, Smart Steering is probably the most game changing. It makes it much easier for newcomers to the series and non-gamers alike to enjoy the game. Smart Steering essentially steers for a player when they’re due straight for a wall, cliff, or any other track obstacle.

Add to Kart

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers a laundry list of changes from its predecessor, offers fully functional portable play, and is an evergreen video game in terms of its constant propensity for enjoyment.

Whether you’re new to the series, a returning veteran, or simply want to add to your growing Switch collection, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe makes a very strong case towards being your next gaming purchase.

In a word, it’s a game that’s incredibly easy to sit back and relax with. There’s no pretense, only fun (and frustration).

Credit to reddit user baconcow for compiling list of differences between Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

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