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Game Info:

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Developed By: Nintendo EPD
Published By: Nintendo
Released: April 28, 2017
Available On: Switch
Genre: Racing
ESRB Rating: E for everyone
Number of Players: 1-4 locally; up to 12 online
Price: $58.95
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the first ever port of a Mario Kart game (excluding Virtual Console), porting over Mario Kart 8 from the Wii U. This game isn’t just a basic port, however; it includes some major changes to its battle mode, while also adding some other small changes and additions.

Now, as this is a port of Mario Kart 8, I’m going to save you the trouble of going through all the original Mario Kart 8 content and just go straight to the new and changed stuff (if you want to see the original Mario Kart 8 content, visit my Mario Kart 8 review. To start off, this game includes all the DLC from the original game right off the bat. This is quite nice as I never did get to play the DLC from the original version. Also everything, excluding kart parts and one character, is unlocked immediately.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also has some new vehicles and characters up its sleeve. This game also sees the return of two items, the feather and the boo. The feather is a little bit of a shock as this item hasn’t been seen since the original Super Mario Kart. Unfortunately the feather is a battle exclusive item, while the boo item is available in both races and battles. Both items function almost exactly the same as they did in the games they appeared in before. The boo item makes the player invisible to other players and invulnerable to projectiles. A boo will steal another players' item and give it back to you. The feather allows you to make a huge jump into the air, clearing big obstacles. The feather also allows you to steal a balloon or coins from another player if you touch the player while using the item.

Another nice change is the ability to hold up to two items at once. Double item boxes also make a return. As a result of this you have to make a choice of whether to take a quicker path and get a single item box or take the longer path and get a double item box. Unfortunately you can’t switch between the 2 items. Another small change to races is that you can get a third level of mini-turbo, being the ultra mini-turbo. You will know you have the ultra mini-turbo by the purple/pink sparks that come out of your vehicle.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Highlights:

Strong Points: Extremely fun; excellent battle mode; tons of characters and tracks to choose from
Weak Points: Online mode is wonky (at the moment)
Moral Warnings: Undead characters you can play as; haunted mansion tracks; cartoon violence

Now on to the real change of this game, and that is battle mode. I mean, battle mode just went from nearly junk to being incredible! First of all, there are 5 different types of battle modes you can play. These being Balloon Battle, Coin Runners, Bob-omb Blast, Shine Thief, and Renegade Roundup. Battle mode is also played in battle arenas, in which five battle arenas are new and three are returning. Also if you lose all your balloons in Balloon Battle or Bob-omb Blast then you will respawn, with only half of your original points.

In Balloon Battle you try to pop other players' balloons, while avoiding getting yourself hit. This time around you will spawn with five balloons when the round starts, though you will only get three if you respawn because of dying. You can steal a balloon using either a mushroom or a feather. Coin Runners is where you try to collect more coins than everyone else. You can also steal coins using the same tactics as in Balloon Battle. Bob-omb Blast is where the item boxes will only give you bob-ombs and you have to try to blow everyone else up, while keeping yourself alive. Balloons are used in this mode as well. Shine Thief is where you have to take hold of the Shine Sprite for 20 seconds, while avoiding everyone else who is chasing after you for the shine.

Lastly there is Renegade Roundup. This mode is brand new to the Mario Kart series. In this mode you have two teams: one team is the renegades while the other team is the ‘law’ (aka cops). This mode is quite similar to Cops and Robbers. The renegades win if at least one renegade is not in jail when the timer finishes. The cops win if they catch all the renegades before the timer runs out. If a renegade gets trapped in jail then a fellow renegade can free you. Overall this mode is extremely well done and very fun to play. My personal favorite battle mode is Shine Thief. When you have the shine it kind of makes you feel like you’re the king of the court.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The sound and controls are as great as ever. For the controls there are a few new options that help the newer folks to Mario Kart. One of them is “Smart Steering,” which prevents the player from falling off or going out of bounds while racing. No matter how hard you try you cannot get yourself to fall off the track. Another option is “Auto Accelerate” which, as the name states, makes your kart accelerate automatically, no button input required. The funny thing is if you combine Smart Steering and Auto Accelerate together then your character can drive on its own, as you don’t need to press even one button. Letting your character drive on its own will still count towards trophies and points, but it's not a good idea to do this on the higher engine class levels. If you do this on the very low engine class levels then you're pretty much guaranteed to win almost every time.

The online mode is still extremely fun, but that fun is a little limited to how wonky it is. Every single time I hit somebody with a red shell or something and the player is dragging an item, the player has the “hit” animation and loses three coins, but never actually stops. This makes sense as the player has an item dragged, but he/she shouldn’t have had the hit animation or lose three coins. I do get it though as probably a good amount of players playing online are out on the go and don’t have extremely reliable internet. I’ve also been disconnected multiple times, although this could just be my Switch having trouble connecting to our internet. One change that I liked that they made to the online mode is that now a certain engine class will be picked. So you could have either 100cc, 150cc, mirror, or 200cc in an online race, while in the original version I believe you were stuck with 150cc all the time (unless a tournament picked a different cc engine class).

Morality wise there isn’t a whole lot to worry about. There are a couple of haunted mansions to play in and you’re able to play as a couple of undead characters. There is also slight cartoon violence.

Overall this is a great port and I think it was a smart decision to port over one of the Wii U’s greatest titles over to the Switch. The major issue from the original version is now fixed, and all modes are fun to play. If you own a Switch and never played the original version, then I have to recommend you getting this game. If you already own the Wii U version, then it’s up to you on whether you think it’s worth the extra $60 or not. Also note that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is exclusive to the Switch, the original Mario Kart 8 is completely unaffected.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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