Mario Kart 8 Deluxe wasn't a hugely surprising announcement for the Nintendo Switch - considering it was teased as part of the system's unveiling in October 2016 - and is one of the few confirmed Nintendo Switch games given a firm release date.
This updated edition not only allows you to take the Wii U racer with you on the go - or play on a television at a full 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second - but it also comes with all previous DLC courses and characters, as well as a few new additions of its own.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: new characters and other new features coming to Nintendo Switch
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a Switch exclusive and includes the following features and additions:
- The previous 32 courses and 30 characters from Mario Kart 8
- All DLC updates*, including 16 extra track (a mixture of old and original courses, some inspired by Animal Crossing, Legend of Zelda and other Nintendo franchises), six DLC racers (Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link, Villager (boy and girl), Isabelle and Dry Bowser), and new themed vehicles
- Five Deluxe-only characters - Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl from Splatoon (each with three palette swaps), King Boo, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr.
- Three Deluxe-only vehicles, two inspired by Splatoon
- New amiibo costumes for the Mii racer, according to a leak via NeoGAF
- Classic Battle Mode returns with classic modes, new and old battle arenas
- Ability to carry two items at once
- Two new items - Boo (in races) and Feather (in battle mode)
- Smart Steering feature for novice players
- Improved visuals - 1080p60 on TV, 720p60 on handheld - up from 720p only on Wii U
- Up to 8 friends local multiplayer
- Up to 12 player multiplayer online
* While not confirmed, it's assumed Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will include the following smaller title updates and cars added as title updates to Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, including:
- Mercedes DLC vehicles
- Option of CPU racers in online matches
- 200cc race class (confirmed for Deluxe)
- Palette swaps for Yoshi and Shy Guy for those who bought both DLC packs on Wii U (confirmed for Deluxe)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is set to release on April 28th; it can be pre-ordered from Amazon worldwide, in the UK from Nintendo's official store, GAME and Argos, and in the US, GameStop, Target, Walmart and Best Buy.
Battle mode and other new features coming to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
While the headline grabbing features are the inclusion of all previous DLC content and the addition of five new characters, there are several gameplay changes and additions that are worth delving into:
Items: Moment-to-moment, the biggest change will come in the form of items. Up to two items can now be held at any one time, essentially allowing you to have something in reserve once your current item - such as a protective shell - has been used.
There's a few caveats to how this works; you cannot choose or rotate between items, and dragged items are still equipped in the first slot, but you can collect and stack two single Item Boxes to fill your inventory, or fill them at the same time by driving into one of the rarer double Item Boxes throughout a course.
Two new item types have also been added. The item-stealing Boo returns from Mario Kart 64, which visits another player with the most valuable item and adds to your inventory, while the Feather - which debuted on the original SNES Mario Kart - is a battle mode-exclusive that allows you to leap into the air.
Battle mode: After the divisive take on Battle mode in vanilla Mario Kart 8, the Deluxe edition takes things back to the franchise's roots.
Classic Balloon Battle and Bob-Omb Blast modes return - with a Nintendo Treehouse stream teasing "some surprises" to be revealed closer to launch, with a leak via NeoGAF suggesting a total of five modes including Coin, Shine and Piranha Plant modes - and offers two new courses; Urchin Underpass (inspired on Splatoon) and Battle Stadium - as well as older courses Luigi's Mansion (GameCube) and Battle Course 1 (SNES).
Playing Bob-Omb Blast at a hands-on event, the mode was predictably chaotic, allowing players to pick up and hold 10 Bob-ombs at once from item boxes to discharge whenever they pleased, with successful attacks adding points to decide the victor after a timer runs out.
Smart Steering: Another new feature is Smart Steering, designed to help guide novice players as they race. You can spot a racer using Smart Steering thanks to the antenna sticking from the back of the kart, and when enabled, will stop players from driving off the edge of any course.
At a hands-on event, the effect was pretty gentle, and was only noticeable when steering players away from a course's edge is they ventured too close.
It's thought this feature will be disabled by default for when you first start the game. While it's unknown whether the feature will work across all modes in the game - including online play - it'll work up to the 200cc racing class.Everything we know about Nintendo Switch From detachable controllers to games, here's what's next from Nintendo.
Steering wheel accessory and control schemes: Similar to previous console Mario Kart games, the control schemes available to players are pretty flexible, letting any player use either both Joy-Cons in the grip, single Joy-Cons on the sides, and the Pro Controller.
Individual Joy-Cons can also be inserted into new plastic steering wheels - similar to what we saw with Mario Kart Wii, but with two shoulder buttons for improved drift and item control - though the price and availability of these has yet to be revealed:
Right Joy-Con in wheel: pic.twitter.com/Qmfdn9XE6D— Matthew Reynolds (@Crazyreyn) January 13, 2017
The game also allows you to mix and match control schemes in local and online multiplayer, so TV, split-screen Tabletop and Handheld users can also play against one another. Locally, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe supports 8 players over Wifi, while online, it'll be up to 12 players in total.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe track list
Though Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers a handful of new and retro Battle mode courses, there are no new tracks coming to the racing parts of the game. It does, however, include all DLC tracks, bringing the roster up to 48 tracks in total.
Mario Kart Stadium
Sweet Sweet Canyon
Shy Guy Falls
Moo Moo Meadows (Wii)
Mario Circuit (GBA)
Cheep Cheep Beach (DS)
Toad's Turnpike (N64)
Dry Dry Desert (GameCube)
Donut Plains 3 (SNES)
Royal Raceway (N64)
DK Jungle (3DS)
Wario Stadium (DS)
Sherbet Land (GameCube)
Music Park (3DS)
Yoshi Valley (N64)
Tick-Tock Clock (DS)
Piranha Plan Slide (3DS)
Grumble Volcano (Wii)
Rainbow Road (N64)
Egg Cup (DLC 1)
Yoshi Circuit (GameCube)
Excitebike Arena (based on Excitebike)
Mute City (based on F-Zero)
Triforce Cup (DLC 1)
Wario's Gold Mine (Wii)
Rainbow Road (SNES)
Ice Ice Outpost
Hyrule Circult (based on Legend of Zelda)
Crossing Cup (DLC 2)
Baby Park (GameCube)
Cheese Land (GBA)
Animal Crossing (based on Animal Crossing)
Bell Cup (DLC 2)
Neo Bowser City (3DS)
Ribbon Road (GBA)
Super Bell Subway
Big Blue (based on F-Zero)
Meanwhile, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's character roster is 41 strong, including 5 new Deluxe-exclusive racers:
- Baby Daisy
- Baby Luigi
- Baby Mario
- Baby Peach
- Baby Rosalina
- Bowser Jr. (Deluxe)
- Cat Peach (DLC)
- Donkey Kong
- Dry Bones (Deluxe)
- Dry Bowser (DLC)
- Link (DLC)
- Inkling Girl (Deluxe, three versions available)
- Inkling Boy (Deluxe, three versions available)
- Isabelle (DLC)
- King Boo (Deluxe)
- Koopa Troopa
- Metal Mario
- Pink Gold Peach
- Shy Guy (eight versions available)
- Tanooki Mario (DLC)
- Villager (DLC)
- Yoshi (eight versions available)