With the hype surrounding The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild finally winding down, it’s time to focus the Switch‘s second major first-party release: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Though this is essentially a re-release of the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8, this will be the first time some Switch owners are encountering this game. Reviews are beginning to hit today, so what’s the verdict? Is this a must-have for Switch owners?
Yes, as it turns out, this can probably be considered essential for Switch libraries, especially considering the relative lack of games on the console at this early stage. At the moment, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is holding down a very impressive 93 rating on Metacritic, with a fair number of 10 out of 10 scores to its name.
One of those scores comes from Nintendo Life‘s Thomas Whitehead, who says that the addition of a full-fledged battle mode (something the Wii U version lacked in many regards), makes this “arguably the best Mario Kart release we’ve seen.” That new battle mode is being added on top of all of the content from the original, including all of the DLC that was released for the Wii U, giving players plenty of content to work through. “If you’re a Switch owner, it’s an easy choice,” Whitehead concludes.
We see a similar sentiment over on Destructoid, where Chris Carter rates the game 9.5 out of 10 and says that the introduction of a true-to-form battle system makes this “one of the best kart racers ever made.” Carter is also happy to see that the vast majority of the content in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is unlocked from the start, meaning that folks who have already played the game a lot on Wii U don’t have to start over.
However, if you did play through Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, you’ll certainly need to consider whether you want to pay for the game again. Aside from a few new racers and the much talked about battle mode, there isn’t a whole lot for Mario Kart 8 veterans. Lou Contaldi brings this up in his review for DualShockers, in which he gave the game a respectable 8 out of 10.
“At the end of the day, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a Mario Kart game and (predictably) fantastic. With a fully upgraded Battle Mode and all the portability that comes with Nintendo Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is undoubtedly the definitive version of the game — maybe even the series,” Contaldi writes. “However, with limited offerings for Mario Kart veterans who shelled out nearly $100 on the last experience, the title will be significantly less rewarding.”
So, there you have it: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe seems like a no-brainer for those who would be playing it for the first time, but perhaps a purchase that requires a little more thought if you’ve already played it on the Wii U. Still, if you’re itching for some Mario Kart action and happen to have a Switch on hand, it sounds like you can’t really go wrong here, even if it is a re-release.