Review: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch

published on
Review: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch is a killer title and an absolute must-have for people who like to have fun — either alone or with their friends.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not completely new to us because we’ve already played the title on Wii U, sans the new battle mode of course. Still, the game is worth the full retail price Nintendo decided to launch it at — the new battle mode is a lot of fun.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: What is new and what isn’t?

Way before Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch, when it was still known as project NX, Emily Rogers posted on her blog some new features Mario Kart 8 might have, one of which was the revamped battle mode.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe revamped Battle Mode

The rumour was received with mixed receptions. People didn’t think that Wii U owners would buy it one more time — but they did. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch supposedly sold over one million copies worldwide in three days after launch, according to Daniel Ahmad, an Analyst at Niko Partners.

But what made people buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch?

Let’s see what is new:

  1. 1080p graphics at 60 fps in docked mode
  2. all characters from the Wii U version including DLC are unlocked from the beginning
  3. you can play all DLC tracks found in the Wii U version
  4. revamped battle mode with Balloon Battle and Bob-omb Blast
  5. exclusive battle maps:
    • Urchin Underpass
    • Battle Stadium
  6. exclusive characters:
    • Inkling Girl & Boy
    • King Boo
    • Dry Bones
    • Bowser Jr.
  7. Smart Steering feature for novice players and children
  8. three new vehicles that are inspired by Splatoon
  9. you’re now able to carry two items at a time
  10. new items like Boo and Feather

Besides those ten new features, there are, of course, ways you can experience Mario Kart 8 that are tied to the console itself: Play with up to seven players in local wireless multiplayer or share the screen of the Nintendo Switch with up to three friends.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 2-player

The best thing is: You can enjoy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch with a friend without having to buy any controllers. Just give your partner a Joy-con and battle it out on the tracks.

Skipping singleplayer and diving right into online madness

Having unlocked everything in Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, we didn’t feel the need to do it all over again in the definitive version. So we skipped right ahead and dove into the online mode, where we felt right at home.

Racing is pretty much the same. Thankfully, all tracks and characters are unlocked. The only things missing are some cars and parts (tyres, gliders) — but we might hunt those down eventually.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online racing

Alina has played only a little bit of Mario Kart on Wii U because it was too hard for her. Thanks to the new steering assist feature, she can now finish any race.

We were most curious about the nature of the new and revamped battle mode, which had been a huge let down on Wii U and ultimately led to the fact that we stopped playing Mario Kart 8 a few weeks after launch.

Battling it out with friends and strangers is the biggest reason why people play Mario Kart. Nintendo probably realised that they have annoyed the loyal fanbase and decided to revamp the mode — and boy, did they do it right.

These are the battle modes you can choose from:

Balloon Battle

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Balloon Battle

This classic mode should be known by anyone who has played Mario Kart before. Pop your opponents’ balloons with one of the various items, for example, the green shells; you can also steel balloons with some items. A new addition to this mode is the points system: You now don’t fall out of a battle after getting all your balloons popped but instead loose points and respawn.

Bob-omb Blast

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Bob-omb Blast

A mode that returns from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! brings Bob-ombs into the match. Carry up to ten bombs and pop the balloons of your opponents. The rules are basically the same as in the mode before.

Coin Runners

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Coin Runners

Originally a mode in Mario Kart Wii, Coin Runners makes it’s way onto the newest instalment. Collect coins scattered through-out the map; attack your opponents to make them drop their coins.

Shine Thief

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Shine Thief

This mode is also from Double Dash!!: Retrieve the Shine Sprite and hold it for 20 seconds. Opponents can use items to make you drop the shiny star — but you can also defend yourself. Your only disadvantage is the reduced driving speed.

Renegade Roundup

The most interesting one is Renegade Roundup because you can have one of two roles:

  1. Either be one of The Renegades and try to escape or
  2. be part of The Authorities and try to capture The Renegades with Potted Piranha Plants.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Renegade Roundup Renegades
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Renegade Roundup Authorities


We had some displeasure with this mode on Luigi’s Mansion. It seems way to small and narrow for this mode to be enjoyable.

How to have a smooth online experience

One of the biggest reasons why we decided to buy Mario Kart 8 again was the online multiplayer mode. Of course, the new battle mode was the biggest factor because otherwise, we would have skipped Mario Kart 8 Deluxe all together.

Sadly, we are one of many people who experience some issues with the online mode. Random disconnects during a race, in the lobby or searching for a race are not uncommon.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch communication error

So, what can you do?

First of all: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch uses peer to peer connections. So the contributing factor is your internet connection. Playing on the go means that you have to use the built-in Wi-Fi connection.

Make sure that your NAT Type is at least a B, even better, an A. But NAT Type A is only attainable if you assign an IP for your Nintendo Switch, forward all the ports Nintendo recommend or put the console in DMZ — nothing of that will be possible when you sit in a cafe and don’t have access to the router. In that case, make sure to sit as close to the router as possible. If you can’t see it, ask a waitress/waiter where it’s located and pick the closest table.

At least NAT Type C is required to be able to play online. If you have NAT Type D or anything worse, you cannot play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch or any other Nintendo Switch game online.

If you’ve rented a place through Airbnb and have access to the router, then you should try and put your Nintendo Switch in DMZ. What this means is that it accepts all incoming and outgoing traffic; therefore, connection problems shouldn’t happen.

Another thing you can do is to wire your Nintendo Switch via a LAN adapter to a router and eliminate the risk of wireless interference. If you don’t have the dock with you, get a LAN Adapter for your Nintendo Switch and also a USB-A to USB-C Adapter; or just buy a USB-C LAN Adapter.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe connection error

Another option is playing through a tethered connection from your mobile phone. This one, however, is tricky: Some mobile providers do not assign a public IP address for their clients, therefore, you will get a Nat Type D and cannot play online. Ask your mobile provider if you can get a public IP (by paying for it) or if they plan to implement IPv6 soon.

If you experience many connection issues or even lag, try to play with people from your region. The pings are low and lags should be kept at a minimum. Still, in our experience, connection errors still happen from time to time. At the point of this review, Nintendo has not addressed these issues with a patch.

Final words about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch

If you’ve already played Mario Kart 8 on Wii U or are completely new to the experience, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch has something to offer for everyone.

The revamped battle mode will give veterans enjoyment they haven’t felt before; novice players will be able to experience this fabulous racing game in all its glory, starting with the singleplayer campaign and making their way through 50cc, 100cc, 150cc and 200cc, before they tip their toes in the online multiplayer madness Mario Kart is known for.

DeveloperNintendo EPD
ReleaseApril 28th, 2017 (PAL, NA, JP)
ModeSingle- & Multiplayer
 Price€59.99, $59.99, ¥5,980
Undocked playtime3.5h1

  1. 75 % sound, 65 % brightness