Mario Kart 8’s new tracks are a basic addition to one of Nintendo’s all-time greats
Nintendo has launched the primary eight of 48 new tracks coming to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as a part of its Booster Course Cross DLC. It’s an formidable launch technique that may ultimately see it double the variety of programs within the sport to a formidable 96 in complete by the top of subsequent yr. Nintendo won’t be referring to those new releases as Mario Kart 9, however 5 years after the discharge of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — and virtually eight years after Mario Kart 8 initially debuted on the Wii U — it’s arduous to not hope that they could successfully function a sequel.
Whereas new to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, none of those tracks are model new. Very like roughly half of the sport’s unique 48 programs, they’re remasters from earlier Mario Kart video games. There’s one every from its entries on the Nintendo 64, Wii, GBA, DS, and 3DS, and three from Mario Kart Tour, the free-to-play smartphone entry within the collection developed by DeNA.
Though there are a variety of new tracks on the way in which, the basics of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe stay unchanged since 2017. The brand new programs are neatly built-in into the present interface, permitting you to scroll up from the choice display screen to disclose what’s going to ultimately be 12 new cups to race by way of, every with 4 areas apiece. For now, solely the primary two cups can be found — the Golden Sprint Cup and Fortunate Cat Cup. However past the brand new programs, Nintendo hasn’t introduced every other new additions to the sport which might be on the way in which. There aren’t any new characters, karts, or sooner racing speeds like we noticed with Mario Kart 8’s downloadable content material on the Wii U.
In case you method this new DLC anticipating it to behave as a stand-in for a brand new numbered entry within the collection, I believe you’ll be dissatisfied, and given your entire 48-track assortment prices simply $24.99 in comparison with the $59.99 Nintendo continues to cost for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you in all probability shouldn’t count on it to. However nonetheless, it’s arduous to not play these preliminary eight programs and see they don’t hit the identical highs as the unique sport. There’s nothing that matches the size of Shy Man Falls or Mario Kart 8’s Rainbow Highway, the number of Mount Wario, the spectacle of Electrodome, or the sheer brain-melting three-dimensionality of Mario Circuit.
Moreso than the remastered tracks discovered within the unique Mario Kart 8 — which augmented their unique designs with components like anti-gravity and underwater driving from newer entries — these eight new additions really feel very trustworthy to the programs they’re primarily based on. You received’t end up abruptly racing up 90-degree angle due to anti-gravity pads on the Nintendo 64’s Choco Mountain or plunged underwater within the Wii’s Coconut Mall.
This faithfulness extends to the look of those new areas, which aren’t as detailed because the remasters Nintendo shipped within the unique sport. For instance, Ribbon Highway and Sky Backyard are each programs that initially appeared on the Recreation Boy Advance, however the former shipped as considered one of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s inventory tracks, whereas the latter was launched final week as a part of this new DLC. Neither of them seems to be like they date again to a two-decade-old handheld system, however the newly launched Sky Backyard simply isn’t teeming with element like Ribbon Highway was. It’s virtually as if one has been utterly remade, whereas the opposite has gone by way of a extra easy remastering.
That’s to not say there aren’t extra delicate delights to be discovered right here. Paris Promenade (a monitor initially launched for Mario Kart Tour) has shortly become a brand new favourite of mine, serenading you with an accordion as you slide across the course. And on its third lap, it sends you again on your self to race the course in reverse, resulting in an inevitably frantic couple of seconds the place different racers abruptly change into oncoming visitors.
Ninja Hideaway (additionally from Tour) is one other spotlight, with a dual-layered design that offers you the selection of racing by way of the constructing’s floor ground or rafters. The bottom ground is less complicated, however the rafters have the potential to supply a respite from the chaos erupting down under, in addition to the danger of unceremoniously plummeting down as you lose your footing round considered one of its many precarious right-angled turns. I really like the energetic soundtrack, to not point out the Shy Guys that disappear midway around the monitor and depart slick bananas of their wake.
My favourite of the brand new tracks is Shroom Ridge, a dense, tightly winding mountaintop circuit full of visitors to keep away from. Not hitting its automobiles looks like threading a fast-moving needle, however the reward is an countless drift, which typically feels extra Ridge Racer than Mario Kart. One other, Tokyo Blur, additionally feels infused with a little bit of that Namco racing magic, though to me, it feels a bit too broad and open to encourage the form of chaos the place Mario Kart thrives.
Elsewhere, a few of the new programs really feel extra primary, and I can’t see them turning into a part of many individuals’s common roster. A lot as I really like the enormous Toads floating above Toad Circuit (initially discovered on the 3DS), the monitor itself is principally a flat, boring figure-eight circuit. And Recreation Boy Advance location Sky Backyard feels an excessive amount of like a retread of Cloudtop Cruise to actually provide something new.
Coconut Mall and Choco Mountain are strong additions however can really feel like they’re repeating components which have already been completed higher in Mario Kart 8’s current programs. Regardless of debuting in an earlier sport, the N64’s Choco Mountain looks like a simplified tackle Grumble Volcano, whereas Coconut Mall looks like a mixture of Sunshine Airport and Tremendous Bell Subway. The mall’s reversing escalators are a enjoyable, difficult addition, however the total monitor is on the less complicated facet.
Given studies that this yr could have seen the discharge of a full-on Mario Kart 9, it was initially tempting to see Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s 48 new programs as precisely that; a model new Mario Kart sport disguised as DLC. However these first eight additions are extra restricted in scope than what you’d count on to see from a brand new numbered entry within the collection. They’re enjoyable, and I believe a couple of of them will change into in style with a few of the 40 million-plus Change homeowners who’ve purchased Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, however their high quality can’t match the sport’s unique content material.
However at a value of simply $24.99 — or free for those who’re a subscriber to Nintendo’s premium Change On-line + Growth Pack tier — these new DLC programs don’t must match the standard of the sport’s unique tracks to be a great deal. Shopping for them is a no brainer for those who’re nonetheless taking part in the occasional spherical of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. However in 2022, half a decade on from the final substantial addition to Mario Kart’s roster, it’s arduous to not starvation for one thing extra substantial.