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May 1, 2017

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?

Back in May of 2014, Nintendo released Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, which was met with critical acclaim, gaining high scores from magazines and web sites around the globe.  Now, three years later, Nintendo releases the same game with enhancements and additions and again sells like mad (over 450,000 copies in the first day).  The big question everyone will ask is, "Is this worth it if I already  have the Wii U version?" or "is this worth buying for my Switch?".  The answer is a very easy and quick, "Yes!".

The Mario Kart franchise has enjoyed a lot of success, and it's well deserved.  The gameplay is fast and frantic, but colorful and delightful with the world of Nintendo characters racing and battling it out.  This is easily one of the greatest arcade racers ever, and on the Switch, Nintendo added enough in the way of extras to make this version the best Mario Kart available.

All but one of the racers (Metal Mario) is opened up from the start.

So what does the Switch version add that the Wii U version doestn't?  Well, first of all, you get all the downloadable content (DLC) from the Wii U version, and along with the DLC, you get all the characters opened up from the start with all tracks available to race right away.  Nintendo also added the ability to play split screen on the switch with support for up to four players (yes, it's small, but it works!).  They also added a battle mode that the Wii U version didn't have.  Online seems to work good (I just got destroyed testing it out).  The online works well as long as you got a good wifi going, but if you don't and you have multiple switches, it supports local play between switches (up to eight switches can compete). The controllers for the Switch are able to be used by taking each side off the system or joy con grip and using the halves as a separate controller.  It works extremely well.  Four player split screen on the Switch is small, but totally works.

The game has split screen for up to four players, even when playing on the switch not connected to the TV.  And, it works!

If you've never played a Mario Kart before, I'd say either get this version, or find the Nintendo64 version to play (loved that one!).  The game is easy to learn, and will provide hours upon hours of enjoyment racing your favorite Nintendo characters around a multitude of tracks hurling shells (green ones just go in the direction you shoot them, red ones are homing, blue ones travel up to the first place guy) at each other and getting other power ups from speed boosts to invincibility and a bunch of others to hinder your opponent or give yourself that boost you need to catch up.

Battle mode has you trying to pop your opponent's balloons.  Think of the Balloons as lives.

The tracks are amazingly designed and are bright and colorful with the usual Nintendo music playing for the race.  If you find yourself in last place, you'll get the best power ups, and if you're in first place, you better hope the finish line is coming soon, because this game tries hard to equalize the playing field and make every race close.

Basically, if you own a Switch, you owe it to yourself to own this game.  Mario Kart has always been one of the best multiplayer games around, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best Mario Kart ever made.  If you don't own a Switch, this is actually a really good reason to get one.  

I know a lot of people haven't been able to find a Switch yet, but that is just a testament of how well this system is selling.  Nintendo has sold over 2 million units in the first month and is trying to meet demand by flying more product here (rather than shipping it by boat), so there will be systems soon. 

Bottom Line:  The best version of Mario Kart, and it's well worth getting, even if you've  played the Wii U version already.  This is a system seller.




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