You’ll be hard-pressed to find a single person in the UK that doesn’t in some way have a connection to Mario Kart.
Whether it’s you yourself, or friends or family, everyone knows someone that owned the game.
Fantastically easy to pick up and yet devilishly hard to master the game is in many ways Nintendo’s jewel in the crown.
It is the ultimate social game allowing even the most rookie player a chance of victory over a seasoned pro. It is fitting then that Nintendo’s most social game has finally launched on what is easily the world’s most social games console, the Nintendo Switch.
For those of you that didn’t get a chance to play Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U it was quite simply a must-buy game.
Beautiful visuals, flawless mechanics and a dizzying collection of beautifully created tracks meant that it was the definitive Mario Kart experience thus far.
What you’re getting here with Deluxe is the same levels of technical fit and finish but specifically designed for the Switch.
Those same stunning visuals now looking even better on the Switch’s display. The same technical quality which means no bugs, quick loading times and ultra-smooth gameplay.
Unlike Mario Kart 8, Deluxe has all its tracks and characters unlocked from the start. Instead the only items you’ll be unlocking are car parts.
This was a genius move. It takes away all the barriers needed to get you playing straight away yet still leaves you with some highly-attainable goals.
In addition to all of Mario Kart 8’s content, Deluxe adds in some new characters from Splatoon as well as some new parts and a map for good measure. It’s a small addition but nice to see.
Finally, Deluxe comes with a new-and-improved version of the incredibly unpopular Battle Mode that first made an appearance on Mario Kart 8.
New-and-improved is an understatement. This is a complete reworking from the ground up.
There are now eight custom battle arenas and five game modes: Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners and Shine Thief.
Bob-omb Blast, which is simply a bomb-exclusive fight to the death is potentially the weakest, simply because there’s very little depth to it.
Shine Thief however is immense fun. You must take the golden Shine Sprite and then hold onto it until the timer runs out. Any hit from another person’s weapon will make you drop it. Oh and if that wasn’t bad enough, you’re really really slow.
What results is hide and seek, but with giant exploding turtle shells.
What pushes Deluxe into the next level though isn’t the Battle Mode, it’s the Nintendo Switch.
Released to fantastic levels of hype, the Switch promised us a social gaming experience that brought those split-screen days playing Goldeneye in front of a tiny TV into the modern era.
With detachable JoyCons that can be turned into two separate controllers and an ability to wirelessly pair with up to 7 other Switch consoles it felt like it was a gaming experience that would bring us all back together.
So did this revolution happen? No, because in true Nintendo fashion none of their launch titles really took full advantage of the Switch’s greatest feature.
Sure there was Bomberman (which cost a fortune) and Snipperclips, but neither fulfilled the Switch’s full potential.
Mario Kart on the other hand was made for this, and the Switch was made for Mario Kart.
There is no greater joy than either playing two-player anywhere you want using the two JoyCons or wirelessly pairing you and your friends’ Switch consoles. It frees Mario Kart from the confines of the living room and it’s in these new environments (parks, trains, long car journeys) that Mario Kart and the Switch feel like a match made in heaven.
Zelda was a remarkable game, but it was an odd launch title because it never took full advantage of the Switch’s greatest attributes. Instead Mario Kart breathes genuine life into the console and finally starts to justify the Switch’s existence.
Who should buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?
If you own a Nintendo Switch, then everyone. It’s really that simple.
Who shouldn’t buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?
People who don’t own a Nintendo Switch and people who are still obsessively playing Zelda. Honestly, that’s about it.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is available on Nintendo Switch for £41.99.