The nine year kart race - a Mario Kart 8 retrospective

murya.png

Releasing just last week, the fourth wave of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s £22.49 Booster Course Pass became available to download, increasing the game’s already-series high course count from 72 to 80. With this putting us past the halfway point of the announced courses, I thought this might be a nice opportunity to have a look at how far Mario Kart 8 has come since its 2014 Wii U release, and see what kind of value the DLC offers to both those subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online’s higher tier and those not.



mk1.jpg

A delightfully familar title screen I've been looking at for a few too many years.


To give a quick history lesson to those who perhaps started with the Deluxe edition on Switch, Mario Kart 8 originally launched on the Wii U in May of 2014 and went on to be the console’s best-selling title by a significant margin, beating out its closest competitor Super Mario 3D World by almost three million units. In its launch state, much of what you see on the Switch was present. Coming from Mario Kart 7’s gliders and underwater driving, Mario Kart 8 added anti-gravity sections to the mix. What was nice here is that it didn’t really do away with any of Mario Kart 7’s main features, instead adding to them with a layer of polish you’ve likely come to expect from the series. The game launched with eight cups, which has been the standard since Mario Kart DS, splitting the courses between 16 new and 16 returning. These returning courses did see a really nice face lift, with many of them getting anti-gravity sections added on top of the graphical improvements you’d otherwise expect.

For those not playing online, your draw to replayability was collecting coins, which would then go onto unlock car parts for you to pick between when going back to courses. Mario Kart 8 went on to make series history when it released several sets of DLC between August of 2014 and April of 2015. Starting out with a free Mercedes Benz collaboration (no really, this was the first piece of DLC in Mario Kart history), we then got two more Nintendo-themed collaboration packs in the form of a paid DLC featuring The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing. Each of these packs cost £7 apiece, or £11 if bought together, and came with two new cups and three new characters to enjoy. On top of these, we also saw a free update releasing alongside the second DLC pack. This introduced another series-first in the 200cc setting, which ended up being quite divisive in the community due to people not having used the B button before in their 20 years of playing the games. While divisive, this new level of speed offered players an entirely new way of playing the now-48 strong track list, and gave them a reason to replay older cups alongside those that were freshly added.

Mario Kart 8 wasn’t perfect, but to me was certainly a new high for the series, doing more than enough to earn its spot as the Wii U’s best seller. How does that translate to the Switch though? You shouldn’t be surprised to know that it’s also the best selling game here, and that it’s outsold its Wii U counterpart six times over. What did it add to make it worth buying just three years after its original release? Was it just a port to free it from the acursed shackles of the Wii U? It was kind of that, but there were a few changes to mix things up, and they really were appreciated.



vrrrr.jpg

Oh baby that Merc looks just as good on the Switch.



So what did we get? Naturally you got the base Mario Kart 8 experience, as well as all the DLC released to-date. That includes your Zelda and Animal Crossing packs, but more importantly, the Mercedes Benz collaboration. You also got 200cc right out of the gate and a few new characters, including my personal favourite Inkling Girl. It's a bit of a shame we never saw a full Splatoon track to come in with them, but we did get some of the game's multiplayer action, along with an associated map, with a new battle mode. While I do say new, it was a fairly standard affair for the series that was absent in the Wii U game.

Mechanically-speaking, there was one big change, and it's genuinely quite hard to go back to older Mario Kart games having experienced it: purple drift boosts. It's a simple concept for those familiar with drifting in Mario Kart. The longer you hold your drift, the better boost you get. Previously your drift would turn blue for a small boost, then red for a bigger boost... But now we have purple, and boy is that a good boost for those who can hold their drift long enough. It's something that really stands out on 200cc with courses like Mario Circuit and its long turns. Deluxe also brought back the ability to hold two items, which was really great to see after suffering the unique frustrations of Wii U Mario Kart 8's first place coin syndrome.

Outside of these though, and the usual boost to framerate and resolution we're used to seeing between Wii U and Switch, it was basically the same Mario Kart 8 you knew and loved repackaged for the same price as it originally cost. Did it really add enough value to warrant rebuying at full price? It's hard to say, but I'm fairly sure most of the people reading this will have bought it regardless. If nothing else, the game on the Wii U with its gamepad gave you a taste of a truly high fidelity Mario Kart in your hands. Was any fan of the series really going to pass up being able to take it on the go?



mk6.jpg

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes us to... London?


But that was that. For years after its release there really wasn't much to say. Five years in fact. And then out of nowhere, just as fans were anticipating an announcement for Mario Kart 9, Nintendo came out and did it. DLC. And this DLC really was no slouch. Promising 48 additional courses from the series' history, this DLC would effectively serve to double the available content in the game at a cost of half its retail price. In my mind that's a good deal, and it really took a while for the prospect of an official 96 track Mario Kart game to sink in. You're paying around the cost of a cheap app store game for each course (78p if you're curious).

These weren't all being released at once, and I do think that was a good choice. Instead of effectively throwing a game-sized update at us, Nintendo opted to release two new cups at a time over a period of six waves. For a casual player like myself, it keeps me gradually coming back to the game. It works well for a game with so much pick up and play-ability, and I think the model fits far better than something like Monster Hunter Rise's title updates. I don't think Rise has necessarily handled its updates poorly, but it's definitely the type of game where you want to marathon it for a while in oppose to something you can play once and then ignore for a few weeks. Alongside these waves of DLC, Nintendo have also taken the opportunity to drop updates for the game to add features like item selection for multiplayer games, which is especially nice to see when you consider these updates are available to people regardless of whether they bought the DLC.



mk2.jpg

That's a suspicious ramp in the desert...


In terms of the actual course selection, these were advertised as a full cast of returning tracks, naturally upscaled a bit for the newer generation. I really don't have an issue with this myself. Being able to re-experience some of my favourite tracks in the best Mario Kart engine to date? Damn right I want that. It's also been really interesting to see Mario Kart Tour tracks be added with each wave since they've never seen the light of a console before. I've seen complaints about them lacking in detail when compared to some of the base game's tracks, but to me they're genuinely a breath of fresh air. There's really just more to them when compared to your traditional tracks, and each one feels like a unique experience that I've come to look forward to with each new wave.

What makes the majority of Tour courses different is how they change from lap to lap. You'll see signs changing to point you in new directions and take entirely different routes, taking you through various real-world locations in a really cohesive way that probably wouldn't have been possible with the traditional course layout. We do still see a few older courses have seen similar treatment, with Kalimari Desert now taking you onto the tracks and through the train's tunnel on later laps. With this being a fan favourite, I'm sure I wasn't alone in my wonderment going a direction Lakitu would scold me for in the older games. You're not going to see this kind of evolution in every track, but that's probably for the best. You have a good balance here.



mk5.jpg mk3.jpg
That's a lot of content.


Contrary to what they originally announced, these 48 tracks aren't actually all returning from older game. With wave four having just gone live, we've been graced with not just a new track, but a new character to Mario Kart 8 too in Birdo. Technically we have had one "new" track in previous waves, but these were all Mario Kart Tour tracks that just weren't tagged as such for some reason. I do think these felt more like traditional tracks, with these often being the standouts of their respective wave, but it's still odd. With wave four, Yoshi's Island changes that. It's entirely fresh and boy does it make me want more.

After Birdo's addition too, our character selection screen is sitting with five question marks on it. It'd be nice if we saw some fresh faces to the series and the last two waves ended up being closer to the original DLC of the Wii U version, but I'm not holding out too much hope for this. Even if they are just returning faces like Birdo, it'll be nice to welcome them back.



mk9.jpg

I love seeing the Stilt Guys on the new Yoshi's Island track.


So now we've seen how far Mario Kart 8 has come since its release nine years ago and shared in a bit of nostalgia, a few questions remain. First, is the DLC good value alone? It's a no-brainer in my mind. It's content akin to a new game for half the price of a new game. Obviously it's not an entirely fair comparison, with a new game both bringing new mechanics and perhaps more importantly, a decent assortment of brand new tracks. £22.49 feels right to me for what you're getting, but it does lead me to worry a little for the eventual Mario Kart 9 that has to follow this. Are we going to be expecting 96 tracks going forwards? Are we going to have extended support out of the gate with a launch day season pass? We just don't know yet.

The value of buying the DLC aside, it also needs to be looked at as a part of the higher-tier Nintendo Switch Online subscription. If nothing else Nintendo picked the games to have their DLC included here well, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Animal Crossing New Horizons being number one and two on the best sellers list, and both being games targeted at NSO subscribers. Should these DLC packs be the swing factor in whether you double the cost of your subscription though? That one's really not for me to say. If you're a devout player of just Mario Kart and feel like you won't get any value out of the rest of the expansion pack, you're probably better off just buying the DLC outright and not having to debate a higher subscription cost each year. The expansion pack route probably makes more sense for those invested in the larger first party Nintendo experience, assuming Nintendo keep up this trend of adding first party DLC. With Tears of the Kingdom launching soon, it surprises me to see them not adding Breath of the Wild's DLC to get people back in the mood. Maybe I'm just expecting too much for my money here though, especially given Nintendo's track record with NSO.



mk10.jpg

I leave you folks with a not so difficult to beat 200cc time trial on Tick Tock Clock.



Have you been playing Mario Kart 8 since the Wii U days? Have you been enjoying the new courses, or are you hankering for something more? Let us know below!
 

Goku1992A

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
1,823
Trophies
1
Age
33
XP
2,634
Country
United States
I’m going to speak about something nobody discussed.

All the other Mario Karts you had to get at least a bronze to unlock the next stage. This game they give you all the tracks so more or less it feels like an arcade game.

I like playing online but that’s about it. MK8 is so unbalanced there is no such thing as “fair” in the game.

MK9 would be great they should add achievements and maybe a 250cc but again it’s Nintendo
 
  • Like
Reactions: wiindsurf

Ligeia

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
550
Trophies
0
Age
44
XP
1,318
Country
France
I am not a fan of the reworked tracks like Kalimari Desert and especially N64 Rainbow Road which was butchered. Otherwise I'm glad to see so many tracks added to MK8. But that is an obvious proof to me that no MK9 is on the horizon.

I recently finally learnt how to play on 200cc, and boy does that change everything ! That was a great addition that makes you completely rediscover the game.
 

PopcornSweetie

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2022
Messages
297
Trophies
0
Location
New York
XP
1,085
Country
United States
As someone who played every game in the series (including the arcade games, except Mario Kart Arcade GP VR & Mario Kart: Home Circuit) i can say MK8/MK8D are very fun games. A lot of my favorite courses are in there: (Shroom Ridge, Coconut Mall, Waluigi Pinball, Waluigi Stadium, Mushroom Gorge, Snow Land, Ribbon Road, Cheese Land, Amsterdam Drift, Maple Treeway, Sky Garden, 3DS Rainbow Road, N64 Rainbow Road, Piranha Plant Slide, DS Mario Circuit, Kalimari Desert) Mario Kart Wii is still my favorite tho and one i still play online using Wiimmfi today! (Yes, i also played on WFC)

Almost every character, that are my favorites are in (Bowser jr., Dry Bones, Gold/Metal Mario, Shy Guy, Dry Bowser, although... Funky Kong, Petey Piranha and Paratroopa are still missing..)

Overal, i think MK8/MK8D are good games, Wii is still my favorite tho. But this is a close first.
 

Dust2dust

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
2,445
Trophies
2
XP
4,463
Country
Canada
I am willing to bet that MK9 will be a launch title for the New Switch.

The final DLC for MK8 ends at the end of this year, it coincide with the launch of the new console and MK9.
"Switch 2" won't release in 2024. Earliest, I would say, is spring 2025. Nintendo will let all the MK8 DLCs sell as much as possible before thinking of releasing MK9. Besides, after a year of no new tracks, people will be hungry for MK9. As a launch game, it will probably sell at a 1-1 ratio with the sales of the new console.
 

Marc_LFD

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
5,724
Trophies
1
Age
34
XP
9,251
Country
United States
Unless you count Tour, this means we really haven't gotten a new, original Mario Kart in almost a decade. DS to Wii was three years. Wii to 7 was three years, and 7 to 8 was three years. If you look at this release timeline, we're missing 3 Mario Kart games :cry:
You know how GTA fans feel now.

GTA 6? Oh, wait another re-release of GTA 5 with better graphics... Yay!
 

duwen

Old Man Toad
Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2013
Messages
3,211
Trophies
2
Location
Bullet Hell
Website
www.exophase.com
XP
4,342
Country
United Kingdom
Milking this one itteration of the game would be all well and good if it were the best version of the game, but unfortunately it always felt like one of the most 'dumbed down' entries in the franchise to me (along with the Wii entry in the series)... I still like it a lot, but it's no Double Dash and it's not even close to having the amount of quality content of the community effort known as CTGP7.
 

Deleted member 194275

Edson Arantes do Nascimento
Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
2,685
Trophies
2
XP
4,351
I’m going to speak about something nobody discussed.

All the other Mario Karts you had to get at least a bronze to unlock the next stage. This game they give you all the tracks so more or less it feels like an arcade game.
The original Mario Kart 8 do unlock stuff as you go, just like the others. Mario Kart 8 deluxe is the one that came with everything unlocked (but the car parts), I guess because it was a re-release.

That said, a sense of progression would be awesome in a future mario kart game, I'm with you on that one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marc_LFD

InsaneNutter

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Messages
1,083
Trophies
2
Age
37
Location
Yorkshire, UK
Website
digiex.net
XP
3,223
Country
Milking this one itteration of the game would be all well and good if it were the best version of the game, but unfortunately it always felt like one of the most 'dumbed down' entries in the franchise to me (along with the Wii entry in the series)... I still like it a lot, but it's no Double Dash and it's not even close to having the amount of quality content of the community effort known as CTGP7.

Totally agree, I never felt Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8 ever came close to Double Dash. That really was peak Mario Kart.

I would love to see more of my favourite tracks from Double Dash come to the Switch, DK Mountain and Dino Dino Jungle especially. Daisy Cruiser would be a great addition also.

Mario Kart 8 is not bad, I've enjoyed playing this with friends over the years. However we pretty much all agree Double Dash is the better game and have had more fun going back and playing that on the Wii U via Nintendont.
 

Deleted member 194275

Edson Arantes do Nascimento
Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
2,685
Trophies
2
XP
4,351
I am willing to bet that MK9 will be a launch title for the New Switch.

The final DLC for MK8 ends at the end of this year, it coincide with the launch of the new console and MK9.
YouTubers do lie for clicks. The switch sucessor is not coming at least until march 31st 2024. That's what the financial data says out and loud.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marc_LFD

Marc_LFD

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
5,724
Trophies
1
Age
34
XP
9,251
Country
United States
YouTubers do lie for clicks. The switch sucessor is not coming at least until march 31st 2024. That's what the financial data says out and loud.
Makes sense for it to be around 2024.

That's when Microsoft should also announce Windows 12 (hopefully better than 11).
 

Hanafuda

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
4,529
Trophies
2
XP
7,039
Country
United States
Double Dash. That really was peak Mario Kart.


For single player or local multiplayer absolutely. Best challenge against CPU players and endless replay value, if you insist on 1st place for every race and unlocking the parade car before you claim to have "beaten the game."

MK8D online is great though, for now.
 

lordelan

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
5,838
Trophies
1
Age
44
XP
6,625
Country
Germany
It was the reason I bought the Wii U. A friend brought over this console and I was just stunned by the game after playing MK Wii for so many years.
I'm still playing it on both consoles (Wii U/Cemu and Switch) pretty often.
For me I don't know how to make it any better. The graphics are good enough (for me at least) and the gameplay is almost perfect.
It only lacks content. More drivers and even more tracks.
Well the community takes at least care of the tracks with CTGP Deluxe (whenever it gets released). Hope they also find out how to add more drivers (as I hate replacing them).

So do we need a new Mario Kart? I don't. I rather want MK8D to get even more content. Also maybe a story mode or other stuff.

You guys should be aware that if a new MK comes out, it will most likely have way less courses, probably only 48 so MK8D would be superior anyways.
 

duwen

Old Man Toad
Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2013
Messages
3,211
Trophies
2
Location
Bullet Hell
Website
www.exophase.com
XP
4,342
Country
United Kingdom
You guys should be aware that if a new MK comes out, it will most likely have way less courses, probably only 48 so MK8D would be superior anyways.
Double Dash has far fewer courses, characters, and kart options and is still a far superior game imo. MK DS is the only title in the series to follow it that has even come close in terms of the time I invested into it.
Why are people saying it needs a story mode? That's absolute insanity to me!
 

lordelan

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
5,838
Trophies
1
Age
44
XP
6,625
Country
Germany
Double Dash has far fewer courses, characters, and kart options and is still a far superior game imo.
DD is for what it's worth a unique and fun entry and if you like it the most, that's totally fine. I like MK8(D) the most. :)
Why are people saying it needs a story mode? That's absolute insanity to me!
Well I don't need a story mode at all. Just saw someone else mentioned it here. I just meant I'd rather have an already fantastic game (MK8D) get more and more content instead of getting a new game with far less content.
And apart from courses and drivers, content can be modes.
While (as I said) I personally don't care about a story mode, I could think of other funny modes like "Challenges" or mini games.
Like the "how far can you glide" thing from Mario Kart Tour for example. I could see a mode where 4 players start in an arena of (moving) pipes with upstreams of wind and who ever manages to stay in the air the longest, wins.
Or a course with many items on the road and the one who collects as little as possible wins.
Things like that, to spice up the game.
Also where the hell is 200 ccm mirrored?!
 

eyeliner

Has an itch needing to be scratched.
Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
2,900
Trophies
2
Age
44
XP
5,592
Country
Portugal
I would rather just have a new Ridge Racer rather than a Mario Kart that plays like Ridge Racer. Sadly though Bamco have the exact same problem as Nintendo in that there is nothing new they can bring to the series.
Hehehe...
Ridge Racer Unbounded
Muhahahahahaha

And I'm a fan of the series...
 

SuperDan

Im Aware ... Im Unaware
Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2016
Messages
3,478
Trophies
1
Location
Londoner , Living In Louisiana ...
XP
6,505
Country
United States
Yup I've been playing since WIIU Daze... I'm really enjoying the new booster packs! More on the new courses not the London or Berlin city ones so much... It's still a very tight rubber banding racer.. Really enjoying online too on my oled Switch... I guess we won't see another Mario Kart for ages.. But this one is still going strong..!..
 

_TheGuy_

Well-Known Member
Newcomer
Joined
Aug 5, 2021
Messages
49
Trophies
0
XP
141
Country
United States
Yep I still remember buying my Wii U copy of MK8 on Day 1 and having a blast. I also remember Club Nintendo existing at the time, and Nintendo packaged each game with a voucher for 1 free digital game of your choice in the first month it releases. Mario Kart 8 and Wind Waker HD was f'in wild to me.

I don't play much MK8 nowadays unless I have zero clue what to play next. Moved everything, game data and save data, over to Steam Deck so I could still keep my progress around.

I do wonder how MK9 could differentiate it enough to top 8.
 

Nincompoopdo

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
May 20, 2017
Messages
601
Trophies
0
XP
2,712
Country
United States
"Switch 2" won't release in 2024. Earliest, I would say, is spring 2025. Nintendo will let all the MK8 DLCs sell as much as possible before thinking of releasing MK9. Besides, after a year of no new tracks, people will be hungry for MK9. As a launch game, it will probably sell at a 1-1 ratio with the sales of the new console.
It will be like Zelda BotW - available for old and new console. It's even more important for MK9 as you need more players for online play - the existing Switch user base will help greatly. The draw of course will be higher res and better graphics for the New Switch.
 

Site & Scene News

Popular threads in this forum

General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • BigOnYa @ BigOnYa:
    I'd rather spend like $150 more for a surround receiver.
  • K3Nv2 @ K3Nv2:
    I bought the game at launch never fucked with it until recently
  • BigOnYa @ BigOnYa:
    Its fun, I like it, even tho I'm not a big harry potter fan. Like a wizard rpg. Flying around on a broomstick is cool.
  • K3Nv2 @ K3Nv2:
    Flying sucks ass on it
  • BigOnYa @ BigOnYa:
    Nuh just takes a min to get used to. I think you can upgrade or buy new broomstick also that are better.
    +1
  • K3Nv2 @ K3Nv2:
    I weirdly like inverted controls on all flying type games
  • BigOnYa @ BigOnYa:
    Prob can change it, inverted flying controls.
  • K3Nv2 @ K3Nv2:
    Only thing that annoys me is trying to find wtf to do in it
    +1
  • BigOnYa @ BigOnYa:
    Alright off to the store, later gators.
    +1
  • K3Nv2 @ K3Nv2:
    Some places amaze me were not in network with your insurance would you still like an appointment
    +1
  • AncientBoi @ AncientBoi:
    uhhh, I think I'll just stick with my PSP 3001
  • AncientBoi @ AncientBoi:
    lol, Now I gotta go to the store for more Coffee Mate n other stuff.
  • Xdqwerty @ Xdqwerty:
    i downloaded final fantasy vii into my tv stick
  • Xdqwerty @ Xdqwerty:
    i mean, the game was already there but its the japanese version
  • Xdqwerty @ Xdqwerty:
    and i only downloaded disc 1 so far bc of storage stuff
  • Psionic Roshambo @ Psionic Roshambo:
    @BigOnYa, yeah the patty on McDs burger is 1/10th of a pound now and I think that's the pre cooked weight lol
  • Psionic Roshambo @ Psionic Roshambo:
    I use the app for the 20% off coupon and it's still over priced
  • Xdqwerty @ Xdqwerty:
    @Psionic Roshambo, why is mcdonalds overpriced if their food is bad?
  • Xdqwerty @ Xdqwerty:
    i mean why is mcdonalds food overpriced
  • Psionic Roshambo @ Psionic Roshambo:
    Inflation and greed
    +1
  • ZeroT21 @ ZeroT21:
    it's just fries, make 'em at home
    +2
  • Psionic Roshambo @ Psionic Roshambo:
    I make potato wedges at home with spices and stuff lol
    Psionic Roshambo @ Psionic Roshambo: I make potato wedges at home with spices and stuff lol