The first DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe since 2014 doesn’t let players down.
For the first time since the Wii U’s inception in 2014, Nintendo has released more content for Mario Kart Booster Course Pass, the game’s first DLC since then.
Even if none of the eight new songs make my top 10, it’s still exciting to watch the game continue to grow long after I imagined Nintendo had abandoned interest.
To refresh your memory, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s already generous supply of 96 courses is now doubled to 48 if you purchase the first chunk of DLC today. If you’re in the UK, you can still get the remaining 40 songs for £15.95 when they’re released in future packs throughout the year.
Golden Dash and Lucky Cup are two of the new cups in the initial batch, each with four tracks.
A look at the new circuits in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booter Course Wave 1
In my normal rule, I don’t mess about with downloads after 11pm UK time, so I wasn’t going to start playing the tunes straight away. When a smoke alarm went off at 10:30 a.m., I and my partner decided to give it a go straight immediately.
Only pressing the right bumper on the track selection screen sent the game into a new second page, where you’re presented with the grid of Booster tracks. The game had quietly changed before to this. Interestingly, most of these are now unfilled until 2022.
This includes Paris Promenade, Tokyo Blur, and Ninja Hideaway, which is unfortunate. Although the Eiffel Tower can be seen in the picture below, the real-world sites don’t quite fit in with Mario Kart’s cartoony universe, and there are barriers in place to prevent you from straying too far off course.
Ninja Hideaway, on the other hand, has a lot more going for it artistically and in terms of traps and shortcuts. Despite this, one can’t help but believe that mobile Mario Kart courses aren’t as creative as the old console version.
Fortunately, the next five courses are all re-releases from previous generations of dedicated gaming consoles: one from each of the glorious eras of the Game Boy Advance, N64, DS, 3DS, and Wii incarnations.
When I played on the N64, the hairpin curve on Choco Mountain used to cause me unending anguish as hapless koopers tumbled off one by one. It’s no longer a sentence to the bottom of the heap that it used to be if you fall off the waggon today: you’re almost immediately back to the course.
If you’re looking for an earworm-inducing soundtrack that will stay in your head, Coconut Mall from the Wii is the best option. If you’re looking for the type of multi-level marvel and sugar rush that Mario Kart accomplishes so brilliantly, you’ll get it here.
Most of the rest of the album’s songs are of a similar calibre. Shroom Ridge is reminiscent to Toad’s Turnpike, whereas Toad Circuit on the 3DS is more of a straight-up racing circuit in the Mario Circuit mould. Sky Garden’s dependence on bouncy bounce cushions is sure to divide opinion, but at the very least, it’s a shift.
There is one top-tier track, five mid-range courses, and two inferior courses in the first wave of Mario Kart DLC. Has your investment paid off? Especially when Nintendo is only charging $24.99 for all of them, and we’re anticipating at least another 40. I, for one, am willing to put up with a few missteps in the face of this type of generosity.