When we reviewed Mario Kart 8 back around its release on Wii U, it's fair to say that we liked it a lot. Now it's back in a new Deluxe package on the Switch, and Nintendo's flagship racer is in better shape than it has ever been before.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe lands on Nintendo's new console complete with nearly 50 tracks, more than 40 playable characters, loads of interchangeable car parts, fresh and returning modes, and subtle changes that make the game more challenging for the best of the best, and increasingly accessible for newcomers. Notably, it takes advantage of the Switch's unique design, and we enjoyed playing two-player races on the train with the Joy-Con controllers, almost as much as we did playing locally on the big screen, where it looks sharper than ever thanks to crisp 1080p visuals and a steady frame-rate that rests around 60 FPS.
There are new features and additions to tell you about; some subtle and gameplay-enhancing, others adding more variety from a visual/cosmetic perspective. The most impactful addition is that you can now hold two items at once. You can't switch between your items at will, but you can pick up two at a time (be careful, though, as other racers will target the double pickup too) and potentially give yourself two tricks to help you stay ahead of the chasing pack, or, you know, catch up with the leaders. There are also two new items, with the item-stealing Boo in there for races, and a feather that'll help you jump higher in the Battle modes.
In terms of the actual racing, the 200cc mode that dropped as DLC for MK8 is included (in fact, all of the DLC from the original is here, even the Mercedes-Benz one). On top of that, things get even faster thanks to an all-new third tier for boost, so sliding around those corners for longer will now get you the pink boost. Those who play at the fastest speeds will have to recalibrate their approach a little to make the most out of this subtle new addition, so there's something there for hardcore fans to contend with, even if it's a relatively minor adjustment in the grand scheme of things.