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Nintendo Switch in stock at GameStop, but get ready to shell out

20 April 2017, 04:12 | Jodi Jackson

Image Google Screenshot

Image Google Screenshot

If you, like me, were too cheap to buy the downloadable content for the original release, you can finally check it all out here. I didn't notice much of a difference, but the original Mario Kart 8 was one of the Wii U's prettiest games so I wasn't necessarily expecting a big graphical bump in its arrival on Switch (which, by most reports, is only marginally more powerful than Nintendo's previous console).

The only other changes I noticed between the Deluxe edition and the original were the addition of a "smart" steering feature for younger players who may have trouble keeping their karts on the track, and, on the other side of the difficulty curve, a surprisingly challenging 200cc mode that saw both my daughter and I coming in dead last in nearly every race.

One of the popular speed techniques found in an earlier "Mario Kart" version will not be available in "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe". Deluxe adds a few extras to that, with the return of King Boo and Bowser Jr., as well as the addition of Splatoon's Inkling Boy and Girl.

By far, the biggest addition is bringing back Battle Mode. It's not an overhaul of the traditional MK8 formula, but Nintendo has shown they are open to improving a classic. Instead of racing, you would gather items and try to take out as many racers as possible, either hoping to get the most points or be the last one standing.

The big changes to gameplay are that you can now hold two items at the same time, giving you a backup when you fire a salvo.

200cc is also mentioned, though that was added to the Wii U version as free DLC, along with the new Smart Steering feature that will make the game easier for beginnings if they use this feature. In most Mario Kart games, you could fight other players in levels made specifically for fighting. Every character is unlocked from the start, as are all of the courses. That's 48 tracks, eight multiplayer arenas and 42 characters you can race as. We mentioned the JoyCon de-syncing issue in our original hardware review of the Switch, and Deluxe is the game that suffers most from the dodgy controller connections because of how heavily you rely on that left analog stick.

With so many options and combinations, players will have a fun time mixing and matching until they find the ideal combination that works for them. It was bad enough when used with others in the same room.

It now comprises five different games, of which the newest, Renegade Roundup, also happens to be the best. The series has always been about competitive, addictive fun, and Deluxe has all that and more. Pop the Switch into its dock, and the game outputs an even more handsome 1080p. If you own a Nintendo Switch, you would be mad not to buy a copy. Alternatively, eight Switches can hook up wirelessly for more friends to play.

If you don't own or have never played Mario Kart 8 before, picking up this Deluxe edition for Switch is pretty much a no-brainer. Up to 12 players can pick between races or Battle Mode online, but it feels stuck in Wii U territory. Besides that, and some minor tweaks to gameplay, this is the same fantastic game you may have (read: should have) played three years ago.

Speaking of which, Battle Mode also got a huge improvement in terms of the race tracks that players have access to. It's how it should've been designed the first time.

The release for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is next Friday, April 28, so Nintendo is getting a jump on that release by releasing a new trailer for the game.

Online play worked flawlessly prior to release, which shouldn't be a surprise as it's functionally identical to the Wii U version. Graphically, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is superb - the original looked fabulous, but on the Switch, it's even crisper, with much better textures - which won't leave you thinking that the Switch is underpowered (not that that matters a jot).

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