Backlog Slog – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Okay. I have not played a Mario Kart title in a very long time. The last one I played was Double Dash for the Gamecube in 2003. The last Mario Kart I actually owned was Mario Kart 64, released in 1996. It was a second hand copy, one of the first games I received for my Nintendo 64. So, when I bought Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on a whim, I had very little idea of what I was in for, and in talking about it, I might mention a lot of features that are new to me but may have been in past Mario Kart games. So bare with me for a minute, here.

Mario Kart 8 was originally released for the Wii U in 2014 to the joy of all 6 owners of a Wii U. So, naturally, like a lot of Wii U games, when the Switch came out an updated port was released. This is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, released in 2017. From what I’ve read, it’s the same game, it just happens to include all the DLC, a few new costumes, tweaks to the multiplayer mode, that kind of thing.

So. Here’s my experience so far.

I load the game up. I’m immediately greeted with the bright colours and sounds I know and love. I decide to have a solo race through the Mushroom Cup, just to re-introduce myself to the game, and I am immediately met with the overwhelming choice of characters. There are so many now. Why are there so many? I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but is it kind of turning into Smash Bros. on wheels? Link is there, and so is the Animal Crossing villager and a few Inklings from Splatoon. This all owns, by the way, I’m not complaining but I am starting to feel myself lament the clear choice of Captain Falcon. But then it really does start turning into Smash Bros. on wheels.

Which would still be awesome, by the way.

Anyway. I choose Link. I figure, that seems fun, why not? Then I’m presented with my next batch of  choices. Apparently you can choose types of karts, wheels and parachutes? Some of the karts are straight up motorbikes? I don’t know what’s happening at this point and how severely my choice is impacted by this, so I just choose what looks coolest.

I do appreciate the choice, though.

Again, I chose the Mushroom Cup but there are so many levels now. Although I do feel I am missing out a little as they’re from previous Mario Kart titles and I have not played many of them, so I’m probably missing out on the nostalgia appeal.

And yet, that’s perfectly fine because the levels are all absolutely gorgeous.

lol jk, there's no flattering angle for Bowser.

Make sure to get the most flattering angle!

I start the race, and before I know it, my totally sick motorbike has transformed itself into some kind of hover thing? I’m racing on walls?? Now I’m underwater??? I don’t know what’s happening anymore but I’m winning, and that’s the important part.

And I’m winning because, at the end of the day, it’s still Mario Kart. Yes, of course the AI is easy, but that’s not what I’m getting at. What I’m saying is, despite all the bells and whistles, it’s still a game I spent hours on as a kid and the controls and gameplay has changed very little over time. I could pick it up and play it, knowing exactly what to do. Drifting around corners and receiving speed boosts, using items, it’s all the same.

It felt kind of like going to a friends house after a long period of not seeing them, but then finding that friend was now very rich and had an incredibly beautiful home that was like some kind of Wonderland, and also his red shells now seem to lock onto you just as well as blue shells and you’re kind of mad about that, but still in complete awe, so it’s okay.

I haven’t delved into the multiplayer yet, and I have a feeling I would quickly lose that feeling of ‘hey, I’m still good at Mario Kart‘ if I did. But right now, I’m just happy to explore, race, and experiment with every character.

You can be Bowser Jr.

That owns so hard.

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