Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — Nintendo’s best ever racer powerslides onto Switch

There are two types of people in the world: those who’ve played Mario Kart 8 already and those who have not.

If you belong to the former group, then take pity on the latter. For they have never conquered Mount Wario, been chilled to the bone by Luigi’s ‘death stare’ and seen first place smashed away from them by an ill-timed blue shell.

OK. Life is a little more complicated than that: some people might not have bought Mario Kart 8’s superb DLC as well, or experienced the high-speed thrills of 200cc mode. Enter, then, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the ultimate edition of this former Wii U racer.

With a whopping 42 characters and 48 courses, it’s a veritable feast of propane-fuelled action that comes with a brand new Battle Mode and several other tweaks for Nintendo Switch. Could anyone resist such a smorgasbord of technicolor delights? Of course not.

TRACKS GALORE

Even though Mario Kart 8 was the Wii U’s best-selling game, that console was far from a commercial phenomenon. So most people who pick up a copy of MK8D are going to be coming to it with an absolute wealth of racing to be getting on with, and boy oh boy are they in for a treat.

MK8 was and is a marked step up from the so-so Mario Kart Wii. Not just because of its vastly superior HD visuals and character animations that bring each chase towards the finish line so deliriously to life. The whole game is that bit more refined and tactile, rewarding the player who can powerslide furthest or manage their items so they don’t get caught out by an errant green shell.

Key to this is the sheer variety of courses Nintendo has cooked up here. From speeding up the water-soaked scenery of Shy Guy Falls to darting between airplane landing gear in Sunshine Airport, you rarely feel as though you’ve seen the same track before in a slightly different guise.

On top of those brand new tracks, there’s a whole host of revamped classics including Yoshi Valley, Baby Park and Tick-Tock Clock. Plus, you get several more offerings based on other games from Nintendo’s vast catalogue such as F-Zero’s Big Blue, The Legend of Zelda’s Hyrule Circuit and Animal Crossing’s… Animal Crossing.

So yeah, that’s quite a lot of racing to be getting on with – either by yourself or with a bunch of friends in tow – and almost all of it is totally brilliant. Especially if you’re playing up to speeds of 150cc, i.e. the ones that were originally included in Mario Kart 8. The top 200cc speed, which was added in post-release, is enjoyably challenging but sees you bombarded with a near-constant array of weaponry and breaks some courses by seeing you glide through ferris wheels and finish line signs.

Also, we’re morally opposed to a Mario Kart game mode that forces you to use the brake button.

THE SAME, BUT PRETTIER

Of course, if you have already bagged yourself gold cups on all these courses then there is considerably less new stuff to contend with. Nintendo hasn’t cooked up any fresh tracks for MK8D and the only characters of note to arrive in the game are King Boo, Bowser Jr and the Inklings from Splatoon.

Yep, the barrel has been well and scraped for this ‘Deluxe’ edition. You can see that in its superfluous tweaks to racing so that you can now hold two items at once instead of one, grab a pink Ultra-Mini Turbo boost if you drift for long enough and better cater for absolute newbies with a new Smart Steering mode. While none of these changes do anything to spoil the game, they don’t enhance it in any substantial manner either.

An infinitely more significant addition is the Switch’s silky smooth 720p portable mode, which enables you to swerve round Rainbow Road wherever you damned well please. No matter how great the temptation, don’t dip into this thing on your lunchbreak. There is no such thing as ‘one quick go’ at Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

BATTLE MODE ON

Really the best reason to get Mario Kart 8 all over again is for the multiplayer hijinks, and thanks to a revamped Battle Mode a large chunk of these shenanigans will be totally new.

If you know Mario Kart then you’ll know that its Battle Mode has long been a total delight. Until Mario Kart 8, that is, when bespoke, compact battle courses were replaced with sprawling tracks from the main game that were infinitely less fun to contend with. Why? You could tear around a place for ages without actually bumping into an opponent.

That’s all gone out of the window with MK8D, which introduces eight specialised battle courses to play over five modes. Naturally the best of these is Balloon Battle where you aim to protect your precious collection of three inflatables and pop those of your foes, but the new Renegade Roundup is a hoot, too.

Cops and robbers done Mario Kart style it sees you attempting to round up a team of rogue racers or escape from their Piranha Plant-enabled clutches over several frantic minutes. Sounds like a return to form, right? Well, barring a disastrous performance you’d be right in thinking so.

Battle Mode is certainly good fun in local multiplayer with vulgar recriminations soon spewing forth from the moment a balloon is first popped. And while the new courses are all much of a muchness, they do a good job of piling players on top of each other so that chaos is guaranteed.

MARIO KART 8 DELUXE VERDICT

So MK8D in a nutshell? Nintendo’s kept the original’s many good bits and gotten rid of its few missteps. It really is that simple as well.

The only reason Switch owners shouldn’t buy this game is if they’ve already played all of it to death. Anyone who skipped over Mario Kart 8’s DLC will still find plenty that’s new here and the same goes for those who’ve spent the best part of three years aching for a proper Battle Mode.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the same brilliant game as it is ever was, now with an added sprinkle of genius. Job done.

Good

  • Loads of courses and characters
  • New portable mode is great
  • Battle Mode done right

Bad

  • No new courses
  • 200cc Mode can be iffy
9.2

Amazing

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56 Comments

  1. Can you please advice does this phone actually makes out going calls and incoming calls

    Reply
    • This is a tablet and doesn’t have calling capabilities. All that your SIM card will get you is a data connection.

      Reply
      • Ur not thinking if you have a some then ull b able to send a calls and stuff so don’t hate the player hate the game

        Reply
      • Ur not thinking if you have a some then ull b able to send a calls and stuff so don’t hate the player hate the game

        Reply
      • You’re not thinking or using your brain. If you have the sim in the device then you’ll obviously get calls and be able to send them out. I’m sure you ahvent even used the thing I’m and experienced user I’ve got whatapp bbm Skype and I call and receive calls. So please if you want to hate go hate elsewhere.

        Reply
        • Oops,u r very wrong.some devices use sim cards for data means only.some tablets do make n receive calls n some don’t. heban.huh…wife…I don’t want to say much

          Reply
      • Brent, I have just received on and it does have calling capabilities. I am however sending it back because I need a tablet with GPS which this one does not have.

        Reply
    • Yes. I own one as a spare. Data and voice sims work. Main phone Note 4

      Reply
  2. After comparing your comments on the Smart Tab 3G’s UI with the stock Android found on e.g. the Nexus 7, it seems that the issues you have with the drop-down menu and the homescreen button location is a fault with Android – Not specifically Vodacom’s customisation of this device, right? Please clarify.

    Reply
    • It may very well be a fault with Android but if it is then it’s one that we have not seen anywhere else in a single tablet or smartphone since Android 2.3.5 was a thing. Either way, it’s Vodacom’s device. Since everyone else has managed to make their versions of Android avoid this issue…

      Reply
      • does this device work in other countries, Ghana to be precise

        Reply
        • Hi, doesn’t exactely where to ask, will the Vodafone Smart 3 G phone/tab operate fully in Western Australia – Perth on prepaid card from Australia, and also in New Zealand, prepaid card from N.Z., thanks Philip

          Reply
  3. Why is the tablet beıng relesed the 21st of november and not sooner ? I saw one on dısplay Sunday but why is it not for slae yet ? ! It doesnt make sense !!!

    Reply
  4. can you download game for kids on this tablet??

    Reply
    • You can, but just keep an eye on the supported devices for games. Some will very likely be too resource-needy to run on Vodacom’s hardware.

      Reply
  5. Are there software availble to download to enable me to print from my tablet

    Reply
  6. This tab is great, can make phone calls as well as supports whatsapp calling. I got mine on a special 39 rand per month with 500mb per month.

    My only concern is if it will survive my 5 year old’s rough handling for two years. Four months in, at least two falls a day and still going quite strong.

    But it is no top tier tab, but then it still beats playing snake on a Nokia 3110!

    Reply
  7. Can I make calls from vodacom smart tab 3G or uusing it to receive phone calls

    Reply
  8. Can I make calls on a vodacom smart tab 3G? If yes,how?

    Reply
  9. Hope you van help me. My vodacom smart tab 3G doesn’t seem to play my songs and pic’s that’s on my memorycard. Although it play my musicvideos. Please help thanx

    Reply
  10. This phone has many problems.first you have no privacy when making calls and incoming calls..Secondly My files in SD card Jus’s got deleted because I had Used an USB to play my music..I think this phone or tab sucks

    Reply
    • This phone has many problems.first you have no privacy when making calls and incoming calls..Secondly My files in SD card Jus’s got deleted because I had Used an USB to play my music

      Reply
  11. Can anyone just help me how to recover my lost files on NY SD card

    Reply
  12. my tab has stopped working
    the only thing it does is wright powered by android when I set it on , I need your help

    Reply
    • That sounds like an update gone wrong or someone tried to root the device and failed. It’ll have to go to Vodacom and they’ll have to reinstall Android, most likely. It’s also possibly a hardware issue, which they’d also have to sort out.

      Reply
  13. Can u download candy crush on this tab?does it only come in black?

    Reply
    • Yes and yes.

      Reply
  14. Am using Smart tab 3g, Pls help, every time when I take video, tried to open, keep saying no thumbnails, what is this and to get rid of it cause I can’ view my picture and videos

    Reply
    • Got lots of pics but shows no thumbnail

      Reply
  15. I downloaded the screen grabber app on my tab but I can’t use it…please help!

    Reply
  16. The value of this device says it all. One cannot expect much from it. Despite all that, you are connected.

    Reply
  17. Hi! does this device has a gps? —only option in settings is ” location in use”…is that different wording for GPS? .would like to load speedometer apps….

    Reply
  18. When the fone says window limit reached, you must close some windows, when you are on internet, how do you close some windows ?

    Reply
  19. How do you reboot this tab when you can’t even get thru your pin

    Reply
  20. Must I take it to vodacom outlet

    Reply
    • Probably your best option.

      Reply
  21. please help, cnt seem to find the call button.

    Reply
  22. The camera does not show captured photos it writes ‘no thumbnails’. What should I do?

    Reply
  23. would like know what happend to the delivery of my tab which i qaulified for did not received it yet could you please reply

    Reply
  24. How do I fix this no thumbnail problem caused I can’t view my photo s in the gallery

    Reply
  25. What to do when pattern is forgotten? ?

    Reply
    • FIRST SWITCH OFF YOUR PHONE AND WHEN SWITCHING IT ON HOLD THE POWER BUTTON AND UP VOLUME KEY SIMULTENEOUSLY.THEN FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO REBOOT

      Reply
  26. I cannot find certain music from my memory card. Pics too

    Reply
  27. I’m not able to receive incoming calla n my Vodafone smart tab 3G after I backup&reset it in factory reset. How can I fix it to be normal please help, even my drop down right notification bar its not available what is the matter plsssssss help

    Reply
  28. HI I HAVE LOST MY VODAFONE SMART Tab 3G.I WANT TO TRACK IT BUT ITS GOOGLE LOCATION IS OFF ANY IDEA ON HOW I CAN FIND IT?

    Reply
  29. I received a smart tab 3G a few days ago but have encountered a problem which Vodacom Customer Care appear to be stumped as well. I am trying to setup my present email on the tab. after all the info is successfully loaded, instead of synchronizing, it says that the authentication method is not supported by the server. what can this fault be? ? Please help asap..

    Reply
  30. How do you make your own album? Like certain pics in your own folder

    Reply
  31. How can l get the smart phone tablet battery in Lagos Nigeria. Do u have a store outlets here ?

    Reply
  32. This phone has many problems.first you have no privacy when making calls and incoming calls..Secondly My files in SD card Jus’s got deleted because I had Used an USB to play my music

    Reply
  33. I have always been able to play games on my vodacom 3g smart tab, including candy crush, diamond digger, farm heros saga and had whatsapp. Now suddenly it either opens the game to the main screen then just goes out or it just stops and goes out of the games in the middle of playing. I deceided to do a factory reset. It did not help and now i am also unable to download whatsapp again. Please help. All i can do on this thing now is browse and facebook

    Reply
  34. I have a voda smart tablet 2 3 g and it says memory card missing. What are all the issues about the memory card as I really need it I have a 4 memory card. I’m still new to the tablet

    Reply
  35. i have vodafone smart tab 3g when enter unsuported sim card it say emergency and it not come the place of inter code how i will unlock

    Reply
  36. How long does this device take to charge after purchase ?

    Reply
  37. Is there a way of making the wallpaper stay still… Cause when I put a wallpaper it shifts whae I swip .

    Can someone reply

    Reply

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