When it comes to Nintendo, the one series that will always stand out is Mario Kart. It’s a series that will always live on as long as Nintendo is about and creating games.
Mario Kart 8 was originally released on the Wii U with a couple of DLC tracks, drivers, and cars. This has now been put together in one big release and brought to the Nintendo Switch with all the content and DLC that was released on the Wii U.
I originally reviewed the game on Wii U and loved it, the game received a solid 9/10, so what has changed since then, and how does the game hold up on the Switch?
For me, not much has changed with this except the addition of tracks, racers and cars etc, the game still has the same amazing feel to it, the way it plays is top class and has the high standards that you would expect from a Nintendo first party game. It feels smooth when driving and drifting around corners and the boosts from this give you a real kick and can be the difference between first and second or eleventh and twelfth.
The whole experience that you get from the game from the Menu to getting into a race is flawless in my opinion. It’s quick, easy and you’re racing in under a minute for the single player experiences.
With online it can be a little longer, however, this is usually because you’re having to wait for a race to finish. What I love about this though, is that you can watch any races in progress and don’t just get a boring loading screen while you wait. It kind of keeps your mind busy still and not just zone out while waiting for the game. There is something there to keep your attention, which for me helped with keeping my concentration levels up…. Not that it helped in the races mind! Hah!
The online experience as well is smooth, I’ve not had one disconnect from a game, no stuttering/framerate issues and all players have been playing smooth as well and not jumping about.
How does the game feel to play on the Switch, I hear you say! The game feels wonderful, regardless of the mode that you’re playing in. I’ve sat for hours playing in handheld mode with no discomfort issues, and I’ve also played with the standard controller on TV and the game has still been the same awesome racer to play.
The battery life for the Switch while playing Mario Kart as well lasted between 4 and 5 hours, which I thought was good as you only get around 3 hours when playing Zelda.
One of the most impressive things is how good the tracks look, and again in both handheld and TV mode, the crispness and detail in the tracks are simply superb. The lighting as well just adds to the beauty of the tracks.
While we’re speaking of the tracks, the overall design of them again is brilliant. There are tracks that have been remastered from older games, and some which have been designed for specifically for Mario Kart 8. Each design is wonderfully done in its own way and each provides their own challenges.
There were a couple of bugbears with the game that let is down slightly. One of those is the inconsistency of the alerts when it comes to red shells. Sometimes it will give you plenty of warning and other times there is none whatsoever. It makes me wonder if it has something to do with the design of the tracks, but I have to admit I never had the issue when playing the Wii U version.
Another issue is that the auto steering system that has been implemented can get a bit annoying. There are certain ‘Short cuts’ that I know in certain tracks that when I went to take them, it would direct me back to the ’official’ route. It was only when I noticed in the pause menu that it was there, that I realised what was happening, and since switching off everything has been fine.
There are hours of fun to be had with this upgraded version of Mario Kart 8, plenty to do with different races, different speeds, online play and lots of fun to be had. Online play also brings a brilliant competitiveness that adds some tough and challenging races to be had.
I would very much recommend this game to anyone with a Nintendo Switch. It’s well worth the money, especially as it is packed with all the content and more from the Wii U Version.