Over the course of the Holiday season, here at Ready Player Gone we will be bringing you a feature article each day – with a break on every 6th day – in the lead-up to Christmas. Our posts will be split into one of five themes throughout the event and there may even be a competition or two. Today the theme is, Christmas Couch Co-Op. Christmas is a time with family and friends which is a great time to settle disputes while having a bit of fun playing these couch co-op titles. All of these titles will be from the kings of this genre Nintendo, and today I will be taking a look at Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. For the full RPG Christmas line-up, click here!
It’s hard to believe that the most recent Mario Kart game is over 6 years old. Mario Kart 8 released on the Nintendo Wii U in 2014 to absolute critical acclaim. The game had 2 packs of downloadable content available for purchase following its release, the first time ever in the Mario Kart series.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe released on the Nintendo Switch in April of 2017; it included everything the original game had, and is more of a revised, revisited port with some bonus content, as well as the two DLC packs that were released with the original game on the Wii U. The additions to the game were very well received, with players now able to hold 2 items, (bringing back sweet memories of Mario Kart Double Dash on the Gamecube) and also 2 returning items from previous titles in the series. Splatoon Inklings were also included as playable characters, which were not part of any DLC pack on the original Wii U release. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the ultimate Mario Kart experience, having the most content in a game in the series to date.
Mario Kart has never had a compelling story mode, in fact it’s actually quite bare-bones in regards to single player content aside from the main cups. However, we all know that the most fun to be had with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the multiplayer. The game supports online multiplayer and local co-op, the latter being perfectly designed for the Nintendo Switch, particularly as the system comes with 2 controllers.
Me and my girlfriend regularly play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and it is easily one of our favourites to play together. Not a problem with the game, but it can sometimes be frustrating for her as her skill level is somewhere between 100cc & 150cc, and I am used to playing 150cc like it’s easy mode. She has no greater joy than launching a blue shell at me that she has been nurturing for over half of a 3 lap race, just to see me get pummelled right at the last second whilst she cruises past me. She normally is stuck in the mess that is around 8th to 4th place for the duration of the race, and obviously the Mario Kart gameplay mechanics mean anyone struggling will receive better items. When she plays, her goal is to break out of the mid-place mayhem & take over me, and the frustration of this & the sense of accomplishment when she finally does break free is audibly clear.
Most of the comments myself and my girlfriend make whilst playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe aren’t really suitable to write on this article, so I’ll leave it to your imagination, but I promise it’s a lot worse than anything you are thinking right now. I, on the other hand, am usually 1st or 2nd, and I have mastered the use of tactically holding onto green shells & bananas to block any incoming projectiles that she has squeezed through obstacles and racers to hit me. I also have my own goals whilst playing the game though. I constantly try to improve my lap times whether that is by getting a purple drift boost on turns I previously didn’t think possible, or by taking different routes on some of the courses. Obviously there is the occasional blip though like when I get the worst possible ink splat pattern on my screen from a Blooper; I guess time trial mode is more suited for that, but it’s still good fun.
I love the chaos, I love the frantic-ness and I love the absolute randomness to each race and cup. We often play the same old cups again and again as we have favourite courses to race on, like everyone else does I’m sure! The Shell Cup is one, with timeless classic racetracks beautifully remade in HD like Moo Moo Meadows & Toads Turnpike. We also love the all new Crossing Cup, which includes a course based on an Animal Crossing village which could be set in any of the 4 seasons, and the ridiculously chaotic course Baby Park from Mario Kart: Double Dash!; don’t even bother to dodge items on this course, it’s nigh on impossible. Think of Baby Park like you are shooting 1,000 bouncy balls out of a cannon into a sealed room with yourself inside. Just accept fate, it’s for the best. Each cup masterfully secures its own unique feel, and each one is as memorable as the next.
The music in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was recorded with the Mario Kart Band and orchestra, and it is home to some of my personal favourite tracks. Even whilst writing this, I played some of the music out of my phone speaker, and my girlfriend knew which course it was from. The music just fits so well with the games courses, each track is crafted around the visuals and the gameplay with such precision it embeds itself into the back of your mind. Aside from the laughter and banter that normally happens whilst playing the game, we often find ourselves humming along to each track as we play, further solidifying the impact the soundtrack really has in this game.
Along with games like Super Smash Bros Ultimate & Mario Party, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has held one of the top spots around Christmas for us. It’s a blissful hop on/hop off experience that can also keep you entertained for hours on end, which makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a fantastic title to be playing this Christmas on Nintendo Switch.
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