What is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an upgraded version of the original arcade racer, which launched on the Wii U. Packing in all the same courses, characters and modes, alongside a revamped battle mode, a handful of extra characters, and a few new vehicles, it's up to you to choose a kart, and take to the track as one of your favourite Nintendo characters in a rubber burning, shell flinging, boost-drifting battle for first place.
How do you play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe comes with a number of modes to sink your teeth into. From the basic Grand Prix, which let you play through a series of four tracks (come first overall, and you'll earn three stars), to Time Trials, Battles, and even customisable VS Races, that let you pick and choose everything from the difficulty of your computer opponents, to the frequency and types of power-ups, there's plenty here to keep you busy.
An arcade game through and through, Mario Kart 8 is all about drifting, bumping, and using the power-ups you find scattered across the track (like green shells, homing red shells, or fireflower fireballs) to hamper your opponents. While there's no career mode to speak of, the game's progression comes from collecting coins during races - the more coins you earn, the more kart customisation options you'll unlock. Beyond that, all characters (bar one), and all courses are playable from the moment you start the game.
Like most Mario Kart games, it's in the multiplayer offering that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe truly shines. With each player needing only a single Joy-Con to get in on the action, you can play in two-player split-screen out of the box, and even take on opponents around the world in split-screen online. If you have any extra controllers, up to four players can join in the fun on one console, with each using either a Joy-Con (with or without an optional wheel grip), or a Pro Controller. The arena based battle modes particularly come into their own with a group of friends - from the standard Balloon Battle (everyone starts with five balloons - damage your opponents to score points and pop their balloon, with your score halving if you lose all your balloons), to more unusual modes like Renegade Roundup (essentially cops and robbers - one team has to simply survive, while the other team tries to grab 'em with their Piranha Plant power-ups and put them in jail), there's certainly an extensive multiplayer offering in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
How easy is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to pick up and play?
For the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nintendo have pushed the boat out to make the game easier to pick up and play than ever before. In addition to a range of control schemes that let you choose between Pro Controllers or Joy-Cons, and analogue sticks or motion (tilting) controls, there's a pair of brand new assists you can turn on to make things even easier for learner drivers.
First up is smart steering, an absolute godsend for beginners that makes it impossible for you to drive off the edge of a track - something that's a lot easier than you might expect on certain courses (we're looking at you, Rainbow Road). Slightly less useful is auto acceleration, a setting that'll basically control your car's throttle for you, giving you one less thing to worry about while you steer frantically around the corners. With four difficulty levels on offer, each gradually increasing both the speed of your car, and the difficulty of your opponents, everyone should be able to join in the fun with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features nothing in the way of mature content - no swearing, sex or violence.