£41.99 - Nintendo Switch - Nintendo

Chances are, you have a Mario Kart memory. Whether it’s huddled around an N64, firing a Blue Shell at your devious older brother, or playing wirelessly with friends on your various Nintendo DS's, almost everyone has, at some stage, been obsessed with Nintendo’s flagship racer.

With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, we’ve hit peak Mario Kart. Whether you played the series on DS, N64, Wii, SNES, Gamecube, or GBA, Deluxe feels like meeting an old friend you haven’t spoken to in years, only they’re much better looking than you remember. 

Despite being released on Wii U three years ago, this updated version feels fresh, having been given a new lick of paint and featuring the additional DLC previously added to the core game. The main difference between the two versions is the addition of Battle Mode, which — while never being a personal favourite — is a surprising amount of fun, offering some variance from the main races. 

As has been widely publicised by Nintendo, Deluxe features 48 tracks, 42 characters, 23 items, 200cc mode, and eight battle areas. What’s more, thanks to the nature of the Switch, this huge amount of content is portable, playable by two people anywhere at anytime. 

While the Joy Cons aren’t exactly the most comfortable controllers — nor is the screen particularly big — playing alongside someone on the same Switch screen is undeniably easy, elevating this game to another level and reminding everyone how great same screen co-op is (even if screen-peaking is way easier). 

The tracks themselves are brilliantly varied, being some of Mario Kart’s finest. The best are probably those included in the Wii U DLC, the Zelda and Animal Crossing levels being particularly great. For those who missed them the first time around, these will no doubt offer the most challenging. 

If you skipped the Wii U version and own a Switch, Deluxe is an absolute no-brainer. The racing is tight, 200cc offers a challenge for long-time Karters, and the variety of courses is unmatched by any other instalment. My only real quibble is that there are no unlockable characters, as they all come unlocked with the game, which takes away the achievement of winning a Golden cup. 

Nintendo has pretty much perfected their tried and tested racing formula, releasing both the best portable and console Mario Kart to date. Finally, there’s another game on Switch to file alongside Zelda as ‘must-have’. 

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