Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been the gift that’s kept on giving this year. The latest round of DLC has arrived just in time for Christmas, perfectly suited for the holidays with its autumn and Christmas-themed tracks in tow. More importantly, it’s a rollicking good time and an essential addition to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s already impressive roster.
There are two new cups introduced in the third wave of the Booster Course Pass: Rock and Moon. The Rock Cup is symbolized by a stony-looking fungi; it makes me hope for a Rock Mushroom power-up in Mario’s next platforming adventure. Meanwhile, the Moon Cup reminds us it’s been far too long since Super Mario Odyssey graced the humble Switch.
The new tracks swing majorly in favor of handheld Mario Kart titles. In fact, all but two hail from handheld devices ranging from GBA to mobile and everything in between. It makes for a fun collection that fits perfectly on the Switch given its hybrid nature. It also means many of these tracks haven’t been playable on larger screens before, an added bonus for fans and newcomers alike.
Another theme of this pack is the appearance of Chomp Chomps. These giant balls of barking fury appear numerous times; it could almost have been named the Chomp Chomp Cup (something I would love to see in the future, please).
Let’s break down the eight new additions to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
London Loop (Mario Kart Tour)
As we’ve come to expect from the Booster Course Pass series, the Rock Cup opens with a Mario Kart Tour track. In this case, it’s inspired by another real-life city: jolly old London. London Loop serves as a fun and frantic ride through well-known locales such as Trafalgar Square, Westminster Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. You’ll also spot the classic red phone booths, the London Eye, cloudy weather, and Chomp Chomps aplenty. On the third lap, they’ll even start roaming freely around the track. In short, it’s great.
Boo Lake (GBA)
Boo Lake is probably my favorite of the collection. I’ve always had a soft spot for the ghost-house-themed tracks hailing right back to the days of the original Super Mario Kart. Boo Lake feels just like those courses. The GBA tends to benefit most from updated visuals, often appearing starkly different thanks to improvements in technology since 2001. This track is no different, barely recognizable in this new HD form, with underwater elements, sloping boardwalks, and a delightful Boo-themed background. With tight turns, split paths, and rollicking jumps, Boo Lake is super fun.
Alpine Mountain/Rock Rock Mountain (3DS)
Well, here’s an interesting fact; this course has a different name depending on your region. It’s Alpine Mountain in my part of the world. This classic 3DS track is full of ups and downs, and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing how far you can soar through these mountains. The cave at the start is teeming with bats, the steep slope towards the end features more rolling rocks than an Indiana Jones movie, and lush trees in the middle section provide the perfect backdrop to a day of kart racing.
Maple Treeway (Wii)
This is my second-favorite track; I loved it on the Wii and this updated version is perfect. It feels amazing to pull off that sharp left turn and collect every coin before being shot off to race on a giant tree. I love the addition of the half-pipe-style wall jump about halfway through the (you’ll know it when you play it) which whips you high enough into the air to make Tony Hawk proud. This is a fast and furious track set among the autumnal canopy of maple trees. Actually, maybe this is my favorite!
Berlin Byways (Mario Kart Tour)
This is another excellent addition to the roster of city-based tracks. The German city looks glorious as you drive past famous landmarks like the Berlin Cathedral and the Brandenburg Gate. This exciting track features Whomps and Thwomps ready to crush you as you steer through the city, making for an addictively chaotic race.
Peach Gardens (DS)
There’s a fun twist in this track; on the third lap, you’re suddenly made to race backwards, going against the tide and driving into oncoming traffic. If you’re far enough in front, you’ll meet slowpokes head-on as you rack your brain to remember the path backwards. It’s almost like Mirror Mode; in fact, it’s super chaotic when done backwards AND in reverse. It’s also an enjoyable romp through Peach’s garden, featuring flower beds, giant character-shaped hedges, and more roaming Chomp Chomps.
Merry Mountain (Mario Kart Tour)
This Christmas-themed course is an absolute delight to play. The timely release fits right into the spirit of the season with a trip through a Christmas village surrounded by snowy mountains. It features quaint cobblestone streets, giant presents by the side, and a flying Christmas train because…well, why not? Meanwhile, Candy canes act as light poles, and candles line the snowy path up the mountain, creating a joyful experience.
Rainbow Road (3DS)
This version of Rainbow Road is inspired by Super Mario Galaxy, complete with planets to land on and star jumps to boost through. This gorgeous track is set among the starry night skies, but don’t be fooled by its beauty; it’s Rainbow Road, after all, and the twists, turns and jumps on multi-colored lanes without barriers will keep your heart racing the entire time. It just happens to be breathtaking at the same time.
If you haven’t had a chance to play the new tracks, it’s an easy process. The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass can be purchased for a one-off payment of $24.99. With three waves now available, you’ll be treated to 24 additional tracks. If you happen to be a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscriber, these courses are already included in that package.
Mario Kart has been the king of kart racing for a long time. These latest additions only serve to further cement this title, with stunning visuals and engaging gameplay that bring a smile every time; it’s just that good.
And, with five more sets of tracks due to be released next year, the king of kart racers shows no signs of letting up.
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