Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches for the Nintendo Switch next week, fixing one of the biggest missteps made by the original Wii U release. The new Battle Mode is so good.
Rather than give players special arenas custom built for Battle Mode's competitive mini-games as in previous iterations of the series, Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U simply reused the game's racing tracks. Great for racing, the long and winding tracks were not conducive to a game mode that require players stay in the general vicinity of one another, and a mode that was supposed to be chaotic fun ended up being a big old disappointment.
Next week's Nintendo Switch version of Mario Kart 8 earns its Deluxe tag by introducing eight custom arenas specifically designed to keep players close enough to pop each other's balloons, steal each other's coins and blow each other up in one of five modes: Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Shine Thief and Coin Runners.
Balloon Battle is about popping the five balloons attached to your opponents' karts with standard attacks and power-ups. Bob-omb Blast is the same thing, except all the power-ups are bombs that can be tossed or set walking about the battle area to take foes off-guard.
Look! Other people! Well, AI robots, but they will be other people come next week.
Shine Thief is an objective holding game in which players fight over possession of a object. Coin Runners is about having the most coins at the end of the round, but secretly about knocking your opponents' coins from their grasp.
Waluigi has the Shine! He loses it a second later, but let him have this dammit.
My favourite Battle Mode game next to the splodey-one is Renegade Roundup, which is a team-based mode that's sort of like cops and robbers, only the cops have piranha plants on the front of their cars to capture the crooks and take them to jail.
So instead of one game broken game mode that re-uses maps that really aren't made for it, we've got five satisfying game modes played on colourful arena maps designed for maximum multiplayer fun. Check out the video at the top of this article to see it in action.
Any small improvement to Mario Kart 8's Battle Mode would have been nice. Nintendo has really gone above and beyond here.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch launches worldwide on April 28.