After five long years, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe finally has new content and honestly, I couldn't be happier. I'd placed my bets on getting Mario Kart 9 previously, though I admitted I'd be content with new tracks, and that's exactly what Nintendo's brought us with the Booster Course Pass.
I still can't believe the scope of this expansion, 48 new courses from now until 2023's end is incredible support for a former Wii U game released in 2014. Arriving in six separate waves, we'll be getting remade tracks from all major entries.
Granted, these are based on Mario Kart Tour's versions but as someone who never got on with the mobile entry's control scheme, I'll take it. I wouldn't call these new tracks my new favourites (yet) in Deluxe, though Wave One is a strong way to kick off the expansion, even if it's a little safe.
Before we begin, don't follow my example and presume the Booster Course Cup unlocks automatically when subscribed to the Switch Online + Expansion Pack. You still need to redeem it separately on the eShop, so quick word of warning there.
For Wave One, we've got the Golden Dash and Lucky Cat cups, totalling eight tracks. If you're like me and didn't vibe with Tour, three of these are essentially "new", which are: Paris Promenade, Tokyo Blur, and Ninja Hideaway. Personally, I found these circuits the most interesting picks.
Not only is Paris and Tokyo great to look at, but both also feature alternating track patch that keeps players alert in the final lap. As for Ninja Hideaway, there are some trickier manoeuvres involved to keep you on your toes. Stacked with multiple course routes, it's worth taking your time exploring this circuit's secrets.
The Old Favourites
As for the retro circuits, we've got varied picks from five main entries, though I wouldn't call this line-up terribly exciting, either. Those are:
- Choco Mountain - Mario Kart 64
- Sky Garden - Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA)
- Shroom Ridge - Mario Kart DS
- Coconut Mall - Mario Kart Wii.
- Toad Circuit - Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Mostly, you'll find faithful recreations here and on a personal note, I'm pleased two of my favourites (Sky Garden and Coconut Mall) are making a long-overdue return. There are some slight changes to Choco, replacing the mini tunnel with a full cave, but these are mostly faithful recreations. However, because they're such close redesigns, that also makes this selection feel a little safe.
It's also difficult shaking the realisation that this content's mostly been pulled from Mario Kart Tour and adapted for consoles. There's a noticeable visual difference between these retro circuits and ones included in Deluxe's base game, they lack a certain level of environmental detail. This isn't a dealbreaker though, the circuits are all perfectly functional and better yet, are complimented by some fantastic music remixes.
Verdict - 8/10
Wave One is a solid start to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass. Mixing classic retro circuits with some interesting Tour newcomers, there's a strong line-up here that'll nicely serve those who simply wanted more Mario Kart.
Sadly, it plays things a little safe and the Mario Kart Tour origins are evident, meaning fans can likely expect similar things in future waves. However, there's still a great time to be had and after all these years, I'm thrilled to see Mario Kart 8 Deluxe back in action.
Reviewed on a standard Nintendo Switch, mostly in Docked Mode.