Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Is a Phenomenal Performer on the Switch

If you’re on the fence about the Nintendo Switch, you might just change your mind by the time the weekend rolls around. On April 28th, an updated version of Mario Kart 8 is being released on Nintendo’s new hybrid console, and it’s getting rave reviews.

Back on the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 sold over 8 million copies, and received excellent review scores. For example, it earned an “Amazing” score of 9.0/10 on our sister site IGN. And based on 82 reviews aggregated on Metacritic, number 8 has an average score of 88/100. Even though the Wii U could only handle the game at 720p, it was visually striking, and it played like a dream. And in spite of the social limitations of the online mode, it’s still incredibly fun to race against 11 other real people.

Now on the Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe doesn’t have much to offer in the innovation department, but it still ranks as the most impressive Mario Kart release to date. Running at a native 1080p while docked, and maintaining 720p in handheld mode, this remastered version of Mario Kart 8 bumped up its score on IGN by a third of a point. More surprising, the rerelease’s metascore is a whopping six points higher than the original’s — a score of 94/100 with 54 reviews counted.

So, besides a higher resolution, what’s the big difference here? Right out of the gate, it includes everything from the Wii U‘s DLC packs, a few new characters, a “smart steering” feature for newbies, the new 200cc class, and five new battle modes. Better yet, all of that is unlocked right out of the gate, so you won’t need to waste time getting up to speed.

Over at Digital Foundry, an in-depth look on the Switch reveals the technical strengths and weaknesses of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. While Nintendo’s top-notch art style works well in both docked and handheld modes, the game hasn’t been tweaked all that much. Besides the higher resolution, you won’t find any extra pizzaz.

Just like the Wii U original, there’s no anti-aliasing on offer, so you’ll find ugly pixel crawl in some places. And even though the clarity of the ground textures is slightly improved thanks to the higher resolution, the very same bilinear filtering is being used.

While the overall fidelity hasn’t been improved as much as we’d like, the Deluxe version does fix one of the strangest issues with the original release. Last generation, Mario Kart 8 actually dropped one frame every second — making the output effectively 59fps. This time around, that problem is no more, so you’ll get to enjoy true 60fps racing.

And as a surprise to absolutely no one, load times off of the Switch cartridge are noticeably faster than the disc version of the Wii U release. We’re not sure just yet how the load times compare when loading directly out of the internal solid-state storage from both consoles, but it’s safe to assume that the difference will be much smaller than the disc-to-cart match-up.

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