PAX East 2017 was filled with Nintendo Switch games, and of course, Nintendo had their own booth. I was fortunate enough to get some private time with a little game called Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, along with a handful of other video game journalists. Nintendo’s Corey Olcsvary led us through the basics before he let us face off in some head-to-head battles and a race.
The entire time, we played in LAN mode, a new multiplayer option for Nintendo Switch, which harkens back to the times when I played Mario Kart Double Dash in LAN parties in my college dorm. Yeah, you can easily create a wireless ad-hoc network for up to eight players, but LAN allows you a more solid connection (especially important at a gaming convention) and up to 12 players.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with how the game looked. It ran at a smooth frame-rate the entire time. Even though I played the entire game in split-screen, I had no issues whatsoever. In fact, I did not like this mode in the previous version on Wii U, but I did not mind it in Deluxe. I almost wished I had a racing simulator of some sort so I could get the added feel of an actual race with the quality visuals, but I was happy to have played it anyway.
The new Renegade Roundup battle mode was quite fun, but it took me a bit to get used to the concept. I did not realize where the jail was and how to release my teammates from said jail until it was too late. While this is not a groundbreaking mode, I do think it will add to the game’s enjoyment and help battle mode to stay fresh.
The other battle modes are returning favorites, but the big news is that Deluxe brings back traditional battle courses, instead of the mediocre excuse for battle courses in the Wii U original. The Splatoon-themed Urchin Underpass and the SNES Battle Course 1 were two of my favorites from this playthrough at PAX East.
On top of battle, we also played one 200cc race on the Excitebike track. It was incredibly fun, as usual, but the ability to break while drifting was a huge bonus that helped me keep so much more control. I was very glad they added it.
I used the Pro Controller for all my races, which felt incredible. I picked up the wheel accessory for the Joy-Con Controller. It was all right, but it felt very small. I’m also not a huge fan of motion-control in racing games, so I stuck with the stellar analog sticks on the Pro Controller.
As most of you know, I’m a huge Mario Kart fan, so I’m clearly excited about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Playing it at PAX East just sealed the deal. At this point, some unexpected bad news would be the only thing stopping me from getting my own copy!
Balloon Battle on SNES Battle Course 1
Renegade Roundup on Urchin Underpass and Lunar Colony
Coin Runners on Dragon Palace
Shine Thief on Battle Stadium
200cc Race on Excitebike
Are you excited to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? If you already own Mario Kart 8, will you purchase Deluxe on Switch? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Steve is the Senior Editor of NintendoFuse and co-host of the NintendoFuse Podcast. He’s been a Nintendo gamer since age 6 and has been on staff with NintendoFuse since 2008.