The final wave of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass has been released, bringing an end to two years of content that has kept fans returning again and again to the game. It was quite a complete package beforehand, but the Booster Course Pass gave Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the opportunity to really expand and become a truly definitive Mario Kart title worthy of the Deluxe title.
I’m sure many Mario Kart fans can admit that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of those games that you can come back to after months of not playing and jump straight back into it like you just played it yesterday. It has been a Nintendo Switch staple since its release on the console on April 28, 2017, and is the best-selling game on the console with 57.01 million units sold worldwide.
There is a very good reason for its success, and it is not just because it is a Mario game but because it is the most balanced and most accessible Kart racing game on the market. Many other companies have tried to recreate their own kart racing games with their own IPs but, while plenty are pretty fun in their own right, they still don’t come close enough to take the crown from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the gift that keeps on giving and for a game that is nearly nine years old since its original debut on the Wii U (titled simply as Mario Kart 8), it has just gone from strength to strength as Nintendo’s developers continued to support the game with updates to provide stability and balance to its characters and karts.
For a long while since its Switch release, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was mainly supported with the aforementioned stability updates and the like. It did also receive updates in the form of a new vehicle stylized on the Master Cycle Zero from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC and an alternate outfit for Link, as well as Nintendo Labo support was added to include functionality with the Toy-Con Car and Toy-Con Bike.
It wouldn’t be until 2021, when players had almost given up all hope for DLC to come to the game, and then it actually happened. Nintendo announced the Booster Course Pass that gave an already great and complete game a hefty expansion that would essentially double the game’s content with an extra 48 courses that would be periodically distributed over the course of two years.
The Booster Course Pass brought circuits, new and old, that span the history of the Mario Kart series from the very first Mario Kart that released on the SNES up to the Mobile game Mario Kart Tour. As for the “new” circuits, the term is used somewhat lightly as only two or three circuits were actually new to the game itself. A good number of the newer circuits were actually brought over from Mario Kart Tour, but I won’t complain as I and many other primarily console-focused gamers haven’t played these circuits and so they are new to us.
These “new” circuits, based on real-world cities, also gave a new level of depth to MK8D as you can drive past iconic landmarks and say, “Oh, I know that building. That’s such and such,” and whatnot. As for the older circuits, some are almost identical to how they were portrayed in their original games whilst circuits from older titles were given an overhaul to add modern aesthetics and features whilst still maintaining as much of the original design as possible.
The inclusion of these additional circuits is weaved so naturally into the base game with the ability to not just play the circuits in Vs. Mode or online but also in the other game modes like Grand Prix on multiple different speeds and Time Trial. This means that you can try and get the fastest times in each circuit individually or aim to get three-star gold trophies in each Grand Prix cup.
Another fine feature of the Booster Course Pass was the inclusion of extra racers as well. The likes of Kamek, Wriggler, Diddy Kong, Birdo, Peachette, and Pauline were added to the game over time and gave more variety to players looking to change up who they played with. The final wave also added a Music Player that can play the soundtracks to each circuit, as well as the battle courses as, and new Mii racing outfits were also added, which is more bonus content that just gave a little bit more, even when Nintendo really didn’t need to.
On the flip side of that, though, it would have been nice to have extra karts and wheels added to the game. I speak for myself, of course, but I am sure there are many others who would have liked at least a couple of new karts or at the very least, the return of older karts from previous titles. It’s not the end of the world, though, as there is plenty of choice in MK8D, but it is human nature, after all, to still want more even after receiving so much already.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages to the Booster Course Pass is that it is also included in the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack service for free (as long as you keep your membership current, of course), and it can be purchased separately for those who do not use the service or have the standard NSO membership.
To finish up, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass has been a superb package that has kept giving and giving at every opportunity. While it is true that there may be a few circuits that people may have preferred to have been included in the pass as opposed to some that actually got in, but with 48 additional circuits, there are bound to be some that some people will like more than others.
Even still, it has been quite a ride with plenty of ups and downs and anti-gravity moments but alas, we have reached the finish line for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe but while the sun sets on this chapter, we can continue to enjoy the game to its fullest… until the next instalment in the Mario Kart comes out, of course!