Mario Kart 8 Deluxe + Booster Course Pass: Is It Worth It? thumbnail

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe + Booster Course Pass: Is It Worth It?

Nintendo's iconic racer gets even bigger

A.J. Maciejewski

Updated by for Opinions on 🍄

Originally published August 19, 2022

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a ton of fun so let's dive into what it's all about as well as how much value the Booster Course Pass adds.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe screenshot 1
I hope this shortcut works out; please don't throw a shell at me!

For those new to Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 debuted back in 2014 as a Wii U game but ever since it re-released for Nintendo Switch a few years later via the improved iteration that is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it has gained a much larger audience. For the unfamiliar, it's bursting with frantic kart racing fun that gamers of all ages can enjoy whether you choose to play solo, with friends and family, or multiplayer with the bustling online community. Not only is it intuitive to play, you can choose how to play via different control options whether you prefer button or motion controls and on top of that, you can even supplement motion controls with a Racing Wheel or Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Motorbike if you want. In fact, considering amiibo support is available, this might be the most accessory-friendly game that Nintendo has ever released. v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248

Once you settle on how to play Mario Kart 8, you'll be pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer. Not only are there a ton of memorable and tricky courses to enjoy, you can also play as a wide variety of classic Nintendo characters such as Wario (my favourite), Toadette, Yoshi, Rosalina, Animal Crossing's Villager, a couple of Inklings, and even all 7 Koopalings. In addition to the 41 characters, you can also play as a Mii that you can customize by scanning amiibo figures. Meanwhile, the gameplay is a blast as you and your competitors speed to the finish line while drifting and utilizing items for boosts and to thwart rivals. No matter how skilled you are, anything can happen which makes every race exciting and each victory even sweeter. Overall, it's the definitive kart racer and one that you're sure to love. 😄

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe screenshot 2
Baby Peach and Baby Daisy are dominating this race

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe vs. original Wii U version

I wanted to discuss how Mario Kart 8 Deluxe compares to the Wii U original because I only recently got Mario Kart 8 Deluxe after holding out as I figured it wouldn't be much better than the vanilla version. Now that I've been playing it for a while, I can easily say that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is worth owning as well, especially with the Booster Course Pass being available but I'll get to that in a bit.

What's different in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is that it includes all of the DLC from the Wii U game which is new to me and its Battle mode has been recreated to utilize actual arenas as well as fun-filled modes such as Bob-omb Blast, Balloon Battle, and Shine Thief. When it comes to gameplay, you can now carry 2 items at once with 2 reintroduced power-ups (Feather and Boo) and there are accessibility options for players who might be struggling with the controls. Performance-wise, you'll notice sharper and smoother visuals and faster loading times which is always a nice bonus. The only downside is that there's no more Miiverse; I miss that community a lot! 🥺

What exactly is the Booster Course Pass?

Earlier in 2022, Nintendo introduced the Booster Course Pass which you can purchase or access with a Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack subscription. Acquiring this pass allows you to unlock additional courses and Grand Prix tournaments which will be released in waves. Every wave includes 2 cup tournaments with 4 courses in each and there will be 6 waves which adds up to a grand total of 48 extra courses. Most of these courses are from previous games in the series so if you've been playing Mario Kart for as long as I have, you will get some déjà vu. With that being said, there are brand new courses, too, and plenty from the mobile Mario Kart Tour game which if you're like me, will be new to you. For what else you get in the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, check out my review.

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack Review
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe screenshot 3
Isabelle is about to make some Inkling and turtle shell soup

Booster Course Pass Wave 1 Switch ★★★★☆

First up, we have the Golden Dash Cup which features a few unforgettable courses that are great fun. Paris Promenade is a colourful sight-seeing tour of the city complete with the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Trocadéro Gardens, and the Louvre Museum. I enjoy the scenery a lot, especially after leaping off a well-placed glide ramp. Next, Toad Circuit is a standard starter track that isn't particularly impressive but it does make for some fun item-slinging. Meanwhile, Choco Mountain is a trickier course with lots of bumpy roads and falling rocks; I like it even if it's very brown. Lastly, I fondly remember Coconut Mall and it's still just as fun to dodge cars and decide which path to take on the escalators. Plus, its multiple layers add some verticality. Anyway, here's a list with which game each course is from:

  1. Paris Promenade (Mario Kart Tour)
  2. Toad Circuit (Mario Kart 7)
  3. Choco Mountain (Mario Kart 64)
  4. Coconut Mall (Mario Kart Wii)

The 2nd tournament Lucky Cat Cup contains a couple classics and some super-fun Japanese-themed courses. Specifically, Tokyo Blur and Ninja Hideaway show very different sides of Japan with the former being a lovely daytime city adventure while the latter shows a more historic angle while taking place at night. Both are equally fetching and I'm sure you'll agree. Shroom Ridge is a tricky cliff-side drive where you have to steer carefully and the constant traffic adds a lot of challenge to the equation. I particularly enjoy leaping off vehicles that act as ramps. Perhaps the trickiest course is Sky Garden which combines Jack and the Beanstalk with Rainbow Road; very cool! 😎

  1. Tokyo Blur (Mario Kart Tour)
  2. Shroom Ridge (Mario Kart DS)
  3. Sky Garden (Mario Kart: Super Circuit)
  4. Ninja Hideaway (Mario Kart Tour)

Well, we're definitely off to a great start because this first wave of DLC has some bona fide classics as well as a few welcome surprises.

Booster Course Pass Wave 1 trailer →
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe screenshot 4
Which box has the coin; the most beloved item in this entire game?

Booster Course Pass Wave 2 Switch ★★★★☆

Wave 2 begins with the Turnip Cup and it's a real doozy. First, New York Minute features a nifty blend of neon city streets and night-time nature in Central Park. I wish there was traffic to dodge, though. Just like Toad Circuit, Mario Circuit 3 is another basic starter course yet it has some sharp turns and zipping through the shortcut is always satisfying. Kalimari Desert is a rather wide course and its train is charming to watch pass by but be careful not to slam into it when you're on the track! Last but certainly not least, Waluigi Pinball is a phenomenal course with its neon arcade aesthetic, winding track, giant pinballs, and the pinball table segment is a hazard-filled hoot-and-a-half.

  1. New York Minute (Mario Kart Tour)
  2. Mario Circuit 3 (Super Mario Kart)
  3. Kalimari Desert (Mario Kart 64)
  4. Waluigi Pinball (Mario Kart DS)

Next, here's the Propeller Cup which you can watch us play in its entirety in the video right below this article. Its first course is Sydney Sprint which features a Ferris wheel, tram, and a fun series of ramps on a bridge. It's a cheerful course but the cardboard cut-out audience at one part does look a bit awkward. Snow Land offers some slippery fun on the ice and trying not to fall in can be tricky. It's not all that special but I dig the penguins! Mushroom Gorge is one of the more easily-recognizable courses and it's as fun as it is nostalgic with its bouncy mushrooms and crystal-lined caverns. Plus, messing with your competitors when they're bouncing around will put a smile on your face. Finally, Sky-High Sundae is the first brand new course and they really went above and beyond to create an unforgettable adventure through an ice cream paradise that's full of verticality, oodles of ramps, tricky twists, and tasty treats. 🍦

  1. Sydney Sprint (Mario Kart Tour)
  2. Snow Land (Mario Kart: Super Circuit)
  3. Mushroom Gorge (Mario Kart Wii)
  4. Sky-High Sundae (exclusive)

The second Booster Course Pass wave is as impressive as the first, especially with its delightful and brand new Sky-High Sundae course.

Booster Course Pass Wave 2 trailer →
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe screenshot 5
Ludwig doesn't mind 3rd place as long as he can paraglide

Booster Course Pass Wave 3 Switch ★★★★☆

The first tournament of Wave 3 is Rock Cup and it features a few fantastic classic tracks. First, we have London Loop which is perhaps the most generic Mario Kart Tour track included in the Booster Course Pass so far but it's still enjoyable, especially as you observe how the course transforms between laps. When it comes to classics, Boo Lake is a nice surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed. The fact that it feels like a Ghost House from Super Mario World is awesome yet it's set on a series of docks on a haunted lake. One part forces you to take a leap of faith off the edge of a dock only to then race underwater for a bit and that's pretty cool. I also enjoyed Rock Rock Mountain and Maple Treeway which both heavily feature flying parts with the former having falling rocks as you scale a cliff at one point and the latter featuring giant Wigglers which is adorable albeit dangerous as they can stomp on you if you're not careful! 😅

  1. London Loop (Mario Kart Tour)
  2. Boo Lake (Mario Kart: Super Circuit)
  3. Rock Rock Mountain (Mario Kart 7)
  4. Maple Treeway (Mario Kart Wii)

Wave 3 concludes with the Moon Cup which is one of the best tournaments so far. For starters, Berlin Byways is slightly more interesting than London Loop, especially with the super-cute vehicles that cause a bit of traffic and a part where Whomps pop out of the Berlin Wall which made me smile. Peach Gardens is next and I must have played that track a gazillion times because I have it etched in my memory. I like how many paths you can take and the fact that it reverses course near the end is a nice touch. It's great timing that Merry Mountain is available in Wave 3 as its holiday theme will put you in the mood for the season and it's quite a varied and entertaining track to race on to boot. Finally, an incarnation of Rainbow Road is included that's very segmented and enjoyable as long as you don't fall off! 😲

  1. Berlin Byways (Mario Kart Tour)
  2. Peach Gardens (Mario Kart DS)
  3. Merry Mountain (Mario Kart Tour)
  4. Rainbow Road (Mario Kart 7)

Wave 3 of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's Booster Course Pass is filled with superb tracks that are great fun to race on. It's wonderful to see the level of quality remain unwavering with the release of these 2 cups; plus, Merry Mountain will surely get you in the Christmas spirit.

Booster Course Pass Wave 3 trailer →
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe screenshot 6
Wario getting smacked in Santa Town is bittersweet
Watch us play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's Propeller Cup thumbnail
Watch us play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's Propeller Cup
Super Mario Odyssey Trivia

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