Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is back with Wave 4 (of six) of the Booster Course Pass tracks, this time covering the Fruit Cup and Boomerang Cup. Now that we’re over the halfway point, it really feels like Nintendo is starting to kick things into high gear with not only a stellar set of new and returning tracks but also an extra character in the form of Birdo. It all adds up to what is easily the strongest DLC release so far.
Starting with the Fruit Cup first, here you’ve got Amsterdam Drift from Mario Kart Tour, Riverside Park from GBA, DK’s Snowboard Cross from Wii, and the brand new Yoshi’s Island course. Amsterdam Drift, is arguably the strongest of the tracks from Tour, sending you soaring through the air against a backdrop of farmland and windmills before you’re cruising on the bed of the Amstel River. It looks so nice.
Riverside Park from the GBA is probably the only course that could reasonably be labeled a 'dud' in this latest DLC release. It’s certainly pretty enough, but simply by virtue of being a GBA track, it’s a bit simplistic, less manic, and gets quite boring as a result. DK’s Snowboard Cross, however, is excellent and showcases some wonderful verticality with some super tight corners. It’s definitely one for speed nuts to get their teeth into; 200cc is an absolute blast.
The star of the Fruit Cup, and indeed the whole DLC offering, is Yoshi’s Island. Much like Sky-High Sundae before it, this one makes its debut in MK8D (though we suspect it will show up in Tour before long) and you can definitely appreciate the sheer effort that’s gone into it in terms of visuals, layout, and bespoke nods to its namesake SNES game. It’s not the most complex we've seen, but you’ll be taking to the sky, racing across clouds, before splashing down into water below. It looks gorgeous, perfectly invoking the visual style of Yoshi’s Island with — as we've come to expect — excellent music to boot.
Moving onto the Boomerang Cup, this one offers up Bangkok Rush and Singapore Speedway from Tour, Mario Circuit from DS, and Waluigi Stadium from GameCube. The two Tour offerings are both surprisingly engaging and almost rival Amsterdam Drift; Singapore Speedway in particular looks really lovely, with neon lights providing a nice contrast against the night sky.
Mario Circuit is the only other track that veers towards mediocrity, but unlike Riverside Park, there’s enough here to keep you on your toes, including wandering Goombas and Piranha Plants which spit fireballs down the track. Last but not least, Waluigi Stadium remains as great as it’s always been, with treacherous terrain and deadly obstacles, including circles of fireballs and giant, wooden Piranha Plants. It’s great stuff.
Shout out goes to Birdo, too. We’re certain there will be legions of fans thrilled to see her join the roster. Much like Yoshi, she's a middleweight karter with a choice of nine different colour variations (including a rather sickly green we’re not too keen on). With five more slots freshly revealed on the character select screen, we can’t wait to see which other drivers Nintendo brings to the fold.
All in all, Wave 4 features quite comfortably the best set of tracks so far from the Booster Course Pass, with only one proving to be a bit underwhelming. We’re loving the Tour additions, and Yoshi’s Island is destined to be an all-time great. If Nintendo keeps this up, then we’ll be in a great position for Waves 5 and 6.
This makes me want to replay yoshi’s island
I couldn't wait to play this... then my roommate got covid. We'll be waiting until she's better to take this one on, but I'm so excited to experience Yoshi's Island!
Riverside Park got a pretty big downgrade layout-wise, all of its shortcuts from the original were removed, though I think the Ptooie mechanic still gives the track some life.
My two daughters (aged 27 and 19) and I play MK8D together every Saturday when they visit, so I’ve been sworn not to play the new tracks until the weekend when they come home. I’m so tempted, but I’ll just have to wait.
I was pondering the new courses while playing em: They seem much more hazard aggressive than some previous stages.
Not sure if it's just me.
This game just keeps on giving. Can’t wait to get playing but need to wait until Saturday
Let us rejoice
Great review. 100% agree with the Yoshi's Island course being one of the best!
Yoshi's Island course makes me so happy.
I’ve only got to play Yoshis Island but that track was a nice surprise.
Is it me or since the last wave the game is starting to feel like it has Mario Kart Wii's level of Blue Shells? Seriously yesterday when I was testing the new tracks in Vs. Mode with all the items turned on, more than once I received 2 Blue Shells in a span of less than about 6 seconds. That also happened to me during the last wave as well.
For some reason they didn't display on the map when I'm pretty sure they are displayed when one is shot.
I know there's the item switch but I wanted to try the new tracks with all the items, that decision almost made me wanna quit before I was finished with just one cup.
Couldn't spot Kamek flying around the Yoshi's Island course, so my hopes for his inclusion remain alive.
It's a darn good update, that's for sure! I've been getting this DLC through the Switch Online Expansion Pack and, for me, it's been a real treat to dive back in every few months.
Now to go online and get annihilated by all you plucky youngsters.
Playing this wave has made me realise that the new tracks, as nice as they all are, just aren’t really doing it for me anymore as the gameplay is still ultimately the same after nearly 9 years and there’s not much in the way of new features or gimmicks to keep the game feeling fresh beyond the aesthetics of the new tracks.
I think the game needs to expand the roster of items just a touch more than it needs additional tracks and characters.
Nintendo are also very cunning to tease a half dozen characters to entice those yet to buy the DLC. I don’t yearn for anyone in particular (except Pauline), but some representation from other franchises would be a nice change of pace.
@Sisilly_G agreed. I am mostly fine this. It’s a good value. It extends the life of the game and I will enjoy, but something is indeed inherently stale…..I kinda like the mini games they have in Tour. Extra characters, cars and tracks from other franchises would be cool, but my guess is that is for another system.
Yoshi's Island had me grinning like a wally
The Booster Course Pass can genuinely be entirely summed up in this single image:
Can't wait to get home today and try out the new tracks (and Birdo of course), the BCP quite literally just gets better each wave!
So far, Boo Lake is still my favorite GBA track, especially in 200cc, but I really haven't gone through Wave 4 in 200cc yet, so maybe Riverside Park can still have a moment to shine.
Easily the best wave yet, an excellent “original” course, the 3 best city tracks, and the retro selection was excellent too. I do think they should have gone with lakeside park over riverside because it’s a little bit too simple in 8, but I’d still say it works well enough with the ptooies.
How did they make Yoshi’s island a better track than both Waluigi Stadium and DK Summit?!
BIRDO SAYS TRANS RIGHTS
Well looks like we got 5 old characters to look forward to, Diddy Kong and Funky needs to be among them.
It’s quite odd that Nintendo can just switch from the basic graphics of Mario Kart tour to the more advanced graphics of Mario Kart 8 in some tracks.
There's a "speed nuts to get their teeth into" joke in there somewhere, but it's early and I haven't woken up yet.
Yoshi's Island course has so much unique stuff too! Even the results screen music!
@ElRoberico we love to see it ❤️
It’s interesting to see that in the character selection screen there are now 5 question marks! Are we to see several new characters across the final 2 waves? Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Kirby join the roster.
All tracks are great all around. (Including Riverside Park.)
Sometime a simple course and emerging from a waterfall in the end is all it takes to make a toad happy.
Really? It’s not bad but Amsterdam looks so bland and it’s the least interesting city track so far. Bangkok and Singapore are way better. Going from Amsterdam to Riverside Park is quite jarring. Yea, it’s pretty basic, but Riverside Park is one of the first tracks in Super Circuit. They’ve done a great job with the GBA tracks, which makes me want Sunset Wilds all the more. All of the music remixes sound perfect.
With five more characters left, I’m pretty confident that Diddy Kong and Funky Kong should make it. I don’t know whether Dixie or Pauline will make it. Petey Piranha should have a good chance. Kamek is still plausible even though he missed Yoshi’s Island. It would still make sense to add him when the final wave should finally add a retro Bowser’s Castle.
"Visuals have received a much-needed boost"
Is this implying that previously released tracks have received a visual boost? Or just this pack?
With the current sale going, I finally just caved in and repurchased Mario Kart 8 for the THIRD time so I can get in on the booster tracks.
Originally I bought it at launch on Wii U and played over 100 hours. Sold it to buy Deluxe when it came to Switch. Played a few hours of Deluxe and realized I had already burned myself out on the game and there was little new, so I sold that copy back in 2018. Now here I am 5 years later buying it again 🤦♂️
Back when I was really into it in 2014, my kids were mostly too young to appreciate it, so now that they're all 7-15 age range, I'm hoping we get more, ahem, mileage 🤭 out of multiplayer.
Does it bother anyone else how anti-gravity is seldom featured in these tracks? The only DLC tracks that have it are Boo Lake, Merry Mountain, Sky High Sundae, Rock Rock Mountain, and 3DS Rainbow Road. Most of the tracks that have it are from wave 3, and no tracks in wave 1 or 4 feature it. I was especially hoping to see Wario Colosseum, as that would be a perfect track to feature anti-gravity, but I feel like Waluigi Stadium stole its spot.
Yoshi's Island is absolutely phenomenal. One of the best Mario Kart tracks ever. Amsterdam, Bangkok, and Singapore are some of the best city tracks yet. Waluigi Stadium and Riverside Park both look and play great. DK Summit feels a little clunky but is still fun. DS Mario Circuit is fun to race on online even if a bit basic.
@Uncle_Franklin Kamek would have been the perfect character to go with the map
The new tracks are fine. There is nothing really wrong with the, but this is the first wave I have not gotten even one old favorite. The new Yoshi's island course is great, and its neat that they are adding more characters even though I'm probably going to stick with Rosalina.
@ElRoberico As far as I can tell, Birdo is just making sounds based on her name like Yoshi does.
@Handy_Man Wrong, DK Summit and Waluigi Stadium do
Yoshi's track is fantastic and with an awesome theme, it's just the Tour courses are so... uninspired, maybe it's just me.
One of the best waves so far if not the best considering the highs are really high and the lows aren't that low (Riverside looks stunning and the Ptooies are a nice addition while I agree with the review about DS Mario Circuit)!
Another really good wave, probably my favorite. They've done a great job with this DLC, glad that getting 5 more characters.
i don't get the Birdo love
they are bizarre and i don't get why everyone is hyped for them
also as a Dutchman, i can't help myself but call Amsterdam Drift my favorite
Well, I guess there is just no way to get a 10 with Mario kart dlc
@HammerGalladeBro When choosing your CC, go down to the second option that says items and change it from custom items to normal items. Then the menu where you can toggle items on or off won't appear and you won't have that issue with the blue shells
Custom items screws with the RNG of items, but normal items restores it back to...well normal
I find it strange they didn’t release two characters this wave to keep the number of characters released even between the remaining waves
The Yoshi's Island course makes me want a 3D Yoshi platformer.
The Yoshi's Island track is indeed great, but overall I personally feel this is the WEAKEST wave thus far. It's very hard for me to get past THREE Tour tracks in a single wave of eight tracks; while each has certain things that are appealing and Singapore is one of the best Tour tracks from a technical perspective, there is simply too high a ratio of Tour tracks to everything else; Nintendo may as well have labeled it the "MK Tour Pass".
@AtlanteanMan Agreed. I personally only enjoyed Yoshi's Island and Singapore Speedway.
Watched a video of DK summit to make sure they didn't ruin it, but otherwise I haven't seen any of the full courses.
My friend loves Yoshi, nice to know's the map is good!
If Riverside Park is a dud, it's only in comparison to the other tracks. Probably better than DS Mario Circuit, regardless.
An excellent set of courses. After seeing the visuals for Walugui Stadium I'd love to see Wario Stadium to be given that treatment!
Until Riverside Park, the GBA courses have all been brilliant. Coming from the flat designs of the GBA, they had to be well designed, and then when augmented in MK8, they really shine. I'm not sure what happened with Riverside Park. I don't even remember it on GBA when recently going through the NSO version. Any of the Bowser or Mario circuits would have been better choices.
How dare you slam DS Mario Circuit. It's a classic, just like nearly all the DS courses. While it's lost some of the fiendish flow of the original due to the different boosting mechanic these days, it's still great.
@AtlanteanMan I agree about this being the weakest wave, tracks-wise. The graphics continue to improve, but even the retro tracks just don't do it for me very much. I never really liked DK Summit back in the day, which may be sacrilegious to some. Another Mario Circuit track instead of Airship Fortress or Luigi's Mansion to represent the DS game is kind of boring (although it did get quite the glow-up). Waluigi Stadium is not a bad track, but we already have a dirt road track with Wario Stadium; I would've preferred Daisy Cruiser or Dino Dino Jungle to make the roster a bit more diverse. The GBA tracks continue to be aesthetically pleasing, but short and simplistic, gameplay-wise. Yoshi's Island and honestly Singapore Speedway are the two standouts for me, but the rest is kinda "mid," as they say.
I really like Birdo, and I actually quite like Mario Circuit, unless I'm misremembering the original (it's been a looong time), they added some nice touches like the Wiggler. Curiously it sated my hunger for more 64 courses, despite not being one.
I found Yoshi's Island just a touch disappointing, I think it needed a little more time to add and tweak the details around the course, there's something about it that feels a bit hollow to me. It's somehow too busy while also being too empty?
At the start line, I feel like the mailbox Poochie is on should be a tad shorter and the fence around the eggs obscures them too much. You can barely see the iconic seagulls at the mountain because of the incline, it would have been better to place them around the gliding sections immediately after that. And the mountains around the island are too pointy. I do like the course, it's just, not quite right in my eyes
@StarryCiel yeah that's the weird thing .. review here says it is dull because it is gba, but the gba track had some fun shortcute and jumps that mattered because you could end a up having to redo the loop... now it is just a loop...
I have to disagree as my favourite tracks this wave are Bangkok Rush and the the excellent Singapore Speedway. I would even go as far to say that the Yoshi track is my least favourite of this wave
kind of expecting a second booster pass.
@Not_Soos With only two waves left and 16 tracks, it goes without saying that some favorites are going to end up being passed by, sadly. I agree that Dino Dino Jungle would be at or near the top of my remaining wish list. Given how many truly memorable entries there have been over the years, I am surprised we haven't seen at least one iteration of a Bowser's Castle track.
One thing is pretty much guaranteed given the pattern of the waves to date: both will have at least one and probably multiple Tour tracks included. Which, when considering the ratio versus all other MK games represented in the Track Pass, really feels like taking slots away from better, more deserving possibilities that are truer to the Mario universe. I love the Track Pass overall, but if there's one area I feel is the weakest, it's that.
One last thing I personally hope Nintendo adds as the cherry on top once everything is said and done: I would love to see a fully featured Custom Cup where players could add any number of tracks from any existing Cup in any order, with the ability to select available items. Just imagine the epic local multi-player marathons we could enjoy with friends and family around the living room.
Love the Yoshi's Island track, it's wonderful.
Riverside Park really shouldn't be the one that's singled out for criticism. DS Mario Circuit is right there. It's not a bad track, but totally unnecessary. There's already 3 other Mario Circuits in the game and this one does very little to set itself apart.
Going into this review I already knew which courses you would dislike. Of course you would call Riverside Park and Mario Circuit “boring”, likely because they don’t feature antigrav or underwater sections, am I right?
Me I’m old school and I love them exactly for that. Finally courses that are about driving and not bumbling. Seriously, I wonder who on earth enjoys the underwater portions.. it feels like the race is paused.
Thought the new Yoshi track was quite lacklustre personally. The Tour tracks were great. I found the boomerang cup to be way stronger than the fruit cup.
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