Gosh, the end is actually in sight now, huh? Yes, Wave 5 for the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass is finally here, bringing us one step closer to the grand finale with another batch of new and remade Mario Kart content.

In addition to the usual mix of revamped courses from Mario Kart games of yore, Wave 5 introduces a brand new course with 'Squeaky Clean Sprint' along with three new playable characters: Kamek, Wiggler, and Petey Piranha. But is it any good?

Much like the previous four waves, this latest batch of DLC is somewhat of a mixed bag but ultimately adds significant value to the overall appeal of the Booster Course Pass. Eight new courses are nothing to sneer at, even if they're not all certified bangers.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Starting off with Squeaky Clean Sprint, the new course is a delightful glimpse into... someone's bathroom? Yeah, it's a bit of a weird one, but it makes for a pretty good course. You'll be cruising down plugholes, dashing through bathtubs, and soaring above sinks as you make your way around the track. It looks fantastic, and we loved catching quick peeks at Goombas chilling out in their little rubber rings. And thank goodness there are no floaters.

Moving onto the courses from Mario Kart Tour, there are three in total: Athens Dash, Los Angeles Laps, and Vancouver Velocity. All three are decent, but not particularly memorable; we'd say that Athens Dash is a standout thanks to its impressive verticality, though we were surprised at how quickly the race was over.

The latter two courses are perfectly serviceable and certainly fun in 200cc mode, but we've seen better: LA Laps starts you off on the beach and takes you through the city and suburbs; it looks really nice but the track layout is ultimately a bit tame. Meanwhile, Vancouver Velocity's night-time setting looks great with some beautiful winter vibes, but again, the layout feels too safe. Give us a bit of danger, for goodness sake.

Looking at the legacy courses, it's once again a bit up and down. Daisy Cruiser from Double Dash!! is great fun, as it's always been; it's short and sweet and we love the overall aesthetic. Koopa Cape from Mario Kart Wii is a genuine masterclass in Mario Kart course design, featuring a boatload of variety, lots of twists and turns, and some good verticality.

Moonview Highway, on the other hand, is incredibly boring with wide roads and little to no challenge. How these two courses came from the same game is beyond us.

Finally, Sunset Wilds from Super Circuit is a decent recreation of the classic handheld course, albeit with one pretty glaring omission: there's no actual sunset. In the original (and the Mario Kart Tour version), the background and environment would change on each lap. Here, there's nothing. It's a very weird decision. Nintendo managed it on Tour, so why not here?

And what about those new characters? Well, they're good! We can't complain. Kamek is perhaps our favourite thanks to his delightful horn sound and... well, it's Kamek. His 'Medium' class puts him in the same league as Tanooki Mario; a good all-rounder for the most part.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Kamek is good, but we do adore how Wiggler goes all red and angry whenever it's hit with a weapon and those who prefer a slightly heavier class with a bit more speed, like Ludwig, might prefer this guy.

As for Petey Piranha? Well, even after all these years, it's still rather odd to see him riding along on a kart, but there we go. If he can show up alongside Piranha Plant in Smash, a kart shouldn't cause too much trouble. Petey is a Heavy build with good top speed but relatively poor acceleration; if you tend to go for someone like Donkey Kong, then you'll be right at home here. Hopefully, Nintendo goes a little more out there for the final wave, but as far as new characters go, these are pretty good additions.


Overall, Wave 5 is another good wave, though not a great one. Squeaky Clean Sprint, while perfectly decent fun in itself, can't quite match the heights of something like Yoshi's Island, and tracks like Moonview Highway and Sunset Wilds make us feel like Nintendo just isn't quite giving its all when it comes to this DLC. Still, the positives outweigh the negatives, and we're confident that once the final wave lands later this year, the Booster Course Pass will prove an essential purchase for Mario Kart fans.