As of December 2022, the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass has released half of its courses. With 24 new tracks released so far, and 24 left to go, players have a good idea of what to expect from the second half of the DLC. However, based on previous Mario Kart features and expectations, I’d like to talk about 4 additions I hope Nintendo will bring before the Booster Course Pass is finished.
In a video game landscape full of paid battle passes and customization options locked behind paywalls, it is refreshing to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In the base game, racing the tracks at certain difficulties, beating time trials, and collecting coins would unlock characters, kart customizations, and welcome screens – no extra payment required. If almost all unlockables from the base game come from completing the standard 48 tracks, then it seems fitting for there to be a bevy of unlockables with the Booster Course Pass’ additional 48 tracks. In the base game, getting gold trophies at 150cc, Mirror mode, and 200cc on all cups unlocks the gold Mario character, and the gold kart.
As a player, I would expect achieving the same commendations for the Booster Course Pass would land me similar rewards. Racing very well on those high-speed modes across 48 tracks will take time.
Another Gameplay Feature Addition
A surprise addition in the third wave of the Booster Course Pass was a custom items option for VS Race mode and Battle mode. This was a smart quality-of-life improvement, allowing players to choose which items they raced or battled with.
I think there could be other small quality-of-life features Nintendo could add. My suggestion is an expanded race replay viewer in a similar form as Halo’s theater mode. This would be a feature to rewatch a race with total control. I realize there is a special polish to the highlight reel, but with 12 characters racing wildly, we want more than the A.I. determined highlights. Players want to zoom in on and frame the action for themselves.
Better Graphical Presentation
Plenty of complaints have been lodged against the Booster Course Pass’ graphics. Though many say the graphics are subpar compared to the base game, others, like Nintendo World Report TV on YouTube, argues that there is simply a different art style applied to these new tracks.
Either way, the visual disparity is striking – and not in a good way. Nintendo set a high bar with the graphical presentation on the original set of courses for Mario Kart 8. Each course felt like a tiny world you could live in – if only you could step out of your kart and walk around. The presentation on these courses was exquisite. As an example of the lower graphical standard on the Booster Course Pass, check out Neo Bowser City (a DLC track for the Wii U) against New York Minute (a Booster Course Pack track):
New and Classic Battle Mode Maps
Among the announced 48 racing courses, no additional Battle mode stages have been announced. This is surprising for two reasons. One, Battle mode was absent from the original Wii U version of Mario Kart 8 and was finally included later on the Switch release. Therefore, it has only seen one update in the 8 years since the Wii U release. The other reason is because Mario Kart 8 Deluxe celebrates many classic elements from previous Mario Kart games.
It would be great to have new stages to battle on and especially ones from older games. There could be a meta-Nintendo crossover by featuring the GameCube stage from Mario Kart Double-Dash!!. Besides that, a Nintendo Switch stage is due! The Joy-Con could detach so the player must glide over to them.