I won’t lie to you – whenever I hear that the new courses drop, I drop everything, round up some friends and crawl behind my Switch. I didn’t always have that sentiment, though. The first wave was mediocre when it was released, so I originally didn’t really care about playing wave two right away. However, Nintendo proved me wrong. Waves 2 and 3 brought stellar tracks, most notably Rainbow Road 3DS and a large number of great tracks from Mario Kart Tour. New York Minute, Sydney Sprint, and Berlin Byways quickly grew to be some of my all-time favorites.
So you’ll understand my lineup when I saw that this track graced us with 3 new Tour Tracks! But that begs the question, which of the 8 new tracks stands out? Which ones should you vote for when you’re playing with friends or strangers online? Fret not – I’ll thoroughly rank them all for you! The ranking is by my tastes, of course, but I’ll especially look at originality, uniqueness, and used remake potential. So, with the formal introduction out of the way, let’s get to the meat of this wave. Let’s get to ranking wave 4 of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Courses Pass!
The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass is available for $25, or as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack.
Riverside Park (GBA)
Riverside Park is far from a bad track, it’s just the most boring one. I usually have high hopes for Super Circuit remakes. The original device on which they release didn’t let the developers do many crazy things with the tracks themselves, let alone add flavor or appeal. However, contrary to tracks like Snow Land and Boo Lake, which had a lot more visual appeal on the Switch, Lakeside Park just feels like a very generic, boring jungle track. To its credit, it improved a lot compared to the GameBoy Advance version. The caves are a cool feature, but they aren’t enough to make this track great.
The laps are pretty short, only about 40 seconds, and there isn’t a lot going on. Some ramps, some drifts, and a small gliding section. There are walking piranha plants that serve as simple stage hazards, although they can drop mushrooms when they’re hit, which can be interesting in a competitive setting. Even the music, while not bad or annoying, just feels like standard Mario Kart jungle music. In all, this track is just a little too generic for my tastes, which is why in this wave, it’s ranked last.
Mario Circuit (DS)
This track takes me back. Mario Kart DS was the very first Mario Kart game I played, and this track serves as a bit of a standard for how I remember that game felt. I’ll admit that I was a little surprised that Nintendo went for this track, of all the ones to choose from. Sure, it’s more original than the Figure-8 Circuit, but it’s still nowhere as creative as circuits like Airship Fortress. Still, the retro charm this course has works miracles for it.
I do love that it’s not an outright copy of the DS version. Although it’s very similar to the Mario Kart Tour remake, it’s worth pointing out that the little forest section Tour added makes DS Mario Circuit feel a lot more dynamic. Add the fireball-spitting Piranha Plants, and you have a track that despite all its simplicity and similarity still feels dynamic. It’s not revolutionary, but that’s not always necessary. I like this circuit.
Waluigi Stadium (GCN)
This course is a mess. A perfect mess, if you ask me. At this point in the ranking, I’m starting to feel bad ranking courses toward the lower end of the list. Waluigi Stadium has so many ramps, trickable areas, and speed boosts that it fits the dirtbike stadium sense perfectly. The constant applause you get whenever you do a huge trick makes this circuit insanely fun to race on. The added anti-gravity overhanging areas make sure the experience of this track remains fast and frantic at all times. And the upbeat jazz music that’s playing makes it all the better.
One thing I have to point out before I can move on to the next circuit is the beautiful textures Nintendo applied to this stadium. In the previous Gamecube and Wii versions, the dirt fell flat a little. Contrast Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! With water puddles everywhere, uneven dirt terrain anywhere, and constant hills, the course brings its sentiments across very well. It’s rough, it’s unregulated, and it’s very Waluigi. However, there is one track later down this list that does Waluigi Stadium’s job a little better, which is why it ranks here, at number six.
Bangkok Rush (Tour)
Ah, the first tour track! Bangkok Rush has everything that I love about Tour Tracks. It has the immense liveliness and flavor that comes with driving through a city, the varied laps, and slapping music. The track is immensely varied, from sections through (and over) markets, bright city districts, and beautiful Thai architecture. Like every good city track, it makes me want to hop on a plane to Bangkok and experience the real deal. Especially the wet market at the beginning is such a nice touch.
So why rank it lowest of the three new Tour tracks? A lot is going on in Bangkok Rush, maybe even a bit too much. It can be very difficult to see where you’re going or which right you have to turn. The many tight turns make it tricky to correct when you figure out that you’re orientating the wrong way. That can make this circuit frustrating to race on, which is why its placement is here.
Amsterdam Drift (Tour)
I won’t deny that I’m a little biased toward my home city. But this course is just so bright and overall cute! It grabs all the most colorful and stereotypical bits from Amsterdam and its surroundings and mashes them together in the single most cartoonish depiction of the Netherlands that I’ve seen in a while. I love it though. There’s something about racing past buildings you frequent regularly that feels great.
The course itself is nicely varied. Amsterdam Drift nicely uses the underwater driving mechanic to have you navigate through Amsterdam’s many canals. In the last lap, you emerge in a massive tulip field, mills and all, that brightens even the darkest days. With its bright tones and music, this track serves perfectly as the first track of the second half of the Booster Course Pass.
DK Snowboard Cross / DK Summit (Wii)
Remember when I said that there’s a track in this course that does what Waluigi Stadium does, but better? Yeah, that’s DK Snowboard Cross or DK Summit for my North American friends. Trick! Trick! Trick! The tricks don’t let up in this course. Almost the entire circuit features half-pipes, which lets you do tricks all the time. I happen to love doing stunts in Mario Kart, and man does this track let me.
The music accompanies the sporty atmosphere that DK Snowboard Cross has to it. It feels like you’re snowboarding down a slope, after being blasted on top of it through a massive cannon. Compared to the Wii version, this iteration feels more dynamic, more sporty, and more flamboyant. This circuit is worth driving on.
I can’t rank this original track low. Original is the word I’d use when describing this track – it brims with it. From the original music when the race starts and finishes, to the return of Yoshi’s Island mechanics and Yoshi’s Island enemies, this circuit just feels like you’re exploring the original Super Mario World 2 game in Mario Kart.
And it’s not like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is just Yoshi’s Island-ifying a simple course, either. It’s a very varied course, with underwater segments, glider parts, loads of different enemies and hazards, and even interactive elements that can change the circuit’s layout. This track is great. It shows what Nintendo is capable of if they set their minds to making something inspired. And it almost takes the top spot, if it weren’t for…
Singapore Speedway (Tour)
Everything. Everything in this track makes it a great finalizer to this wave. If you’ve seen my previous lists and saw my love for New York Minute, you won’t be surprised that I love Singapore Speedway equally. Singapore Speedway simply wows me with the amount of flamboyance the city has. There are brightly colored neon lights everywhere, crazy luxury spectacles, and beautiful city districts. Like Bangkok, Singapore proves a sight to behold in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and it makes me want to experience the real thing.
It’s this exact flamboyance and spectacle that makes this circuit a blast to drive through. Anywhere you drive, you find something crazier, more flashy, and more colorful. It makes me want to drive on and see more, and fly over more beautiful structures. I was a little sad when I reached the finish. And you know when a track is great if it makes you want to come back for more.
So there we have it, my ranking for wave 4 of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass! All and all, itś another very solid wave, and the upward momentum of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe waves has certainly been preserved. But what do you think? Which courses of this wave are for the history books, and which will soon be forgotten? Let me know in the comments!