mario kart 8
Image via Google Images
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mario kart 8
Image via Google Images

It’s back! The game is back and better than ever, with new and revamped maps to keep everyone on their toes.

If Nintendo as a brand was known for only one thing, it would 100% be for the Mario franchise. From the Super Mario Bros. games to the collection of Mario Party games, the list that Nintendo has curated for the Mario franchise is extensive. Generations of gamers have come to love Mario, his friends, and his foes. But still, some Mario games remain more popular than others. One of their most notable games remains to be Mario Kart; it has seen many different versions and ideas over the years, but as of 2022, Mario Kart 8 for the Nintendo Switch remains one of the most popular.

The Origins

Super Mario Kart was originally created in 1992 as an SNES game. There would go on to be a handful of incarnations of the beloved premise, but things really started to kick into gear between 2005 and 2008 when Nintendo released Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii. The games were always popular and always warranted the creation of new versions as the years went on. Finally, Mario Kart 8 was released in 2014 for the Wii U. With all-new maps and characters, Mario Kart 8 was a game changer for the franchise, and a game that will stick around for many years after its release.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

When the Nintendo Switch came out in March 2017, there was a flurry of speculation as to what games Nintendo would choose to reboot, remaster or rerelease on the new system. Without surprise, Mario Kart was one of the first games to be brought up in connection to the new Switch system. Subsequently, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was released in late April 2017 as an “enhanced port” of the original 2014 game for the Wii U. Nearly five years after the Mario Kart Switch version came out, Nintendo announced a two-year project that consists of 48 additional maps (or 12 additional Grands Prix) to be released in eight map increments all the way into 2023. While most of the maps are from previous games, Nintendo still assured fans there would be all-new tracks for players to master.

As of August, two of the planned six “waves” of new tracks have been released. The 16 tracks that have come out feature races from old games with one completely new track also added into the mix. Here is a look at all 16 tracks to help you decide whether or not the Mario Kart Deluxe Booster Course Pass is worth $24.99.

Wave One

As previously stated, each wave will include eight tracks split between two new Grands Prix. Wave one’s Grands Prix are named the “Golden Dash Cup” and the “Lucky Cat Cup.” The first Grand Prix includes the following four tracks:

Golden Dash Cup

  1. Paris Promenade: Based on the Mario Kart Tour (2019) mobile game, this track features the tourist sights of Paris.
  2. Toad Circuit: Based on the 3DS track from 2011, this track is a fan favorite and one that had already been rereleased when the Mario Kart mobile game came out. It is a rather basic circuit, but it is cute, quick, and fun.
  3. Choco Mountain: A 1996 classic, the N64 track was originally a part of Mario Kart 64. With updated graphics, this track feels both nostalgic while also feeling brand-new.
  4. Coconut Mall: Arguably the most anticipated track to be included in the Booster Course Pass, the beloved 2008 Wii track has returned to the game in an epic fashion. Not only is it the concluding track to the Grand Prix but it also features the exact same song that fans, specifically the Gen Z ones, have loved for many years.

Lucky Cat Cup

  1. Tokyo Blur: Starting in a similar fashion to the Golden Dash Cup, this track is from the Mario Kart Tour game released in 2019. The track is obviously inspired by Tokyo, Japan, as players move through a fast-paced track that requires some attention to detail.
  2. Shroom Ridge: 2005 DS classic Shroom Ridge also makes a return. The track features the racers driving among heavy traffic, adding an extra level of difficulty to the already-cluttered track.
  3. Sky Garden: This track has already seen a handful of versions, first being released in 2001 as a part of the Super Circuit game. The track was brought back in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Tour before being included in the new Booster Course Pass. The cloudy map is fairytale-like and fun to look at, especially when comparing it to the 2001 graphics.
  4. Ninja Hideaway: While this map certainly feels new, the Ninja Hideaway was released as a relatively recent update for Mario Kart Tour in 2021. The one-year-old track will feel foreign to Mario Kart fans that have not been playing the mobile game.

Wave Two

Wave two brings in an additional eight tracks with two more Grands Prix titled the “Turnip Cup” and “Propeller Cup.” The most recent update brings the following eight tracks to the table, with the first-ever brand-new track also in this wave:

Turnip Cup

  1. New York Minute: Keeping on trend with another city map, the Mario Kart Tour map based on New York City is a great debut track for the second wave. It is colorful, fast-paced and offers a handful of challenges to players, making it an interesting first track choice.
  2. Mario Circuit 3: A new version of the SNES classic. Just like all other Mario Circuits before it, the basic but familiar track features simple turns, very few obstacles and a little bit of repetitiveness.
  3. Kalimari Desert: Another 1996 fan favorite, Kalimari Desert is a Western-style track that features a moving steam train, rock tunnels and other desert obstacles.
  4. Waluigi Pinball: An epic ending to the Grand Prix, Waluigi Pinball — originally seen in the DS Mario Kart — is a neon light filled track with so many bumps and obstacles that it is almost no telling who will win the race. The track offers up a number of dangerous obstacles that make it hard, even for a veteran player.

Propeller Cup:

  1. Sydney Sprint: Staying on the trend of starting off with a location-themed track, Sydney Sprint is another track from the mobile Mario Kart Tour game. It features the popular landmarks of Sydney, Australia (such as the Opera House), while including the bright sun and fun atmosphere that one would find in Australia.
  2. Snow Land: Another 2001 Super Circuit map makes its way into the Booster Course Pass with the inclusion of Snow Land. The icy track is not the first of its kind, but it will offer a difficult set of challenges as players will slip and slide easily around the track.
  3. Mushroom Gorge: Another Gen Z fan-favorite, Mushroom Gorge was first seen in Mario Kart Wii back in 2008. The adorable track features colorful and bouncy mushrooms that players can embrace or avoid.
  4. Sky-High Sundae: The first ever new track to be released as a part of the Booster Course Pass, Sky-High Sundae is a Candy Land style course that is made entirely of ice cream. It is cutesy and colorful — definitely a fun way to conclude the Propeller Cup.

It is safe to say that the Booster Course Pass has already included some important tracks, some tracks that fans have been known to love and some that are brand new. There is something for everyone in this game and many would argue that the current 16 released tracks make the pass worth it alone, not even accounting for the other 32 tracks to come.

Writer Profile

Janey Schmidt

Columbia College Chicago
Bachelor of Arts in English

I have always been an avid reader no matter the format. I am especially eager to read, write, and talk about all things fantasy!

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