Well folks, it’s here. After years of updates and new tracks, the final wave of DLC for the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass is now available to play.
And on the face of it, it’s got everything you’d want in an update. Four new characters, including fan favourites like Diddy Kong, Funky Kong and Pauline? Check. Classic tracks from all over the series, including such bangers as GCN DK Mountain, SNES Bowser Castle 3 and Wii Rainbow Road? Check.
Hell, they even threw in a music player and Mii costumes to sweeten the deal! It’s an ambitious update for sure, and one of the most ambitious waves of the whole DLC.
But how does it hold up? Is this the ultimate wave of DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? The amazing sendoff that ends a classic game in style?
Or is it another disappointment, like the first few waves were?
Let’s find out!
Starting with the part everyone cares about the most; the tracks. These have been a hotly contested part of previous waves, with later ones like Riverside Park and Yoshi’s Island blowing early ones like Toad Circuit and Tokyo Blur out of the water on both an aesthetic and level design level.
Fortunately, the tracks from wave 6, are way more like the former than the latter. Indeed, not only do they generally look base game quality overall (with SNES Bowser Castle 3 being a particular stand out), but they play more interestingly too, with even the generic Tour city tracks feeling like they actually fit in a Mario Kart game.
And this is in large part due to how they actually make use of Mario related elements in interesting ways and have you drive through parts of the cities you might not have expected to visit. For instance, Rome Avanti has you go through the Colosseum and dodge deadly Chain Chomps, before avoiding Rocky Wrenches and Fuzzies in the streets, while Madrid Drive has you cut through a football stadium, avoiding giant footballs kicked by Shoe Goombas along the way. It’s a great setup, and one that leans way more into the wackiness the kart racing format can bring.
Meanwhile the retro tracks have seen quite the upgrade too. This is especially noticeable with Wii Rainbow Road, which looks as amazing as you’d expect it to in HD, but they’re all pretty well done here, with the soft pastel vibes of Daisy Circuit and the rugged mountain terrain of DK Mountain all giving their respective tracks that bit more flair than usual.
What’s more, it’s not just a visual upgrade either. No, the tracks have actually had new shortcuts and features added. These include whole new shortcuts in DK Mountain and Rosalina’s Ice World, plus new objects and mechanics in the other courses. So not only do they now look a lot more like they belong in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, they also feel like 8 Deluxe courses too, with the kind of level design tweaks you’d expect from a more recent Mario Kart title.
And we can’t forget about Piranha Plant Cove either. Oh no, this Tour track is another modern classic, and probably one of the best underwater levels the series has ever seen. With a layout sending you all over the place, a setting oozing with atmosphere and enemies from all across the Mario series out to stop you, it truly feels like the peak of Mario Kart Tour’s track design, and a course that just works perfectly in 8 Deluxe’s engine too.
In fact, that last part is probably more important than ever here. Cause you see, in previous waves, there was often a feeling that the track design didn’t quite… work in 8 Deluxe’s engine. Okay, the tracks were certainly driveable, and you could definitely navigate them with some practice.
But places like Ninja Hideaway, Squeaky Clean Sprint and many of the city tracks didn’t feel like they were made with 8 Deluxe’s engine in mind. You’d have corners that were way too sharp to take at high speeds without slowing down, obstacles that took a bit of memorisation to get used to, and turns that weren’t always easy to read if you hadn’t played the track already.
Meanwhile, others like Merry Mountain felt like they were too big for 8 Deluxe, with a layout that was so wide and open that players would spend a good 10-15 seconds just driving in a straight line with little to keep them occupied. So regardless of how you cut it, the balance just felt a bit off.
Wave 6’s tracks don’t seem to have this problem. Nope, not only were we able to navigate them with ease on our first ever attempt, but we never ended up getting lost, slamming into a wall or hitting an obstacle we had no chance to avoid either. Even on 200cc, they just flow well in 8 Deluxe, and it’s a major step up in quality because of it.
Musically it’s as great as ever, but that doesn’t even really need to be said at this point. Every wave of DLC from the Booster Course Pass has had amazing music so far, to the point that even the worst looking, least exciting tracks in the game at least sound phenomenal music wise.
Regardless, they just nailed it with this wave once again. The upgraded themes for Rome Avanti and Madrid Drive sound great, as do the ones for DK Mountain, Rosalina’s Ice World, SNES Bowser Castle 3 and Wii Rainbow Road to name just a few. And best of all, you can listen to them at any time now as well!
Since a sound test has also been added in the latest update. Accessed from the main menu, this lets you listen to any song from any track or battle arena in the game, Booster Course Pass or otherwise. Heck, you can even use it without owning the DLC, and listen to certain song variations individually!
It’s a great feature, and it definitely highlights the amazing soundtrack this game has. However, it does have one minor flaw nonetheless.
That being, you can’t listen to non-track related songs this way. Nope, the menu themes, credits themes, etc aren’t in the music player, and cannot be listened to like the other songs. Same goes with the Shy Guy chanting variations of tracks like Shy Guy Falls and Sunset Wilds.
Ah well, it’s not a huge deal. The feature was only added in the DLC, and it’s a free bonus with a lot more work put into it than you’d expect, so not being able to listen to non-track/arena related songs isn’t the end of the world here.
Especially given the roster upgrades this wave has gotten. Indeed, you know how the last wave added Kamek, Wiggler and Petey Piranha to the game?
Yeah, this one just goes out and adds a whole four newcomers instead. Now we’ve got Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, Pauline and Peachette joining the fray too!
And these guys are great. Not only are they all incredibly well animated with some amazing trick animations (Funky Kong poses with his surfboard for goodness’ sake!), but they all sound awesome too, with all new voice lines seemingly chosen for this game. Add the fact they bothered to add biker outfits for the female characters, cleaned up the roster layout and added a dozen or so more Mii outfits on top of all that, and well, they’ve definitely put a lot of work in the new characters and content here!
They’ve also put a surprising amount of work into some surprising other inclusions too. These include an all-new credits sequence for the Booster Course Pass, plus an option to invite people to friend rooms with 4-digit codes. They’re great additions, and they make the game even better than before.
So yeah, that’s wave 6 of the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass for you. It’s an amazing finish to the DLC pack, and one that finishes a long but steady redemption arc for the product. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already!
Either way, what do you think of wave 6? Which characters and tracks are your favourites this time around?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below, on social media, or on our Discord server today!