Ahead of holidays, Nintendo releases a third wave of new tracks for “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe”

A surprising Custom Items rule and a nerf to the Lightning item


Courtesy of Nintendo

The third wave of the Booster Course Pass released during the holiday season and fittingly includes Merry Mountain, a Christmas-themed track.

Elie Aoun, Copy Editor

On Dec. 7, Nintendo released a third wave of new tracks for “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” as part of the “Booster Course Pass DLC,” just as it had done for the previous two waves. This wave includes eight new tracks and a few unexpected changes to the base game.

The Lightning item was nerfed, making it unable to close a player’s glider when struck midair. Before this change, getting struck by the item—colloquially called being “shocked”—while using a glider would cause a player to fall out of bounds and suffer a huge setback. This new debuff means that players who have fallen behind can no longer “target shock” players in the front of the pack who are on a glider section in order to catch up. “Target shocks” have been an important strategy in the franchise since at least “Mario Kart Wii,” and while some have praised the change, others are displeased with its competitive implications.

The most notable addition alongside the new tracks is the option to enable a “Custom Items” rule before beginning a set of races. If toggled, this option allows players to manually remove any items they want from the game. Players can also have the game randomize which items are available, causing every set of races to run differently. The feature has countless applications from allowing players to disable the almost useless Coin item to creating a hectic race with only Blue Shells. The “Custom Items” feature has been universally praised by the community for being a fresh feature in the game that can be tailored to the desires of every player.

Like the previous two waves, this DLC (“downloadable content”) includes two Grand Prix with four tracks each, bringing the total number of DLC tracks to 24.


The Rock Cup

This Grand Prix begins with London Loop, a city track from “Mario Kart Tour.” The track contains numerous famous landmarks, including Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower of London and Nelson’s Column. As is the norm with city tracks, London Loop takes racers on very different routes each lap, which is jarring for new players. The road is mostly clear with the exception of a few iconic red buses and colossal Chain Chomps guarding the streets. There are only a few shortcuts through sections of grass, and the aesthetics of the track are nothing special. Still, the track’s rock music is upbeat and fresh. In total, the track is enjoyable but lacks anything particularly exciting in its layout.



The next track is Boo Lake from “Mario Kart: Super Circuit” for the Game Boy Advance. The DLC version of this track actually resembles the “Mario Kart Tour” remake, and both are drastically different from the original on account of their large underwater sections and steep elevation changes in certain areas. The track’s layout presents a few challenges for racers, especially on the sharp U-turn in the middle of the lap. Boo Lake sadly suffers from being too short—the world record time is around one minute—and has no obstacles and only a single practical shortcut. The music is eerie and fits the track’s spooky vibe, but not much else can be said about the track as a whole.



The third track in this Grand Prix is Rock Rock Mountain from “Mario Kart 7” for the 3DS. The track is exciting to play, with multiple glider ramps, a massive grass shortcut, a rare glider shortcut and tumbling boulders in an uphill mountain section. The columns of rocks and swarms of bats in the cave section keep the track challenging. The music is wonderful and the lush visuals of mountains and forests are stunning. Rock Rock Mountain is a joy to race for players of all skill levels, and it has earned its place as an iconic track in the franchise.



Regarding iconic tracks, few can surpass the legacy of the Rock Cup’s final track, Maple Treeway from “Mario Kart Wii.” Nintendo succeeded in adapting this legendary track for “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” without making any fundamental changes, except for swapping the net section before the finish line for a glider section. The DLC version of Maple Treeway retains everything that made the original track amazing: the long curvy turns, the infamous half-pipe, the two giant Wigglers and the leaf piles that drop items when hit. The track’s visuals and music are breathtaking. This difficult and nostalgic track ranks among the best in the entire franchise.



The Moon Cup

The second Grand Prix begins with Berlin Byways from “Mario Kart Tour.” Players begin facing the Brandenburg Gate and can drive through many famous monuments, including the Victory Column and the Oberbaum Bridge. This track’s layout changes every lap, and the inclusion of moving cars can make it a grueling experience to drive. There are several Thwomps scattered throughout the track to crush players and several grass shortcuts. Berlin Byways’ techno music and visuals are below average for the DLC, and the track itself presents many challenges while not being remarkable.


Nintendo fundamentally altered the classic track Peach Gardens by forcing racers to drive backward on the third lap, a fresh change that has received mostly positive praise (Courtesy of Nintendo)

Next comes Peach Gardens from “Mario Kart DS” and later “Mario Kart Wii.” This track is iconic in its own right and retains many of its most noteworthy elements in the DLC, including the grass shortcuts, Chain Chomps, giant Piranha Plant and Monty Moles. However, Nintendo made a monumental change to the new Peach Gardens by forcing players to drive through the track backward on the third lap. The track’s alteration has been received positively by most fans. The calm music sets a nice tone for the track, and the bright visuals are a pleasant sight. Peach Gardens is certainly a welcome addition to wave three of the DLC.



Nintendo made sure to include a Christmas-themed experience with the next track, Merry Mountain from “Mario Kart Tour.” This festive course takes players up and down the same mountain each lap, with Christmas iconography such as candy canes and presents strewn all over the track. The track has a few shortcuts, but it lacks any significant obstacles. Near the start of the track, the road briefly splits into two possible paths, which adds depth to the course. The music and visuals are fitting for a track meant to evoke feelings of Christmas cheer, but Merry Mountain lacks any exciting elements beyond its aesthetic.



The third wave of DLC tracks ends with the iconic version of Rainbow Road from “Mario Kart 7” for the 3DS. This track deserves nothing but praise, as the experience of racing on Saturn’s rings and the surface of the Moon is unmatched. The numerous Glide Ramps and Dash Panels keep players alert and excited while they drive and glide over the celestial spheres. The track’s vibrant visuals are a strong contender for the best in the whole game, and the electrifying music complements the experience of racing in space. 3DS Rainbow Road was the perfect pick for “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” and its inclusion sets a high bar for Nintendo’s future DLC waves.