Gold Wheels at last! MK8D is done.

Finally The Boy and I have completed Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and collected the Gold Wheels! 2017080820012500-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5See our previous post on Gold Mario (here) for our progress at that point. What we had left to do was beat the ghost set by the staff on all 48 tracks in Time Trial mode. It has taken a long time and a lot of effort but we are there!

2017080820005100-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

Here we both are in a race afterwards showing off our All-Gold Marios:2017080820160900-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

The Top 5 tracks that we found the hardest were:
5. Dolphin Shoals
4. Cloudtop Cruise
3. SNES Rainbow Road
2. Big Blue
1. Wario Stadium
Most of them were reasonably straight forward with whatever character and vehicle customisations you liked but there were a few that really made you have to figure out what characteristics you needed to go with to get the best time. To beat our nemesis, Wario Stadium, we ended up with Bowser Jr, the Koopa Clown kart and Roller tyres.2017080820002100-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

Thankfully it proved to be just enough! The whole process has been a lot of fun – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is such a good game, how could it be anything else?! Now when we play online we can show off our All-Gold Mario to the world!

2017080820150001-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

Click below to purchase Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on cartridge from Amazon.co.uk:

Or click below to purchase a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe download code from CDKeys.com:
Advertisements

Portability For The Win

Let me be clear about something: I love the Nintendo Switch! It has some great games already but what really sets it apart is the portability. The ability to play ‘proper’ games on the go has changed the opportunities that I have to play and how much I enjoy playing.
Last weekend I was in Brussels with the family. Before the Switch this would have meant a few days without games but no longer. Here we are playing on the Eurostar on the journey there:

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Other confectionery brands are available!

Even once arrived, it was easy to play when we were relaxing between bits of exploring, be it in a sports bar:

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Other confectionery brands are available!

Or even in Starbucks overlooking the Grand Place:

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Other coffee brands are available!

Mobile games are fine but touch screen controls are restrictive compared to full controllers. The Switch is the best of both worlds and I would no longer consider getting a game that was available for the Switch on any other system. Why tie yourself to the TV when you can have the flexibility of playing anywhere, any time? I reckon this is exactly what Nintendo was aiming for with the console and they have nailed it. Long live the Nintendo Switch!

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Other beer brands are available!

Click here to purchase the Nintendo Switch from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase the Switch stand that we use from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase Puyo Puyo Tetris from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase Mario Kart 8 Deluxe from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase a code for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe from CDKeys.com:

REVIEW: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • Released: 2017
  • Played on: Nintendo Switch
  • Also available on: –
  • Time to get into: 10 minutes
  • Time to complete: 40 hours
  • Multiplayer: Yes, local and online

Fans of racing games really are spoilt at the moment. If you enjoy braking zones, suspension settings and tyre wear then Forza Motorsport 6 is the best racing simulation game ever. If you enjoy tyre smoke, dodging traffic and open world racing then Forza Horizon 3 is the best arcade racing game ever. On the other hand if you like being on four wheels (or two!) but prefer boosts, shortcuts and weapons then we now have the best go-kart style racing game ever: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! It’s takes everything that is good about the series to the max and puts it both in your hands and on your TV on the Nintendo Switch. It’s not far off perfection.

2017061420015600-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

Recipe
I’ve enjoyed every Mario Kart game that I’ve ever played but for me, until now, Mario Kart 64 was the best. It brought three dimensions to everything that was good about the original and thereafter every tweak to the formula – two characters per kart in Double Dash, motion steering on the Wii, anti-gravity in the original Mario Kart 8 – was fun in itself but didn’t improve the overall racing experience. What Mario Kart 8 Deluxe does so well is bring together the best parts of every installment into one package. The basic racing hasn’t changed since Mario Kart 64, (although it has benefited from enhancements to handing, graphics etc thanks to improved technology) but we now have all the extra ingredients from those other titles in their best format. Take, for example, the two characters per kart from the GameCube version: here we have kept the double weapon boxes, which add additional tactics to the races, but not the double characters, which was complexity for the sake of it. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe you can choose whether to steer with motion controls like on the Wii, or keep it simple with the analog stick. It’s like Nintendo has been tweaking it’s recipe over time and has finally come up with the perfect cake. If you want to know what the cherry on top of that cake is, keep reading!

2017050517262900-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

Grand Prix
The main meat of the game is Grand Prix mode. The game has an entire 48 tracks – many new ones (or at least new in Mario Kart 8) and also a ton remastered ones from across all the previous 7 versions of the game. These are split into 12 Cups for you to go and win by getting high enough places to get the most points over the 4 races. For difficulty you can choose from progressively faster speeds of 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, Mirror (which is the same speed as 150cc but with everything mirrored, left turns are now right turns etc) and 200cc. Together these form a good learning curve – 50cc is very straight forward and 100cc reasonably so as well. After that the game decides that you’ve had it easy enough and there’s quite a jump up in difficulty to 150cc and another up to 200cc. It achieves this in two ways: increased speed but also by giving you a generally harder time of it compared to your competition. You’ll never really notice it in action but the catch up mechanic in the game (whereby you are slightly slowed down and given worse weapons at the front and vice versa) get more active on the faster settings. If that sounds unfair: it is. Deal with it!

My speed is my weapon
It’s important if you’re going to play on the harder settings to accept something: this game hates you! Or at least it does if you’re in first place. But this actually makes the game, as it forces you to get better and faster and to play more tactically, adding more depth to an initially simple game. Making sure you are collecting enough coins, power sliding into double weapon boxes and having a solid defense against those attacking you become the gameplay rather simply corners/straights and accelerating/braking. I’ve actually almost completely stopped using the weapons to attack other racers: I use them for defending and tell myself: my speed is my weapon!

2017050610245401-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

Other modes
Otherwise, you can get stuck into Time Trial mode where there’s a ghost for each track set by the Nintendo staff for you to beat. These are sometimes easy but mostly very challenging and teach you lines and shortcuts you can take back into races. This stuff is important if you want to ‘complete’ the game and get Gold Mario. See another blog post (here) to explain more on him!

You also have Battle Mode. I have never been that bothered by the battling in these games – I just want to race – but again in this game it is tweaked close to perfection. I really enjoy this mode for the first time. The arenas are of a similar ilk whilst each having it’s own unique parts and the different battle types mean that there will be something for everyone. Team games in this mode online are particularly crazy and enjoyable! Shine Thief is my favorite.

2017051522382800-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

The Cherry
So what’s the cherry on top? There are two more things that this game does better than any other: Auto Accelerate and Smart Steering.
Auto Accelerate should be fairly self explanatory. I’m amazed that no game of this type has instigated this before. In a game where you are literally accelerating the entire time in every race, having to hold the button isn’t ideal for either the players hand or the controllers life span. This is such a simple but hugely wonderful tweak.
Smart Steer is a setting for beginners that means that you can never fall off the track. If you don’t do any steering of your own you’ll trail in last so it’s not a game-ruining ‘cheat’. In addition it does actually slow you down in order to ensure you stay on the track, so once you get good and you start pushing the limits of the tracks you’ll want to turn it off as it then becomes frustrating. The reason it’s so great is: The Boy. He’s been able to really dig deep into the game and compete on the higher speeds because of smart steer. It has quite literally made the difference between this being a brief foray in Mario Kart and it being his favourite game ever. That said, I refuse to use it – it feels like reducing the challenge too much from what it’s intended to be but for making the game inclusive for inexperienced or casual players it’s brilliant.

Any flaws?
If I really wanted to get picky I might ask why you can’t swap your your two weapon boxes to use them in a different order. Or why you can’t edit the buttons to your own preference – particularly in multiplayer when you are only using one Joy-Con, they aren’t that comfortable. Or ponder whether the menu system is a bit uninspiring. But really I’m stretching the point. These are tiny problems in the over context of endless fun that this game offers.

2017050112434800-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

Verdict
How else to conclude this review but with this: buy this game. Now. Unless you really don’t like this kind of game, for some crazy reason, this is the essential version. The only question is: how on earth can Mario Kart 9, whenever it comes, possibly be any better?

Review5

Click below to purchase Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on cartridge from Amazon.co.uk:

Or click below to purchase a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe download code from CDKeys.com:

Attention To Detail

One of the things I really notice about great games is the little details. I still remember the first time I played Halo on a demo stand in a shop somewhere and was just amazed by the grass – it looked real! More recently in Uncharted 4 if you stopped to look around, so did Nate:

Enjoying the view from The Gamer Boys on Vimeo.

The game that has struck me with this recently is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Perhaps it is simply the amount of time that The Boy and I have sunk in this title that has me noticing these things but I noticed that after a dunk in some water your character dries out over the next few corners! Here’s Luigi (I’m always Luigi!) just after going through the water:

2017051822512500-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

And here he is after powersliding around the next turn:

2017051822512900-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

I love these things in games that reveal themselves over time.

I am not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg – do I notice these little bits of finesse because the game is great or is the game great because of them? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Click below to purchase Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on cartridge from Amazon.co.uk:

Or click below to purchase a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe download code from CDKeys.com:

Gold Mario!

The Boy has completed Grand Prix mode in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and got his reward: Gold Mario!

2017061213520700-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

You need to get win the championship in every cup in 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, Mirror and 200cc to get your hands on Gold Mario. That is a lot of work! With a bit of help from me, The Boy has succeeded. Most of it we did competitively but towards the end of Mirror and 200cc we started doing what he has dubbed ‘team play’, which essentially means that if I was ahead of him at the end of a race I would let him through on the final straight so that he could win each cup!

2017061213521600-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

The fun doesn’t stop there though. In addition to Gold Mario himself you can also unlock a gold kart, gold wheels and a gold glider.
The Gold Kart is for getting at least 1 star on each cup in 150cc and Mirror. In other words you have to win 3 of the 4 races and be at least 3rd in the other. Some ‘team play’ was employed to get here too!
The Gold Glider is for collecting 5,000 coins overall. That just happens eventually as you play, particularly multiplayer – they rack up quickly there.
Where he is still lacking is the Gold Wheels. For this you must beat the staff times on the time trials on every track. Some of these are hard!! This will take a long time I think, probably just as long as unlocking Gold Mario himself.

He had best get on with it!

2017061919365200-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

 

Playing outside

I was greatly amused when I came across this on Pinterest the other day:

That’s right! Thanks to the Nintendo Switch we can now satisfy the naysayers by officially ‘playing outside’! Hurrah!

However, there is one issue…

20170521_181300

The glare from the sun doesn’t make it easy. The Boy and I tried to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe outside but in the end we had to give up and retreat to the kitchen.

Here’s one more photo that really shows how tricky it was:

20170521_181330

The screen was more reflection than image. This is with the screen brightness maxed out. Perhaps a more shaded area would make it possible but certainly for us in our garden, this is not a viable option.

Click below to purchase Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on cartridge from Amazon.co.uk:

Or click below to purchase a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe download code from CDKeys.com:

Or click below to purchase the Switch ‘playstand’ we use from Amazon.co.uk: