Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass Wave 4 reviewed and ranked
The DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe really hits its stride with Wave 3, dropping the best courses we’d seen in the Booster Course Pass. From the brilliantly simple reinvention of Boo Lake to the charming Christmas-themed jaunt that is Merry Mountain, it was going to be tough to surpass what Nintendo brought players in that wave.
Depending on who you ask, Booster Course Wave 4 might actually be the best set of tracks yet.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass Wave 4 (Switch)
Released: March 9, 2023
MSRP: $24.99 (or part of Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack)
With a brand new track inspired by one of Nintendo’s most cherished franchises, Wave 4 has several stand-outs in its collection, including two beautiful tracks from Mario Kart Tour and a Mario Kart DS charmer I’d honestly forgotten all about. So, as I have done with Waves 1, 2, and 3, I’m reviewing and ranking each track from the fourth wave of Mario Kart 8 DLC, covering the Fruit Cup and the Boomerang Cup. And because she’s finally making her debut in Deluxe, this review will be all about Birdo.
8. Amsterdam Drift (MKT)
We’re starting off with a cheery track set in the Red Light District-less city of Amsterdam from Mario Kart Tour. As we’ve seen with most of the other tracks based on real cities of the world, Amsterdam Drift combines three different versions of the track from the mobile app into its three-lap race. One quick drive around the track will show you this course contains almost everything we stereotypically associate with Amsterdam, including tulips, windmills, and canals, the latter of which make up a huge chunk of the second lap of this race. All-in-all, Amsterdam Drift is a fine, if unexceptional track. It’s certainly better than a couple of other Tour tracks that have made the jump to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, especially at higher speeds, but there are superior ones to be found in Wave 4.
7. Riverside Park (MK:SC)
There are probably better tracks from Mario Kart: Super Circuit to choose from than Riverside Park, but I have to hand it to the developers for the wonderful job they did with its conversion to 3D. This brief jungle course has plenty of tight turns and little jumps to contend with, but the big feature of the track comes at the end with a huge 360-degree turn up a mountain and out a waterfall.
On the GBA, this was a flat and not-too-special turn. In revisiting the track, the developers have transformed this final turn into an excellent set-piece that really lets the track stand on its own. Still, Lakeside Park would have been the better of the two to bring to the Booster Course Pass. Fingers crossed it shows up in one of the final two waves.
6. Bangkok Rush (MKT)
Bangkok Rush is a wonderful addition from Mario Kart Tour that offers up some of the most challenging turns I’ve seen yet in this DLC collection. Like all of the city courses, it offers up some charming recreations of real locations from Bangkok, including the famous Chao Phraya River and a Talat Rotfai.
The way the developers have incorporated these features into the race is brilliant, but what’s absolutely stunning about this track is how it gives players so many different routes they can take. Each lap will let players go high or stay low in certain sections, and there are benefits to both. Staying low gives you a lot more space to work with, but going high might help you win the race if you can master those corners and tight corridors. This track will be an absolute blast online and I can’t wait to see how players find the best route through it.
5. DK Summit (MKWii)
To many, DK Summit is one of the stand-out tracks from Mario Kart Wii. This reimagining of Double Dash’s DK Mountain as a downhill slalom sends racers careening down a snowy snowboard course complete with halfpipes, moguls, and other skiers to get in your way. It’s an absolute blast on 200cc, and it would likely be ranked higher here if my brain would just stop comparing it to Mount Wario, which takes the downhill ski concept and runs with it to places this track never could.
Still, I appreciate the changes the developers have made to the track, including reducing the width of it in many spots, because, like a lot of the tracks from Mario Kart Wii, the original was way too wide. That said, I do wish the snow in the final section would have kept its original size because now it’s too easy for players to skip using the halfpipe altogether.
4. Mario Circuit (MKDS)
Are there other tracks from Mario Kart DS I would rather have seen in this wave? Of course. We still don’t have Airship Fortress or Delfino Square. But prior to racing through this in Wave 4, I had completely forgotten what Mario Circuit looked like in that game. It’s a highly forgettable track, which is why I’m so impressed with the glow-up it’s received with its appearance in the Booster Course Pass.
The best features of the track are still here, namely the fireball-spitting piranha plants, but an entire section of this course has been reimagined as a serene forest. It’s truly stunning to race through this track, and I love the addition of the sleeping Wiggler that wakes up and starts stomping around on the final lap. Maybe I’m being a bit too generous with this placement, but there is something so relaxing about this track that I can’t help but love it.
3. Singapore Speedway (MKT)
Singapore Speedway is the opposite of relaxing. This is a full-throttle race with an incredible sense of verticality that’ll have players gliding across the neon-lit cityscape. Like with Bangkok Rush, the way the track incorporates the sights of the city into the race is stunning. In the first lap, you’ll go flying to the top of the Marina Bay Sands resort and race in its rooftop pool.
The second lap includes a stunning and drift-friendly drive through a glowing Chinatown while the final lap sends racers careening on the city’s Gardens by the Bay. I would have ranked this track a spot higher, but the final lap does go on a bit longer than it should with a second trip to Chinatown. But beyond that, this is one of the best Mario Kart Tour tracks to make the jump to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
2. Waluigi Stadium (MK:DD)
Like with Mario Circuit, there are other tracks I would have rather seen from Mario Kart: Double Dash in this wave of DLC, including the outstanding Wario Colosseum or Mushroom City. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see Waluigi Stadium back on my television screen. In fact, the changes made to the course improve it over its previous appearances in Double Dash and as a classic track in Mario Kart Wii. Waluigi’s Stadium has seen some much-needed renovations and the new nighttime setting is exactly what this course needs. The addition of two raised sections, one at the end of the halfpipe and one right before the final jump of the course, creates new opportunities for players to take the lead in the extremely tight races. It’s a solid addition, and I’m happy we didn’t have to wait for this one to show up in Mario Kart Tour before it was added here.
1. Yoshi’s Island (MK8DBCP)
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s not every track that receives its own article written by Chris Carter. But when a track is this good, it deserves to be celebrated as much as possible. Yoshi’s Island is easily the best track we’ve seen in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass. It is a brilliant reimagining of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island as a Mario Kart track, and the way the developers have incorporated so many things from that game and its sub-series sequels into the race should be celebrated. In fact, my jaw dropped for a good 45 seconds the first time I realized I could trigger the secret red path at the end of the track and jump through the flower ring. It’s a brilliant design with so many wonderful small features that I can’t help but love it. In both design and personality, Yoshi’s Island is a winner.
And hey, if we can get a track based on this Mario spin-off, maybe we can get a track based on one of the Wario titles. I mean, could you imagine Warioware or Wario Land: Shake It! as a Mario Kart track?
[This review is based on a retail version of the DLC purchased by the reviewer.]
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