I don’t know about anyone else, but it feels like it’s been forever since the last DLC pack came out. Due out in May, we’ve actually been graced with an early release (for once) from Nintendo! Like the last pack, this one includes 8 new courses, 4 new vehicles, and 3 new racers. This pack is centered around the Animal Crossing series and boy, is it pack with loads of charm. In addition, the game also received an update that added 200cc and a few more Amiibo costumes for the Mii racer. Chim and I had some time to run through everything and discuss our thoughts. So, let’s get to it!
- Villager (Male/Female)
- Dry Bowser
Last pack I felt slightly cheated, as two of the characters were reskins of already existing characters. Sure Tanooki Mario is neat, but did we really need a fourth version of Mario when so many other characters could have easily been put in? No. Same goes for Cat Peach. This time, we received Dry Bowser, an obvious reskin of Bowser. Of course, he looks so cool on his shiny metal skeleton motorcycle and I’m completely giving a pass on this. Villager and Isabelle are welcomed editions to the game, and both feel pretty solid. I’m not crazy about the heavy classes or bikes, so Villager and Isabelle are perfect for me.
- City Tripper
- Bone Rattler
This time around, all four vehicle additions are fantastic. The Streetle is a wonderfully beetle-themed cart. It’s so inherently Animal Crossing while still being kooky enough to be perfectly fitting for Mario Kart. The City Tripper is similar to a Vespa and handles great. Think Mr. Scooty but a little heavier. The P-Wing looks like something out of Speed Racer. It’s sleek and cool, but handles like crap unless you have some weight to it. The Bone Rattler is one of those bikes that handles more like a cart, which means I can actually drive it.
Courses (I know this is all you really want to know about)
- Crossing Cup
- Baby Park makes a return as one of the popular course from Double Dash. This miniature oval-shaped track is simplistic but opens up opportunity to be chaotic in multi-player, especially with items. The track is so small that you’ll have to do seven laps!
- Cheese Land returns from the GBA. It looks completely than it’s predecessor, utilizing the game’s depth-of-field visuals. Plus, it’s made of cheese! It’s neat, but nothing really stands out about it aside from some annoying turns filled with lunging chain chomps.
- Wild Woods stands out as being one of the most memorable courses in this pack… maybe even the game. It’s packed with gorgeous detail and a wonderful score. Sky Guys and Toads are abound in this little woodsy village. Plus, you get to drive around water slides. What else do you need?
- Animal Crossing course provides a nice balance between a simplistic track and a detailed and gorgeous landscape. The course cycles through a different season every time you play it, which can add a challenge depending on the season. It also feels like a huge tease because it’s essentially showing me all the things I could have in a console AC game.
- Bell Cup
- First up is Neo Bowser City, making a return from MK7. It’s a nice change-up of the usual Bowser locations. It somehow manages to be bright and colorful while being dim and grisly. It stands out as being the most frustrating course of the pack… but I want to play it because it looks like a cross between Tron and Tokyo.
- Ribbon Road also returns from the GBA game. It looks like a toy track set up in a kid’s play-room. There various toys strewn about, some of which try to get in your way. There’s detailed little nods everywhere that you’ll have it pay attention to while someone else is playing the track. This is probably my second favorite addition.
- Super Bell Subway makes its debut and adds nothing really special. It’s a fun course and certain sections offer a neat challenge filled with alternate paths that intersect oncoming subway trains, which could spell trouble if you’re not careful. But visually, it’s just… lacking. It’s a subway. It looks like a subway.
- The final course is Big Blue, from the F-Zero series. It’s a straight-shot course, meaning it doesn’t loop around and every section is different. Some people love these tracks; others do not. Personally, I love them. This is the second F-Zero course of be added, and honestly, it feels like a huge tease. It feels so good to play this track; now give me a full game!
We’ve been seeing videos for 200cc, and it looks fast. But you don’t really know just how fast until you’re playing it. It’s insane. It completely changes the game. It throws your timing off. You’ll have to reconsider your vehicle builds. You’ll have to reconsider your character choice if you’re a heavy class supporter, ad these are not designed for them. And breaking… you’re going to have to get used to using the brakes. I’ve never used them before, and it’s really difficult getting used to it. If this all sounds terrible, let me reassure you that it isn’t. It adds a whole new element to this game that I didn’t even think about. You think, “Oh, it just makes everything go faster,” but ti does so in a way that completely changes every decision you’ve made prior. Chim and I played Baby Park with normal builds and it was a mess. But when we went back and changes some carts and parts around, we were able to play much better. We still sucked, but that’s to be expected. We’ll get used to it and you will too!
Final Thoughts: I think I like this pack batter than the previous one. In comparison, it feels like more time and detail was put into this DLC. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been playing Pack one since November and I love it… but there’s just something about this that stands out. It’s like a symphony of charm and an overload of cute; and cute is totally welcomed. Both packs are available for $7.99, or $11.99 when bundled together. For $4 more, you’re better off getting both packs. If you have to choose between the two, I’d go with Pack 2.
EDIT: Unfortunately, Battle Mode has not been addressed. Previous titles in the series had specific closed courses specific to BM, which allowed for some pretty heated matches. While BM exists in MK8, players duke it out on already existing courses. They don’t offer any sort of maneuverability or allow for any real strategy. In fact, most of the timed match is spend trying to find the other player. It’s not awful, but it’s certainly inferior to previous battle modes on earlier titles. And it’s baffling that such a key element of the series was, essentially, half-assed. MK8 is nearing it’s one year release and with all the extra content, it’s still feels fresh and exciting. They could easily create another couple DLC packs in the future over making a whole new game. I just hope that, at some point, Battle Mode is updated to its proper self.