Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Family-friendly racer gets large update with bonus content.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 24 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Can foster, spur on friendly competition, healthy socializing, strategic cooperation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Features heroes, villains from Nintendo universe but doesn't have motivation positively, negatively outside of winning race.

Ease of Play

Simple control scheme, but tricky to fully master.

Violence & Scariness

Players use "cartoony" power-ups (bombs, turtle shells, fireballs) to block opponents' progress. Some attacks result in vehicles spinning out, flipping into air. Comical yelps, colorful explosions accompany action.


Features characters from various Nintendo properties, which could get players interested in picking up those games.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a racing game. It stars iconic game characters from all over the Nintendo universe, who drive go-karts around outlandish and imaginative tracks. There's some violence with fireballs, shells, and other animated weapons, but it's cartoonish in nature and there's nothing graphic shown. This is a port and extended version of the 2014 Wii U game, providing lots and lots of supplemental content, bonus features, and visual enhancements. There are also some much-welcome refinements made to the online play.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bynuenjins January 15, 2018

Amazing game with a few irritating ticks.

This is by far the biggest and best Mario Kart and still retains it's 4 player split screen for families and friends which is becoming more and more rare t... Continue reading
Adult Written byCarley L April 3, 2020

Great game for everyone

This game is fun and suited for everyone. I'd say it's best to start at age 5 or 6, just depending on how well the child's motor skills are for h... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byStorey07 April 25, 2020
For Christmas two years ago my grandpa got Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for us. The best family and friends game ever. Must buy it.
Kid, 12 years old April 14, 2020

The definitive Mario Kart

Absolutely amazing. A switch must-have.

What's it about?

As a racing game, MARIO KART DELUXE 8 has no real narrative. You play as one of 42 -- yes, 42 -- characters and can compete in races on 48 courses, five battle modes, and extensive online modes. In the races, obviously, your goal is to reach the finish line through speed or strategic use of weapons, such as dropping a banana on the track to slip up opponents trailing behind or hitting a series of jumps for a temporary speed burst. In the battle modes, you want to be the last racer standing on tracks designed for games of cat-and-mouse hunting.

Is it any good?

This definitive version of the popular racing franchise brings hours of fast-paced fun to the palms of your hands. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an interesting cross-pollination of previous entries and course corrections on a few lacking (or completely missing) modes of the 2014 Wii U version. If you're unfamiliar with the lineage, all you need to know is that this entry is wacky, frenetic, and a lot of fun. In the racing modes, each track is given a healthy amount of variety, not only in their frequent branching paths offering alternate routes but also in the strategy in customizing your vehicle. Most stages have areas where your car (or motorcycle) will flip into a hovercraft, go underwater, or go careening through the sky with a paraglider. You can change up each of these different modes for your car, plus the wheel size and chassis. This, on top of the 42 characters available, means you can fine-tune but also explore for quite a while to find your winning combination that works for your play style. There are also lots of variants in the battle modes (coin runners, shine thief, balloon battle, renegade roundup) -- which were noticeably anemic in the original Wii U version. Here, most of them are great. Obviously, with so much sheer stuff in this game, not everything will be a smashing success. The only minor knocks against it are the inability to customize your control, how dull single-player will be for series veterans, and the fact that while there are tons of characters, many of them are uninspired (baby versions of characters, characters wearing different costumes). Still, Mario Kart is Mario Kart, meaning it's a blast and madcap fun to play for hours and hours and hours. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about older works being given a new coat of paint. Even when it's done lovingly and adds extra value, why is this such a popular approach to releasing new products for entertainment companies? 

  • What do you notice about the way you interact with other people when you play a game such as Mario Kart against people in the same room versus people you play against through the internet? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love racing

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