This is the definitive edition version of Mario Kart 8, and a must buy for those who never owned the Wii U version. For those who already own the Wii U version, the changes may or not be worth it depending on what you're looking for. Without further ado here are the list of changes compared to the Wii U version:
1. 1080p with higher frame rate* when docked (TV mode) instead of 720p (on Wii U). Tabletop mode it's still 720p. Frame rate TV mode is 60fps, off TV mode is 59fps. Yes, one frame makes a difference when comparing side-by-side and/or when you have been playing dozens of hours of the original
2. 5 new characters: King Boo, Bowser Jr, Dry Bones, & Inklings (Boy and Girl)
3. Characters can now carry up to two items at once, even if they don't drag the first item
4. Double Item Box. Get two items when you run through a double item box or two singles. Note that you cannot swap items back and forth
5. "Smart Steering" A mode that prevents you from running off course or into a puddle of water. Good for toddlers or young children getting into the game (especially on the rainbow road courses). If the Smart Steering mode is on, the player's vehicle will have an antenna sticking out its rear end. The antenna blinks when Smart Steering is active.
6. "Auto-accelerate" for beginners. Can be used in conjunction with Smart Steering, essentially you don't have to hold down the accelerate button. Again, good for young children who just want to drive through the track without any stop-gaps. Works well when using the wheel peripheral
7. All DLC (from Wii U) included. Everything is unlocked from beginning except kart parts and Gold Mario. Kart Parts are unlocked by playing through the game and collecting coins. Gold Mario unlocked by winning all of the 200cc grand prix cup
8. Time Trials in the 200cc engine class have been added. Also added are new ghosts of Nintendo employees to race against
9. Ultra Mini-Turbo, denoted by pink/purple sparks that appear after the orange sparks which makes you boost significantly faster. Cannot be used with smart steering on
10. Online Play. -Option to change character and vehicle combinations during an online lobby without having to leave/exit out; this is done by pressing the "Y" button during the course selection screen of an online lobby.
- You can see what lap everyone is in, in spectator mode if you finish early
-When you win a match you get to wear a crown in the main online menu screen for everyone in the lobby to see. Hat also present when you're in the lead during a match
- More icon packs for tournament mode
11. Faster loading times. Just a few seconds, but it adds up overtime. If you purchase Mario Kart Deluxe digital over the physical you get 1-2 secs off each track loading screen
12. New amiibo compatibility. You now get racing suits when scanning in specific amiibo
13. Boo and feather (battle mode only) item return to the game
14. You get the same 48 courses racing courses. But you get 5 additional new battle stages in battle mode + 3 retro stages
15. The Villager in now split between male and female selectable characters with different stats bringing the roster to the total of 42 characters (excluding character variants. Example: different color yoshis/shy guys, create your own mii, etc)
16. Graphical change: Motion Blur, High Quality Shadows, Confetti now drop to the ground showing animation at start of match
17. Battle mode: Biggest change in terms of gameplay. There are 4 battle mode game types:
-Balloon Battle. Traditional Arena Style (no more battling in a circle) Mario Kart Battle mode where you use items to pop your opponent's balloons or steal them via feather item in order to score points.
-Renegade Round Up. Cops and Robbers style setup. One team with the potted piranha plants try to capture all the other team before time runs out. Once captured your teammate can also free you from your jail cell
-Bob-omb Blast. Same as balloon battle, but you only carry bombs
-Coin Runner. Collect as many coins in the stage as you can before time runs out
-Shine Thief. A keepway style game where you have to hold the Shrine Sprite the longest before time runs out. The driver holding the shrine sprite will have their speed lower the longer they hold it
==Additional notes: - There's 4 player split screen in docked (TV mode) and handheld/table top mode. Note that the screen for table top mode is really small and may be a problem for those who are far-sighted. When playing 2 player it's 60fps, 3 or more on the same screen it'll drops down 30fps
-There's no Download Play, so you have to play split screen or have another copy of the game if you don't want to share the same screen or play more than 4 players
-Stamps do not make a return since the Switch doesn't have miiverse
-No more gamepad/duel screen when playing TV mode, so this time around you cannot see what items everyone is holding by glancing down
-No voice chat (as of this review) unfortunately. Was present in the Wii U version with mic hardware (which no one bought). There's supposed to be a smart phone app that takes advantage of voice chat, but no word yet from Nintendo
-Statistics of the vehicle parts and drivers have also been changed to make game more balanced
-Other balance changes: Fire Hopping have been removed: An exploit in the Wii U version where you can repeatedly hop from left to right to get extra speed from turboboost.
Blue shell dodge exploit still present. It's when you fall off the cliff the last second the blue shell is about to hit you, it'll save a lot of time recovering from the hit. Note this cannot be done when smart steering mode is on
If a Blooper is about to ink the player as they cross the finish line, the player will still get inked.
Red Shell Nerfed: If you're holding an item behind you while in the air, you can block a red shell
Easier to break while drifting (advanced tactic)
-Luigi still has his signature death stare
If there's anything I missed please put it in the comments.
Overall, i personally think the best additions are the enhanced battle mode and the portability aspect as I can now play during my break period and commute to work. I already sunk in over 300+ hours on the Wii U version and the upgrade is totally worth it for me as I got more than my money's worth in the original game on Wii U and plan to sync 300+ on the Switch version especially with the ease of use due to it's portability, and 100+ more hours of play in battle mode play with housemates. Well that is my personal perspective, so if you are in a similar situation it's a very good buy. If not, I hope the list of changes helped you in your purchasing decision