Here's What's New in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Nintendo has announced a slew of new features coming to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, its enhanced version of the Wii U racing title starring the titular plumber. There's quite a bit new here, enough that people who already own the original may want to take a serious look at upgrading.

The game will release on April 28 for $60. Here's what differentiates it from the first game:

Credit: Nintendo

(Image credit: Nintendo)

New Characters, Karts and Items

There will be five new characters in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Inkling Girl and Inkling Boy (of Splatoon fame), King Boo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr. That brings the total of playable racers to 42. The two characters from Splatoon bring along special Karts for the rest of the crew inspired by their game.

Some fan-favorite items are returning to the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, including the Feather, which lets you do high jumps and hasn't shown up since Super Mario Kart in 1992. We'll also see the return of Boo, the ghost that steals items from other players. And if you like to hoard your items, you'll be happy to know that you'll be able to hold two items at once.

MORE: Best Nintendo Switch Games at Launch (and Beyond)

Battle Modes

The new and improved battle mode system will take advantage of the Switch's online services, which will be free until the fall. Besides playing online, you can also have up to 12 players in LAN mode if you have multiple systems. Rather than battling on the game's existing tracks, like the original game, Deluxe will offer eight battle arenas.

The games include Renegade Roundup, a new entry that has one team try to put the others into a prison; Balloon Battle, a Mario Kart classic that has players pop each others' balloons; Bob-omb Blast, which has Mario and friends lob bombs at each other; Coin Runners, in which you try to collect more coins than anyone else; and Shine Thief, where players try capture the Shine Sprite from Super Mario Sunshine and hold onto it for 20 seconds.

A New Racing Wheel

Since your Wii Remote won't work with this game, Nintendo will be releasing its Joy-Con wheel accessory for $14.99 for a set of two. It will launch on April 28, the same day as the game.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.