The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass has finally released onto Nintendo Switch, or at least part of it has. Nintendo has explained that this paid DLC will eventually bring a total of 48 additional tracks to the base game, effectively doubling the number of courses you can play to 96 total. The thing is, these tracks will release in six waves and only the first one is available at the time of this article.
After spending time with the Mario Kart DLC, I can definitely say that the Wave 1 content is great fun. But is it worth it to you for the $25 price tag or the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription? That depends on a few things.
Everything included in the Mario Kart DLC
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First off, it's important to know that players must have the base Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game in order to play the DLC content. Wave 1 of the Booster Course Pass brings us the Golden Dash Cup and the Lucky Cat Cup, both of which have four tracks each. There are no additional characters, no new items, and no new vehicle parts. In all likelihood, new elements like these are being kept for when Mario Kart 9 releases, which probably won't be until the next-gen Nintendo console launches.
Five additional waves with eight new courses apiece will launch over the coming months, with the last ones currently slated to release sometime in 2023. The dates for these waves are yet unknown.
|Golden Dash Cup courses||Row 0 - Cell 1|
|Paris Promenade||2019 (Mario Kart Tour, mobile)|
|Toad Circuit||2011 (Mario Kart 7, 3DS)|
|Choco Mountain||1996 (Mario Kart 64, N64)|
|Coconut Mall||2008 (Mario Kart Wii, Wii)|
|Lucky Cat Cup courses||Row 5 - Cell 1|
|Tokyo Blur||2019 (Mario Kart Tour, mobile)|
|Shoom Ridge||2011 (Mario Kart 7, 3DS)|
|Sky Garden||2001 (Mario Kart Super Circuit, GBA)|
|Ninja Hideaway||2021 (Mario Kart Tour, mobile)|
|Turnip Cup courses||Row 0 - Cell 1|
|New York Minute||2019 (Mario Kart Tour, mobile)|
|Mario Circuit 3||1992 (Mario Kart, SNES)|
|Kalimari Desert||1996 (Mario Kart 64, N64)|
|Waluigi Pinball||2005 (Mario Kart DS, DS)|
|Propeller Cup||Row 5 - Cell 1|
|Sydney Sprint||2019 (Mario Kart Tour, mobile)|
|Snow Land||2001 (Mario Kart Super Circuit, GBA)|
|Mushroom Gorge||2008 (Mario Kart Wii, Wii)|
|Sky-High Sundae||Brand New (Coming to Tour in the future)|
Ways to purchase Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass
|Category||Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass|
|Title||Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass|
|Players||Single or multiplayer|
There are two options for acquiring the Booster Course Pass. Your first option is to gain access via a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription. This is what I do since it also allows me to play select N64 and Sega Genesis games and also play the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise DLC. The Individual Membership costs $49.99 for one year while Family Memberships, which gives access to eight Switch accounts, are $79.99 for one year. This is pricey, but if you think you'll get a lot of play out of the other things offered it's a good option. The only other problem with the Expansion Pack route is that you will lose access to the Mario Kart DLC if you don't renew your subscription.
The other option is to purchase the Booster Course Pass separately for $25. It's available at Best Buy or the Nintendo eShop. If you aren't interested in the Animal Crossing DLC or don't care to access the N64 and Sega Genesis games then you'll want to pay the $25 to get direct access to the Mario Kart DLC.
Is the Mario Kart DLC worth buying?
That really depends on how much of a Mario Kart player you are. In my house, we frequently pull this racing game out for family gatherings or whenever friends visit with their small children. It's very approachable thanks to the optional kiddie controls, which allow people of any age or skill level to enjoy themselves.
Because of this playing frequency, my household has become very familiar with the courses the base game offers, to the point of them having lost some of their luster. This makes sense given that the original Mario Kart 8 is eight years old. It released on the failed Wii U in 2014 but then was ported in its deluxe form to Nintendo Switch as a launch title in 2017. Since then the game has enjoyed enormous success, holding the place of the best-selling Nintendo Switch game of all time — 43.35 million units sold as of the latest reporting.
However, that also means it's been five years since the Deluxe version got any significant updates. So being able to check out these new Mario Kart DLC tracks really livens things ups. Not to mention, I've owned just about every Mario Kart game that has ever released over the years, so revisiting some of these remastered tracks is a very nostalgic experience.
I have noticed that some of the details have been changed and not always for the better. The Coconut Mall from the Wii era, for example, is vibrant as ever, but it feels empty without all of the customized Miis cheering you on from the sidelines. Still, these changes don't have any real bearing on the racing experience, which is as fun as ever.
One of the best things about Wave 1 is that it brings three courses from Mario Kart Tour to console for the first time. Running around Paris Promenade and the Ninja Hideaway, in particular, feels so fresh; it's one of my biggest pulls for replaying the Booster Course Pass over and over again. I highly recommend the Mario Kart DLC to anyone who is interested.
Now $25 for just eight new tracks is a bit expensive. But as more waves release on this DLC, the price becomes more justified. That's especially true when you consider that this will eventually double the total amount of courses, almost making this like a second Mario Kart game on Switch at less than half the price of a new game. However, if you want to get as much value for your money, you might want to wait until at least another wave or two has released.
Like many of you, I purchased Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in a bundle with my Nintendo Switch in 2017. I can't even tell you how many times I've played it. So having new nostalgic tracks to liven up this staple has made playing more exciting for me and my family. The $25 price becomes more justified as more waves release, but if you already play Mario Kart a lot on Switch, it's well worth a purchase.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass
The Booster Course Pass will bring 48 new courses to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe over a series of waves. The first wave is already available and includes classic tracks from previous Mario Kart games.
Buy from: Best Buy
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.