Mario Kart 8 turns over a New Leaf

Galen Alaks, Layout Editor

In the second Mario Kart 8 dowloadable content (DLC) pack, a horde of Animal Crossing characters and Dry Bowser take to the tracks. From an underground train station to a Shy Guy Village to a child’s bedroom, Mario races in everything from a beetle to an undead ATV. Animal Crossing x Mario Kart 8 is here!

This DLC pack is incredibly impressive. From the tracks to the characters to the vehicles, everything about this DLC pack is terrific. As before, here are all the goods in the DLC pack.

Whoa, that's neat.
Whoa, that’s neat.

The tracks are some of the best in the Mario Kart series and all are amazing. The Crossing cup features a Double Dash favorite, Baby Park, returns with even wilder music that speeds up with every lap. Seeing this course with anti-gravity to encourage aggressiveness and twelve racers is an awe inspiring sight. Cheese Land, one of the highlights of Super Circuit, returns and is now set in a canyon. Gliders and Chain Chomps make this course striking. Wild Woods is an Endor-themed course but with Shy Guys. Nuff said. Animal Crossing is a relaxing and beautiful season-changing course with a grumpy mole. Although I haven’t played an Animal Crossing game, this course remains as one of my favorites.

The Bell Cup starts off with Neo Bowser City. Thunder and crazy backgrounds make this track even more imposing than its 3DS appearance. Now shrunk down as a mere toy, Ribbon Road is really beautiful and obstacles and shortcuts make it even better than the original. With wonky shortcuts leading to rides on top of and around trains, Super Bell Subway is one of the best DLC tracks. Finally, last but not least, Big Blue ends the DLC pack with a three-section race entirely in anti-gravity. The course takes you upside down so the ocean looks like the sky and there are tons of shortcuts involving daring drops off of the course. It’s magnificent.

The characters are also really neat to play as. Villager has two different outfits to use, having a male and female version, and the Villagers even have different stats! Isabelle is also a pretty cool character and the only lightweight DLC character. And finally, the big macho honzo of them all, Dry Bowser, joins the race as well. In HD with a glowing shell and fire-breathing tricks, Dry Bowser is even cooler than he was in Mario Kart Wii and an extremely welcome addition to the game.

The vehicles are also really awesome. The beetle-based Streetle is a really neat car, and the P-Wing makes you feel like you’re going really fast with its awesome design even after you hit a banana on 50cc. The City Tripper is a surprisingly fast vehicle with cool designs for each character. Finally, the ATVs get a much-needed fourth member with the breathtaking and intimidating Bone Rattler. The Paper Glider and Leaf Tires are also very stylish and cool.

All in all, this DLC pack is almost perfect. While I am still surprised that there were no courses with underwater sections, I wouldn’t want this DLC pack any different. This April 23, it appears that Mario Kart 8 has breathed its last breath of new content. But look at it all! Six characters, seventeen new costumes, eleven vehicle bodies, three sets of tires, two gliders, sixteen courses, nineteen amiibo costumes, and even 200cc. Mario Kart 8 itself is an awesome game, but with all the additional content, it is perfect.