Five years after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was first released on the Nintendo Switch in 2017, the game is finally getting new content in the form of downloadable content. The content is called the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass and when purchased for $24.99 from the Nintendo eShop in conjunction with ownership of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it grants the user access to 48 new courses that will be released eight at a time through the end of 2023. The first wave of eight races came out on March 18, so let’s take a look at how these races stack up and answer the question of if the new downloadable content is worth the price tag.

Paris Promenade (Tour): 4.5 out of 5 stars

Paris Promenade, inspired by Mario Kart Tour, kicks off the Golden Dash Cup with a bang as this is one of the most dynamic races in the content pack. The highlights include driving under the Eiffel Tower, around the Arc de Triomphe and avoiding a giant Piranha Plant. The visual style of the race is incredible as the bright sun illuminates the beautiful streets of Paris. While the actual track is rather mundane and basic, the third lap flips the route around, keeping the race from getting stale and offering a fun moment as you dodge racers going in the opposite direction. Paris Promenade is an excellent addition to the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe race list and is sure to please any Francophile.

Toad Circuit (3DS): 1 out of 5 stars

The Golden Dash Cup continues with Toad Circuit, a rather cookie-cutter race that plays it safe on the whole. The race borders on achieving banality, featuring no challenging twists or turns and having a visual style so uninteresting that you just want the race to be over as soon as possible. The only interesting thing about Toad Circuit is that a boost ramp appears on the second and third laps of the race, slightly changing the strategy as the race progresses. The race is easily surpassed by Mario Kart Stadium and Mario Circuit from the original Mario Kart 8 Deluxe race list as although all three races are straightforward, Toad Circuit is by far the most boring to look at. It would have been much better if this race was replaced by Toad’s Factory from Mario Kart Wii, as that race would do much better justice to Toad’s namesake.

Choco Mountain (N64): 3 out of 5 stars

Choco Mountain is a solid race, as it does many things well, but fails to excel at anything in particular. The visuals are cool as you race through a chocolate-themed mountain, but it feels like more could have been done to embrace the dessert theme and enhance the inherent silliness of the concept. Furthermore, the track is good as you have to dodge falling boulders and navigate a cave, but it starts to feel repetitive after three laps as nothing is done to change the track each lap, unlike the first two races. Choco Mountain is good enough as a race but could have been better.

Coconut Mall (Wii): 3.75 out of 5 stars

The Golden Dash Cup concludes with Coconut Mall, a fan-favorite race from Mario Kart Wii. The race has you drive through Coconut Mall as you pass by shops, flip over fountains and finally exit through a boost ramp in the back. While Coconut Mall is one of my favorite races on Mario Kart Wii, there is something missing with this iteration of the track. It could be the visual style, as the race feels blockier and the colors sharper, or it could be the actual track, as several changes have been made to make the race easier. The new Coconut Mall makes it much easier to see whether the escalators go up or down, and the moving car obstacles at the end of the race have been replaced with stationary cars, taking away from the two most difficult parts of the original race. Nonetheless, Coconut Mall is still a ton of fun but misses some of the magic that made the original such a classic.

Tokyo Blur (Tour): 2.5 out of 5 stars

The second race from Mario Kart Tour gives the Lucky Cat Cup an underwhelming start, as Tokyo Blur lacks the same character that made Paris Promenade such a great race. As the title implies, you race through the streets of Tokyo, but it really is a blur as you go through because there is hardly any chance to soak up the city, which was one of the strengths of Paris Promenade. Although the visuals are lacking, the technical aspects of the race keep it afloat because each lap offers a new route, making the race feel fresh throughout its duration. Tokyo Blur is disappointing but does not get close to reaching the low of Toad Circuit.

Shroom Ridge (DS): 4 out of 5 stars

Hailing from Mario Kart DS, Shroom Ridge continues the classic Mario Kart tradition of having races where you have to dodge real moving cars, taxis and trucks on the course. The race is comparable to Toad’s Turnpike from the original Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but Shroom Ridge is able to improve on this race by narrowing the lanes and giving beautiful green rolling hills to distract you as you navigate a sea of traffic. Shroom Ridge is an instant classic and is easily one of the most fun races in the content pack.

Sky Garden (GBA): 2.75 out of 5 stars

Sky Garden might be the most frustrating race on this to grade because your experience racing on it entirely depends on the speed you choose. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers racers the options of racing on 50cc, 100cc, 150cc and 200cc, with higher cc meaning faster speed. Sky Garden has a rather basic track, making it boring and way too easy for 50cc, 100cc and 150cc, but the race is perfect for 200cc. The quick successive turns are tricky to pull off on 200cc and the bridges lacking guard rails provide a real challenge for even the most experienced racers. Sky Garden is both one of the best and worst races in the content pack, leaving it overall somewhere in the middle.

Ninja Hideaway (Tour): 4.75 out of 5 stars

The final race in the Lucky Cat Cup and the content pack as a whole is Ninja Hideaway. What makes Ninja Hideaway so special are the secrets it possesses, as there are multiple hidden pathways for you to discover. Even playing the race for the 10th time, you might find a new shortcut that you had missed before. Likewise, the race perfectly captures the aesthetic of a Japanese dojo. The only flaws with Ninja Hideaway are that the race is quite short, and you have to be on at least 150cc to be able to fully access some of the secret pathways.

As a whole, the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pack is pretty good, as there are races that are as strong as the best races from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, while there are others that are severely lacking. The best aspect of the DLC is probably the price, as you will eventually get 48 races for $24.99, which is a pretty good deal considering the original game contained 48 races for the price of $59.99. Furthermore, each cup has five Grand Prix tournaments for you to try to beat. If you are a fan of the Mario Kart franchise, then the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Pack is a must-buy for the addition of some great races and its reasonable price.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars