Monday, November 13, 2023

Booster Course Pass Vol. 2 Discussion

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course 2 graphic with multiple course images and characters + kart artworks

The Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is over and while there is currently no reason to believe that Nintendo might continue releasing DLC for the game, it's still worthwhile to discuss the possibility. All of the contents in the Booster Course Pass were originally made for Mario Kart Tour. In some cases the courses may have been made for both games at the same time, but first and foremost they have been porting over the things from Nintendo's mobile game.

And there is a lot more left where it came from... Courses, characters, Mii racing suits, but also costumes for characters, and lots of different kart parts, where we have seen anything of the last two in the Booster Course Pass.

Mario Kart Tour won't be forever, where the game has already entered a "content loop" since early October, which means that no new courses, drivers, karts and so on will be added to the game. Because of this, interest will decrease and it's only a matter of time until the service will be shut down, sharing the same fate as Dr. Mario World. And when that happens, it will be nice to have as much of it in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as possible.

Also, the Booster Course Pass is certainly one of the selling points for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack, where it's in Nintendo's own interest to keep this going for at least another year, until the successor to the Nintendo Switch (and potentially a new Mario Kart game) are ready for the world.

Mario Kart 8 will also see its tenth anniversary in 2024. And what better way to celebrate the longest living and best selling Mario Kart game in existence than with more content?

More Courses

By porting over courses to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, they are not only making them more accessible, freed from the limitations of the biweekly tours, they are preserving them for the future, for when Mario Kart Tour is no more. And with the Booster Course Pass they have focused on the original courses, first and foremost all 14 cities, combining their individual courses into one.

Piranha Plant Pipeline in Mario Kart Tour

The job wasn't entirely done, however, where one original course still remains with the Piranha Plant Pipeline, also known as "Pipe Canyon". In addition, there have been a number of remixed courses, based on the different themes present in Super Mario Kart (and the Bowser's Castles from Mario Kart: Super Circuit), which can be seen as original courses as well.

The majority of what's left are the retro courses, but this may even be what some people had expected from the Booster Course Pass when it first got announced in February of last year. 20 of the 48 delivered courses then turned out to be "new", at least to those who haven't played the mobile installment, leaving not as much room for beloved fan favorites, like DS Airship Fortress.

Here's a list of what's still left to be found in Mario Kart Tour, other than Piranha Plant Pipeline. You can also take a look at it all on the excellent Super Mario Wiki.

As you can see, there is some really good stuff left, including N64 Koopa Troopa Beach, GBA Yoshi Desert, GCN Dino Dino Jungle, DS Luigi's Mansion, DS Airship Fortress, Wii Dry Dry Ruins, 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar, and 3DS Wario Shipyard. Additional DLC would be worth it for these alone. GBA Bowser's Castle 4 has also gotten a similar treatment to SNES Bowser Castle 3, where this would be another great pick.

They could also make up for the lack of tracks from certain Mario Kart games in the Booster Course Pass, first and foremost Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64, which only got two each. And Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart DS were only given three. Put this against the eight courses from the favored Mario Kart Wii, which now would only see one more addition to balance things out a bit.

And speaking of getting sidelined, Luigi could finally get a racing course to his name, where other than DS Luigi's Mansion there are two of his circuits available in Mario Kart Tour, N64 Luigi Raceway and GBA Luigi Circuit. The man deserves at least one of these.

Of course, they could be saving some of it for the next Mario Kart game, but for that they probably won't be porting over the versions from Tour and instead remake them from the scratch for the next console generation, which means that the Tour versions will be lost eventually. And by now it's also fine when courses re-appear multiple games in a row. Just because something got into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe via the Booster Course Pass, doesn't mean that this course is out of the question for the next Mario Kart.

3DS Bowser's Castle

What caused most of the repetition is that many courses came from Mario Kart 7, which seemingly was used as a basis for Mario Kart Tour. In fact, with the exception of the two Wuhu Island tracks, all original and retro courses from the Nintendo 3DS can also be found in Tour. In less than five months, from April 2024 onward, we won't be able to play Nintendo 3DS and Wii U games online any longer, which includes Mario Kart 7. This gives a potential second Booster Course Pass additional value, where a big part of Mario Kart 7 could live on in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, potentially swaying over those who are still playing the 3DS title online.

Here it's actually a good thing that 3DS Rosalina's Ice World was brought in via wave 6 as a big surprise, because otherwise there would have been an overabundance of 3DS (and ice-themed) courses left to consider, making this the Mario Kart Wii of the second pass. But with this swap things could actually get more balanced and it's already easier to puzzle together a number of new cups.

Not everything will be eligible or worth having, though, where especially all the SNES and RMX courses are prone to some redundancy in themes and visuals. We don't really need SNES Mario Circuit 1, 2, and 3 all in the game, for example, the latter should be enough. We also don't really need four more beach-themed courses, but at least one of them would be nice to have in addition.

With that in mind, there is not enough content left for full 48 courses. Best that we can do, without having too much redundancy, is maybe half a Booster Course Pass, three more waves spanning 2024, offering six cups with 24 additional courses. But that's perfectly fine and more than enough, because in two years we might be already looking at the successor to the Nintendo Switch, where the next Mario Kart game will become a big topic.

RMX Ghost Valley 1

As for the RMX courses, they could serve the same purpose as the city tours in the original Booster Course Pass, where each cup could come with one remixed course. They are more three-dimensional and are generally more interesting than the remaining SNES counterparts, with the best examples being RMX Ghost Valley 1 and RMX Vanilla Lake 2. It would be a good way of featuring the remaining themes and music from Super Mario Kart, without adding various boring, short, and flat tracks.

Even with the corresponding theme already present, they might want to give the RMX courses a shot, because they still offer something unique. This is mainly the case with RMX Donut Plains 1, which feels very different from SNES Donut Plains 3 with its gigantic lily pads. RMX Bowser's Castle 1 on the other hand doesn't hold a candle to much more polished GBA Bowser's Castle 4, one of the latest additions to Mario Kart Tour.

It may also be possible to combine the RMX courses of the same theme into one, like it was done with the different courses for each city. It's not the same thing, since you're not taking different routes through the same map, but these courses are so simple that it should be possible to put them together somehow into one longer track. Take RMX Rainbow Road 1 and 2, for example, which could then be used for the final cup.

Finally, it's not out of the question that they might make something entirely new for a second pass or maybe give us something that was originally planned for Mario Kart Tour, but didn't make the cut. Of course, any larger efforts are best saved for the next game, but they could continue the trend of giving us one "new" / unlabeled course per wave. And similar to the RMX courses, they could make extensive use of existing assets to throw something together. As an example, imagine a new final course based on the infamous Champion's Road from Super Mario 3D World. That would be crazy,

About cups, it's surprising how easy it is to find more power-ups for cup names, even if we're just going by items from Mario Kart games:

  • Mega Mushroom Cup
  • Ice Flower Cup
  • Shine Cup
  • Bullet Bill Cup
  • Boo Cup
  • Blooper Cup
  • Bob-omb Cup
  • Super Horn Cup
  • Crazy Eight Cup

There's enough there to cover what we need, where some of it may even become a fantastic fit for what courses there are left. For example, a "Boo Cup" could come with RMX Ghost Valley 1 and/or DS Luigi's Mansion. And the Crazy Eight would be a great choice to end things for Mario Kart 8 after ten years, honoring the game with a cup that will most certainly remain exclusive.

More Drivers

You may argue that there aren't enough (interesting) courses left in Mario Kart Tour for a second Booster Course Pass, but when looking at the characters we certainly get a different picture, because they've covered only about half of the unique characters that were introduced to the mobile game.

  • Captain Toad
  • Chargin' Chuck
  • Dixie Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Hammer / Boomerang / Fire / Ice Bro
  • King Bob-omb
  • Meowser
  • Monty Mole
  • Nabbit
  • Poochy

With Donkey Kong Jr. we even have one more classic character left, but this is a weird one, because he looks like an animated SNES sprite in 3D. This may not work or look absolutely horrible in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In any case, there are enough options left to fill an entire new row of eight more characters at the bottom of the current character select screen.

Chargin' Chuck artwork

They could split this up into three waves again, similar to the first Booster Course Pass. The first wave could feature the Hammer Bro, where the other three Bros are added as alternate character variants, like they did with Birdo and all her colors. The second wave could have another monster trio with Chargin' Chuck, King Bob-omb, and Monty Mole. And the final wave could focus on different heroes with Captain Toad, Nabbit, Poochy, and finally Dixie Kong.

This isn't even taking all the character costumes into consideration. Mario Kart Tour has tons of them, where they could add a variant to almost every character in the game. There's Dr. Mario, Builder Luigi, Wedding Peach, Aurora Rosalina, Gladiator Donkey Kong, Vampire Waluigi, Cowboy Wario, Pirate Bowser Jr., Astronaut Toadette, White Tanooki Mario, King Boo from Luigi's Mansion 3... The list goes on and on. It's crazy and they could make good use of this as well.

Speaking of costumes, the last wave of the Booster Course Pass saw the addition of new Mii racing suits and here we have a very similar picture to the characters. They didn't even cover half of them and there are some weird omissions:

There are several suits left based on the base game characters, like Dry Bones or King Boo. The latter glows in the dark, which is really cool. Waluigi could be added via amiibo, like Daisy in update 3.0.0, where it's odd that they left this out for some reason, which may even be an indicator that they are still planning for more updates and DLC.

This time they could also split this up into multiple waves. One wave could focus on the Koopalings, for example, while the last wave comes with the suits based on the new characters, like Nabbit or King Bob-omb. And there is some other cool stuff left, like the Fish Bone Suit, which they could mix in there.

As for the Bronze, Silver and Gold Mii Racing Suits, those could become an unlockable bonus for scoring the respective trophies in all cups for all modes in the game. This actually makes so much sense that it's also weird that they haven't done this already, similar to the Waluigi Suit.

More Vehicle Parts

Let's come to what's probably the most important part, because this is something the Booster Course Pass didn't even look at: Mario Kart Tour has over 300 karts and over 200 gliders. To be fair, these numbers include many color variants, but there is still a lot of stuff in there with a good mix of classic karts from previous Mario Kart games and also a large number of new karts.

Yellow Taxi from Mario Kart Tour

This could even become the big focus of a second round of DLC. Instead of a "Booster Course Pass Vol. 2" we could be looking at a "Booster Kart Pass", which also happens to add some more characters and courses along the way. This would completely justify the continuation of the DLC.

There are two problems with this, however. One is that the karts in Mario Kart Tour come with pre-selected tires. It may not be as easy to port them into the customization system of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, where every tire can be combined with every kart. This might even be the reason why the Booster Course Pass doesn't have any vehicle parts to offer, but it looks like everything is based on Mario Kart 7 anyway, where they had the same system. In the least they could have given us the missing karts from that game and also a variety of gliders, where those should work in any case.

The second issue is that there are no bikes in Mario Kart Tour and this is a big problem, because Mario Kart 8 Deluxe first and foremost lacks inward drifting bikes. There are only five in the game, one of them being the original Master Cycle, and with a DLC focused on vehicle parts you'd expect to get the Dolphin Dasher or the Magicruiser, where Mario Kart Tour doesn't have those. They could repurpose Kamek's Zoom Broom into a bike, but that's about it...


There is just so much stuff left in Mario Kart Tour that they could easily entertain another season of DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It wouldn't be entirely the same thing, though. There wouldn't be as many courses, maybe only half as much. The characters would all be new ones from the mobile game. And they may even focus on adding more karts over anything else. But that's not necessarily a bad thing and would help to make a second pass more distinct from the first one.

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