When you first dive into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, you’ll probably be surprised to see every single character (except for one special Mario) is unlocked from the moment you start up the game. Unlike the Wii U version of Mario Kart 8, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is chock-full of great characters you can use from the beginning of your racing career without winning cups — including all the DLC characters from the original game, like Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link from The Legend of Zelda, and the villager from Animal Crossing.
Thankfully, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe doesn’t just stop there. The game also introduces six brand new characters not previously available in the series, which you can access immediately, for a grand total of 42 playable characters (excluding character variants). Here’s a look at every new racer added within Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch and how to unlock the illustrious Gold Mario for your collection.
King Boo is the leader of the Boos and best known for his appearance in the Luigi’s Mansion series, where he serves as the arch enemy of Luigi and an ally of Bowser. He’s one of the lightest characters in the heavyweight class, alongside Rosalina and Link.
Dry Bones are skeletal versions of Koopa Troopas, who you’d normally find in towers and castles throughout the Mario series. First appearing in Super Mario Bros 3., Dry Bones have made their way into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as one of the lightest characters in the game along with Baby Mario and Baby Luigi.
Also known as Koopa Jr., Bowser Jr. has always done his best to help his father (Bowser) kidnap Princess Peach and fight both Mario and Luigi throughout the Mario games. Playable for the first time following his appearance on Bowser’s ship in Mario Kart 8, he’s a lightweight character like Koopa Troopa and Lakitu.
Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl
A race of squid-based humanoids who live in Inkopolis, Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl are both from Nintendo’s Splatoon and make their first appearance in the Mario Kart series as playable characters in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Both are medium-weight characters, complete with signature ATV bodies you can unlock while playing them in-game.
First seen in New Super Smash Bros. 2, Gold Mario was a powered-up form for Mario that you could use to defeat almost every enemy in the game while simultaneously getting the ability to shoot exploding fireballs, which turned enemies and blocks into coins. Now, he’s made his way over to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as the game’s only unlockable character. To claim Gold Mario as your own, simply complete every cup in 200cc and rank first place — which will unlock him as a variant for Metal Mario.