Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is now available on the Nintendo Switch, bringing a whole new batch of characters to the game, a few needed gameplay tweaks (like the ability to hold two items), and most importantly: a completely revamped Battle Mode to challenge your friends in. Instead of following the Wii U version of the game by using normal tracks that kept players too far apart for the game modes to work properly, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe opted to bring eight maps specifically designed to support the organized chaos Battle Mode is known for at the core of the experience.
There’s a grand total of five game modes in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Battle Mode which all work really well within the confined, tightly packed maps available. You’re able to steal coins from players while sliding by in your kart, try to get close enough to pop each other’s balloons, and blow each other up in Balloon Battle, Bob-omb Blast, Shine Thief, and Coin Runners. But the best of them all is a new team-based mode called Renegade Roundup, which is essentially Mario Kart’s version of cops and robbers.
Every match of Renegade Roundup starts by placing you on a team of six players and telling you to either escape the law or capture the renegades attempting to hold out until the timer runs outs. Each round lasts around 3 minutes, and there’s a grand total of 4 rounds by default. Naturally, the team to capture the most renegades and avoid being captured the most across the entire match takes home the golden trophy.
When you’re playing as one of the cops in Renegade Roundup, you’ll have a gigantic piranha plant on the front of your kart with a tiny police light atop its head you can use to capture renegade players and put them in jail. Simply get close enough for your plant friend to grab a player, and they’ll automatically be locked up in a jail somewhere on the map.
What keeps things interesting throughout the match, however, is that every free renegade driving around the map can break their friends out of a jail cell by ramming a large blue button sitting underneath a cage, adding a layer of strategy to an otherwise relatively straightforward game mode. The cops have to plan out how to best keep those they’ve caught in a jail cage, while the renegades have to avoid or lure them away to break their teammates free.
As you might expect Renegade Roundup gets a little crazy when you’ve got every cop chasing a single renegade trying to break their friends out of jail, especially when you add in the dozens of random items like the Fire Flowers or Red Shell you can use to gain a leg up on the competition. I often found myself hunting down renegades with my teammates using shells in tandem, or boosting quickly between cops with a mushroom to break my friends free from jail again and again. Honestly, things are always chaotic regardless of the player matchup, and that’s what makes for a fantastic Battle Mode which is plenty of fun to play. It’s a welcome addition to the roster and one which works incredibly well in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.