The Animal Crossing x Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2 will arrive on the starting grid earlier than expected tomorrow, and, in a rather lengthy post, we’re giving you a handy breakdown of everything that awaits you!
Villager first wandered wide-eyed into our lives back on GameCube, when Animal Crossing’s addictive and cheerful nature first struck a chord in the west. Granted more mayoral responsibility in his, or her, most recent outing, Villager largely spends their time watering plants, fishing, uncovering fossils, catching insects, and abruptly slamming their shovel into nearby rocks in the hope of finding gems. More importantly it’s all about building your town while getting to know the animals that inhabit it, but let’s see if those friendships last when you repeatedly slam Red Shells into them…
Animal Crossing: New Leaf‘s trusty secretary Isabelle will join Villager in a race to the finish line. Always willing to help whenever necessary, even if slightly absent-minded, we’ll soon see her competitive side as she looks to take home any of Mario Kart 8’s coveted Cups. We’ll be wary of her permanent smile, clearly part of her deception when she eventually swerves straight past us.
Having first appeared in New Super Mario Bros. after tumbling into a lava pit, Dry Bowser is an undead, skeletal version of Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom nemesis. A returning racer, Dry Bowser has previously taken to the courses in Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, also displaying sportsmanship in the Mario & Sonic and Mario Party series as well as Mario Tennis Open. We still wince in fear whenever his bones rattle as he roars…
Presumably in reference to Dry Bowser’s bone-rattling roar, this sleek metallic silver and purple bike is as mean as they come. Seemingly styled around Bowser’s own villainous design, menacing red eyes will glare at your rivals as you speed your way around each course.
Mopeds are back in style, with the City Tripper matching the colourful but minimalist pattern that once decorated the Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3DS XL. It’s a sturdy but reliable vehicle, with a handy place for storage on the back to keep any shopping that you’ve bought on Main Street.
This slick sportscar packs plenty of punch, taking direct inspiration from P-Wing item that has been seen throughout the Super Mario series. It’s had many different uses in allowing Mario and Luigi to take to the skies in their Raccoon forms, but later became an assist block in Super Mario 3D Land that let struggling players warp to the end of a course. It has no similar tricks in Mario Kart 8, but is a furiously fast addition to your garage.
The most peculiar addition, Streetle shares everyone’s love for collecting bugs in Animal Crossing. There’s no net onboard, but the quirky beetle-inspired design easily makes this one of our favourites.
Crossing Cup (2 new tracks, 2 retro tracks)
Fans called for it, and Nintendo dutifully responded. Baby Park’s back, the Mario Kart: Double Dash! course being one that everyone had enjoyed whizzing around. Now entirely in anti-gravity it’s still reliant on speed, intricate details in your surroundings making it feel as if you were in a theme park – rollercoasters zipping by overhead, and a tall castle looming in the distance reminiscent of Disney World.
Cheese Land makes a return from Game Boy Advance’s Mario Kart: Super Circuit, a course entirely made out of the nation’s favourite dairy product. As to which specific cheese Nintendo have used is unclear, but the course is welcomingly reimagined adding in anti-gravity sections and glide panels for a more dynamic race.
Racing across enormous trees, soaring through Shy Guy village, and travelling downstream is exactly what Wild Woods provides. Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2’s first new course makes us feel miniscule in the undergrowth surrounding us, peppered with shortcuts that will allow yout to keep ahead of the competition.
Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 2’s headline act, Animal Crossing will easily be seen as the pièce de résistance. The season will randomly be chosen every time you select the course, whether that be spring, summer, autumn or winter, with familiar animal characters cheering you on and K.K. Slider strumming away in the background. Mr. Resetti will burrow up to throw you off track, any gathered Coins being thrown into your character’s Bell bag – although this is only an aesthetical touch. It’s a wonderful homage to Nintendo’s town simulator, and a course that we’re certainly excited to take for a spin.
Bell Cup (2 new tracks, 2 retro tracks)
Neo Bowser City / Koopa City (3DS)
Spruced up since Mario Kart 7, Neo Bowser City receives a decisively detailed conversion to Wii U. It’s unsurprising that the shift from Nintendo 3DS has had such clear benefits, everything basking in the neon glow that showers every corner of Bowser’s futuristic cityscape.
Ribbon Road (GBA)
Mario Kart: Super Circuit’s Ribbon Road joyfully closes out the returning tracks, the Game Boy Advance course being painstakingly recreated and adding in a ridiculous level of detail. Players now race around a toy set placed in a child’s bedroom, Mario Kart 8 posters decorating the walls, Yarn Yoshi amiibo sitting on shelves, and Mario toys lining the course. There’s even a Build & Play Ribbon Road kit in the background, making this delightful conversion feel more like something plucked straight out of Disney Pixar’s Toy Story. Not that we’re complaining, it’s an absolute visual treat.
Super Bell Subway
Super Bell Subway takes inspiration from the feline power up that was first introduced in Super Mario 3D World. Racers will initially start in the station packed with self-referential posters, before later speeding their way along graffiti-laden subway tracks where moving trains will threaten to block your path.
I was surprised to see F-Zero make another appearance, but after the resoundingly positive response to Mute City I’d say it was understandable! Built around a large island and concluding insider a floating spaceship, this is another point-to-point race like Mount Wario and will see you drive throughout in anti-gravity. You will once again need to rely on charge tracks to build your Coins, concentrating on the road ahead rather than marvelling at your surroundings. Nintendo’s live Big Blue recording is the perfect musical accompaniment, an insanely sensational blend of electric guitar and saxophone riffs.
Animal Crossing x Mario Kart DLC Pack 2 will be available on Thursday 23rd April priced at £7.00 ($7.99), joining last November’s The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack 1. Both can be purchased as a discounted bundle for £11.00 ($11.99), with those that buy each pack receiving eight-coloured Yoshi and Shy Guy characters as a bonus.