Eighth time lucky for ‘Mario Kart’

The eighth entry in the long-running “Mario Kart” series first came out in 2014. Now a deluxe version is headed for Nintendo Switch, with the appropriate title “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.”

Ever since “Super Mario Kart” was released in 1992 on the Super Famicom, the franchise has delighted players with battle-meets-racing mechanics in games where your ability to chuck banana peels is just as import as your driving skills.

This deluxe version includes all the downloadable tracks and characters that were originally released for “Mario Kart 8” as well as new vehicles and racers — King Boo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr., and a boy and girl Splatoon Inkling. The release also looks better than ever, running at a crisp 1080p and 60 frames per second at all times.

Tweaks to gameplay include giving players the ability to carry two items (instead of just one) and karts that have an optional driver-assist function that makes sure you don’t accidentally fall off the track — a great addition for small kids. The Battle Mode has also been overhauled to make the action easier to follow and more enjoyable.

The real reason to get “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe,” however, is to keep your Switch busy after finishing “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” More Switch titles are coming, but in the meantime, this should hold you over.

“Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” will be released on April 28 for ¥6,458.


Get ready for a massive atttack

After a four-year wait, the “Attack on Titan” anime’s second season has finally begun airing on television but, if that isn’t enough, then you’ll be excited to hear that the franchise is getting a new 3DS game, too.

“Attack on Titan: Escape from the Brink of Death” (“Shingeki no Kyojin: Shichi Kara no Dasshutsu”) isn’t the first game version of the series — it’s not even the first 3DS one. But, developed by Koei Tecmo with the anime show’s staff, it does feature a totally original story.

The Survey Corps. are, of course, still combating giant Titans, but this time they are outside the city’s defensive walls and checking out a mysterious castle. Things get dicey when your character ends up separated from the other Survey Corps. members.

Priced at ¥6,254, “Attack on Titan: Escape from the Brink of Death” will be released on May 11. For hard-core fans, Koei Tecmo is also releasing a special “Treasure Box” version that comes with a book of visuals, posters, pin buttons, a soundtrack CD and downloadable voices — all for ¥13,944.


Gamers may be ‘Dark Souls’ searching for the last time

The “Dark Souls” games are famous for two things: being excellent but also notoriously hard. Don’t let that put you off the latest edition of “Dark Souls III,” though. After all, series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki has announced that this will be the last “Souls” game that he will make.

Other developers at his From Software studio may pick up the reigns, but as far as Miyazaki is concerned, he’s moving on to other projects.

The “Dark Souls” games are among the most important of Japanese releases in the past 10 years, because when “Demon’s Souls” was released in 2009, some Western gamers were in the midst of suggesting Japanese games, save for a very few exceptions, could no longer compete internationally with other high-spec console releases.

Miyazaki proved that to be dead wrong.

“Dark Souls III: The Fires Fade Edition” comes with the game, which was originally released earlier in March, as well as the two meaty downloadable expansions, “Ashes of Ariandel” and “The Ringed City,” which came out in its wake. If you missed “Dark Souls III” the first time around, here’s another chance to experience Miyazaki’s third — and possibly last — installment in the groundbreaking series.

“Dark Souls III: The Fires Fade Edition” is available for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. The packaged version comes with an 80-page guidebook, soundtrack, map and special game case, and is ¥6,372, while the download version is ¥5,832.


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