The original SNES Mario Kart not only inspired the kart racing genre, it birthed the franchise that continues to set the gold standard for kart racing 25 years later. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is no exception in that tradition, featuring more tracks, racers and game modes than any previous Mario Kart title. If you’re tired of getting your butt kicked up and down Rainbow Road and want to start coming in first place, check out these seven tips.
Get Drifty – Drifting (power sliding) is, by far, the most important skill to master in any Mario Kart title. Not only does it let you take tight turns without losing speed, but you’re also rewarded with a brief burst of speed when you come out of a drift. Plus, the longer you hold a drift, the bigger that burst of speed, as indicated by the color of the sparks you create while drifting. To maintain longer drifts, steer into them. For example, while going around a left turn, after you start your drift, turn right while holding the drift to widen the angle and thus increasing the length of time you drift. Once you master this skill, you can start your drifts early, before you even reach turns, granting you a speed boost as soon as you round the corner.
Brake It Off – Knowing how to properly brake while drifting makes the difference between amateur and veteran racers. If you feel yourself going too wide while drifting and you think you might bump the outer wall or worse, fall off the track, quickly roll your thumb from the A button to the B button and then back again. Doing it this way, you brake without really taking your thumb off the gas and therefore stop your outwards drift without losing forward momentum.
Play With Yourself – Mario Kart has always been more fun with other people, but don’t snub the single-player. Single-player not only lets you become familiar with the tracks and their hidden shortcuts, but it’s a great way to get comfortable with the different racers and karts. In MK8D, single-player racing is the quickest way to collect coins and unlock new karts, but more on that in a minute. If you want to stand a chance against other actual humans, you should at least obtain 3 stars on every cup in both 50cc and 100cc.
Look Under the Hood – The differences between various karts, tires and gliders (unlocked by collecting coins) aren’t just cosmetic. When selecting them, hit the (+) button to see their individual stats and select the ones that best suit your racing style. When playing against real people, you’re going to want to gain an edge over your competitors by boosting as much as possible, so I advise picking something with low traction. Also, getting struck by shells and such is unavoidable, so you’re going to want a cart that can get going from a stopped position in a hurry, so consider something with a high acceleration stat.
Coinage – Coins are not only key to unlocking new kart pieces, but they’re important mid-race as well. Every coin you hold slightly increases the speed of your kart until you reach the maximum of 10. Coins can be collected one at a time by driving over them on the track, or by “using” them if they’re picked up from a question box (which yields two coins). When you require assistance from Lakitu or get struck by a weapon, you lose coins, so after you hit some sucker with a shell, make sure to add insult to injury and snatch a few of their fallen coins as you zoom on by!
There Are Many Shells Like It, But This One Is Mine – Half the fun of Mario Kart has always been the wacky weaponry, so get to know how each weapon works best. Although banana peels and green shells are often viewed as the worst weapons, they work great as shields when you hold the left trigger and drag them behind your cart. If you decide you want to toss the item your dragging, just quickly push forward on the left stick when releasing the trigger. Also, seeing an indicator for an incoming blue or red shell is no longer a death sentence Quickly swerving in front of another racer or an obstacle in the road usually works to deflect red shells and a well timed super horn deflects blue shells.
Jump Around – As you probably already know, pulling the right trigger to perform a stunt while in the air grants you a brief speed boost once you hit the ground. This is true for any airtime you may catch and isn’t exclusive to jumping from ramps. By quickly double-tapping the right trigger when you drive over fallen logs in Mount Wario or the temporary dirt mounds in Moo Moo Meadows you can catch a quick boost. With the right timing, you can even get boosts when you’re bounced in the air by large enemies on levels like SNES Rainbow Road, Bowser’s Castle and Music Park.
With a bit of practice and these few simple tips, you’ll see a dramatic difference in your game in no time!