Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

The latest instalment of Nintendo's popular kart racing franchise is upon us, and the urge to dive right in and start taking home trophies is strong. First, here are some general tips to get you started.

Race Against The Machine

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

I know, it's rare that we get a Nintendo game with such a robust online multiplayer mode, but hopping online immediately is a road that leads to frustration and despondency. Nintendo has given us an extensive online racing tutorial called Single Player Mode. It plays a key role in the next several tips.

Start Slow

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

If you're new to the Mario Kart franchise, it will be tempting to look at the three racing classes in the game — 50cc, 100cc and 150cc — as traditional difficulty levels. The faster the class, the more aggressive the computer-controlled drivers become, and the quicker your reaction time needs to be.

Put your gamer pride aside and start going through the game's eight cup competitions at 50cc first. Then graduate to 100cc, and finally 150cc. By the end of the full run you should have all of the game's characters unlocked, almost all of the cutomisable vehicle parts, and you'll be as prepared as you'll ever be for online domination.

Know the Road

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

This is pretty much a side-effect of playing through each single player cup tournament, but it bears mentioning. Take those early 50cc races as an opportunity to learn every nook and cranny of Mario Kart 8's 16 new and 16 returning courses. Each new raceway is filled with secrets and shortcuts, and the returning courses have each been retooled, so even a veteran player can benefit from boning up at low speed. Keep an eye on the computer-controlled racers too — often you'll catch them taking shortcuts you didn't know existed. If you need extra practice, do some time trials, or race head-to-head against a local friend on the track you need to learn.

Pimp Your Ride

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

With Nintendo fine-tuning vehicle handling to perfection in Mario Kart 8, the kart (or motorcycle) body you choose can have a huge impact on how you perform during races. Finding the ride that fits your play style perfectly can give you that extra jolt of confidence (and competence) to take you over the finish line before the other guys. Once you find your sweet spot (for me it's the Sport Bike body), stick with it. Make that kart or bike an extension of your body.

Use Bombs Wisely

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

Wrong Nintendo series, but it still applies. The urge to immediately fire off whichever power-up pops out of those lovely translucent cubes is strong, but you could be throwing away a racing advantage for quick thrill. Are you in first place? Save your turtle shells to shield you from the inevitable attacks from your jealous opponent. Save those banana peels until you've just passed another racer, to ensure they can't avoid fruity doom. Avoid using the blue shell at all costs, because it makes you a giant arsehole.

Wear Out That Jump Button

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

Every time your wheels/glowing hover aura leaves the ground, the jump button should be pressed. It makes your character of choice perform a cute little stunt/pose thing, which is lovely. It also gives you a substantial speed boost, which is essential for winning an online race. Everyone else will be doing it. If you do not, you might as well just go afk and get yourself a tasty, tear-absorbent sandwich so you can have something to eat while you cry.

Have Friends

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

In order to get the most enjoyment out of Mario Kart 8 (and most games in the franchise, for that matter), you're going to need someone sitting next to you on a couch. Bean bag chairs, the floor and other sit-ready butt rests will do in a pinch, but a couch is really the best. On a couch, when you elbow your friend for hitting you with a turtle shell or knocking you off the road, they have a soft place to fall over. And should you decide to knock your friend over and sit on them so they can't possibly win, well a couch was built for that sort of thing.

As wonderful as today's online multiplayer world is, nothing beats having a real person to beat on which racing on colourful kart tracks. As an extra-added bonus, you and a local friend can race split-screen online against a bunch of strangers, just the two of you against the world.

Play Online With Your Friends

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

If your friends cannot make it to your couch (they should really try harder), invite their spatially-displaced asses to your virtual couch. Start a friends-online tournament, or just open up a friends-only room. Nothing softens the blow of utter defeat like being utterly defeated by people you'd gladly have on your couch if they weren't so stingy about buying plane tickets.

For extra-added enjoyment of the game and your friends, form a two-person team, with one player running interference for the other. This idea was stolen from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Finish In First Place

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

The most important tip I can give you for playing Mario Kart 8 is this — be the first person to cross the finish line. If you don't master this skill I guarantee you will never win a race. I don't care how you do it — maybe use some of the tips from earlier — just finish first, and you'll always win.

Have Fun

Tips For Playing Mario Kart 8

It's almost impossible not to have fun with Mario Kart 8, but just in case.


    A blue shell at the end of an (almost) 3 starred cup may be infuriating, but having to replace a Game Pad is worse. Be cool guys!

      There at least seems to be far less blue shell spamage from the AI in this game at least. Think I've only been hit by a few for each cup, compared with the dozens per race in MK Wii.

        My experiences of this have been positive compared to MK Wii. That was an exercise in futility as there was little incentive to stay in first as the moment you got there you got hammered with blue shells and lightning bolts. MK8 to me feels more fair.

          I keep getting the Miracle Lightning spamage but usually from someone at the back of the pack.
          I think how the AI distributes the power-ups is very fair, giving all the good stuff to the people at the back but not in a way that you get robbed via blue shell spamage.

          Every time I've lost so far has been my own fault, like wrong corners or getting over confident.

    How freaking awesome is this version of Mario Kart???? The music is insane!!

      I was a bit disappointed with rainbow roads music :/ The 3DS Rainbow music is still the best, closely followed by the N64 version (which is mixed in with the 3DS one anyway)

    I am loving it, my WiiU has better games than my PS4 and XB1 put together!

      We'd hope so considering it has a 1 year head start on the competition.
      Hmmmm... considering a WiiU purchase roght now.

        We may have finally convinced somebody!

        ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

          $279 at EB for the white 8gb with skylanders (sell it) and nintendoland (awesome) + Mario kart 8 + one of the free downloadable games, such a great deal... all you need is an extra pro controller and your all set!

            Even cheaper at Target for the same deal, if you can find one with stock.

      I will say that these graphics look a whole lot more "next-gen" than 90% of what is available on PS4 and Xbox One to me. Every time I see it in motion I am astounded.

      So sick of this cross-gen nonsense. It's all driven by greed and fear. See what you can achieve when you pick a platform and optimise for it, developers?

        First race my GF and I played on my 60" TV and we were like "... holy crap... D:"
        And then when we found out you can slow down the race highlights and see EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. IN. SLOWMO... tears of joy xD

    This game was worth giving up my Saturday morning sleep-in to line up outside Big W. My boyfriend and I have just spent the past six hours on the couch playing it, and it's been awesome. It may even eclipse the N64 version and become my favourite Mario Kart game so far.

    This was the game that finally convinced me to buy a Wii U.

    I can see myself spending a lot of time with this one.

    I would be playing it right now if EB Games had sent it a day earlier, now i have to wait until either Monday or Tuesday to play it.

    Oh well, im still having fun playing Watch Dogs.

    I was strongly considering picking up a Wii U finally so I had a look at EB and the first thing I thought was why the hell is the Wii U still 400+ dollars? Then I scrolled down and saw that a controller for the thing is 200 dollars.

    What the hell were they thinking with that crappy controller? The controller itself is the main thing that has been holding me back from getting a Wii U anyway and then to find the machine would have been around 150 dollars cheaper if they just made all the games use the pro controller for it...

      There is a deal on pointing to an EB magazine sale. The Wii U Mario Kart bundle is $279. Which is a console, Mario Kart 8, Skylanders and a digital download code for a third game.

      Can't complain about that value.....its insane.

      And the Wii U was expensive as you'll soon realise when sitting alongside your PS4 and/or Xbone......this thing is whisper quiet even when pumping out Mario Kart 8 which looks as good as any game.

        After having a look around for a bit last night I did end up seeing that deal, I missed out on the original Wii though so is it worthwhile getting the premium pack for the sensor bar etc?

        There are only like 2 games on the Wii U I want but there are a ton that I missed from the Wii that I would like to pick up. Also is there a list somewhere of which controllers work with which games? There are like eleventy billion different controllers across the Wii and Wii U.

    Love it, sunk about 6 hours in over the weekend, can't wait for more... one gripe......


      I dunno, I find I do better without the pressure of seeing a small dot chasing me on a mini-map. Especially in 150cc. Though I admit, a couple of times it would have come in handy. Brutal. But waaaaay less cheap than any of the previous MK games. Which is good :)

      Man, this game is so good. It lives up to the hype, and then some. Can't wait for the next Sonic All Stars Racing game. There seems to be this awesome one-up thing going back and forth between the two. Which is great, because it brings back that SEGA vs Nintendo thing that defined my school years. I noticed that Mario Kart 8 seems to have taken some pointers from Racing Transformed (Mount Wario??). Also, the 'Jump' button is now the 'Drift' button :) About time!!!

        They've definitely brought it with MK8, absolutely loving it.... but please give me my mini map haha. I'm sure I'll get used to it and remember the tracks back to front but I loved glancing up just to check corners. Also battle mode was just so weird without it.

        Never played the SEGA racers because they just looked like cheap karting games, I'll check it out if a new one comes along.

          Sonic Racing Transformed is anything but a cheap racer. It looks like a kart racer, but it's more of an arcade racer a la Outrun 2 that just happens to have weapons. If you can, pick it up on Steam. It's cheap, and the 60fps makes the world of difference. I own it on the 360, Wii U and 3DS (and Android), but the PC version is hands down the best port. Highly recommended!!! :)

            Sick, I just checked out some gameplay... def reminds me of dreamcast/arcade racers, awesome ! I'll pick it up when the buzz of MK and the new UFC wears off and I need another fix

      That is the one thing that is missing, i setup the gamepad to display it and place it in front of me but it means taking my eyes off the screen :( Mini Map addition would be awesome, also needs more block fort!

        I originally thought whoever has the gamepad has a slight advantage over others as they have the minimap, but when I was using the gamepad, I found I couldnt glance down at the gamepad without going off course.
        Would have loved a rear-view mirror option for the gamepad...

        Totally agreed, there's no time to glance down at 150 glorious cc's :)

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