This Friday sees the release of Mario Kart 8. The latest iteration of the long running franchise adds new mechanics, vehicles, items, and more. Here are a few tidbits of advice to help both new and long time kart racers get into first place that much easier.
First off; your character choice can effect how you’ll play. Each character is in a different weight class, from light to heavy. Lighter characters are faster, heavy characters have lower speed and acceleration, but are heavier, and balanced characters are well, balanced. Picking a lighter character like Baby Mario and Shy Guy will make you faster, but bumping into other racers will usually knock you off course. Heavier characters such as Bowser and Donkey Kong take longer to build up speed, but knocking into other racers won’t affect you.
To the Window, to the Walls..
The new big feature in Mario Kart 8 is the anti-gravity racing. Basically, at certain points in the track there will be a blue stripe on the ground. Passing over it will allow you to drive on walls and ceilings. Anti-Gravity racing functions mostly the same as normal racing, except that colliding with other racers and blue bumpers will give you a speed boost. Taking advantage of these can help extend a lead, or quickly make up lost ground.
Karts vs. Bikes
In Mario Kart 8, you’ll be able to choose if you want to race using a kart, or a bike. Each vehicle has their own advantages and drawbacks. Players that want to use bikes will have the advantage when turning corners faster, and kart users will be able to go faster on straightaways.
After picking a character, players will then be able to customize the body, tires, and glider of their vehicle. Picking the right parts can mean the difference between first and fifth place. By pressing the plus or start button, you’ll be able to see the stats of each part.
The different stats are; speed, acceleration, weight, handling and traction. Speed increases your top speed, acceleration decreases the time to reach your top speed, weight determines who you can successfully knock into or get knocked by, handling helps you turn sharper, and traction decreases slipping on bad track conditions.
By picking parts that not only compliment your racers strengths, but also helping to decrease their weaknesses, you’ll have more of an advantage while racing.
Mario Kart 8 has a variety of ways for players to get small boosts to help them go faster.
First off is the Start Boost. During the countdown at the beginning of the race, holding the acceleration button right as the 2 fades into 1 will give you a small boost at the beginning of the race. This helps get away from most of the other racers and to get an early lead.
Trick Boosts are small boosts that are achieved after completing a trick. To do this, simply shake the Wii U gamepad or Wii remote as you go off of a jump. On many tracks there will be multiple instances in a row where you can do Trick Boots, so always look out for small ramps with arrows on them as well as ones that are glowing orange.
Some objects can be Trick Boosted off of that don’t look like it. A few tracks feature Monty Mole burrowing around the track. Going over these while shaking your controller will give you a Trick Boost. In Bowser’s Castle, a Trick Boost can be performed right at the drawbridge at the start of the track, as well as a few seconds later after passing the statues with laser eyes. Try Trick Boosting every time you go off of a jump or fall, you’ll be surprised where it will work.
Another boost technique is called drafting. While closely following a racer a head of you, a cone of wind will slowly start to form around your vehicle. While still following them closely it will soon build up around you making you faster for a few seconds and will allow you to bounce into other racers without any repercussions.
Mushroom Kingdom Drift
One of the more advanced yet necessary techniques to master is drifting. Drifting allows you to perform a sharper turn around bends and corners. The closer you are to the inside lip of a turn while drifting will get you around it faster, and will also make it extremely difficult for other racers to pass you.
Drifting can also give players boosts after performing one. Pay attention as you drift for the coloured sparks that your vehicle produces. Blue sparks give a small boost, and orange sparks give off a bigger one. The sharper you turn, the faster your sparks will build up, and the bigger boost you’ll get.
Make it Rain
On the track, you’ll notice that there are coins scattered around it. Do your best to collect as many as you can, as each coin will give you a small increase to your top speed. Every time you fall off the track or get hit by an item, you’ll loose three. Constantly getting more will allow you to go that much faster. Collecting coins also unlocks new vehicle parts. Every fifty coins will unlock a new body, tires, or glider for you to use.
Being Smart With Items
Being smart with items in Mario Kart can also greatly help you. By placing items such as banana peels in small choke point areas that other racers need to go through will help more than just tossing one in the middle of the track. By pressing X on the Wii U gamepad you be able to look behind you. Dropping a shell or banana peel at the right time in front of another racer trying to pass or draft off of you is also more effective.
A good portion of items on Mario Kart can be countered or negated. Holding a shell or banana peel behind you while a red shell comes towards you will break the shell and your item, but will leave you unscathed.
Red shells can also sometimes be outmaneuvered. Passing or drifting beside other racer while one is tracking you can sometimes get the other player to be hit instead of yourself. Passing by a stage hazard such as a cow on Moo Moo Farms or a banana peel can also sometimes blow up the shell. Even drifting close to a pit can sometimes make the shell fall in.
One of the lesser known facts about the Blooper is that using a mushroom, or hitting a speed boost on the track will quickly remove the ink on the screen. You can even go underwater to get rid of it on the few tracks that allow underwater racing.