Beginner Basics for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Beginner Basics for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Learn useful techniques to aim first place

Greetings, and thank you for stopping by! This is the editorial team of “GameWith,” a Japanese game information website.

This time, I'll be sharing with you some useful techniques to help you place 1st in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch.

You can learn the basics of how to play from this article. Feel free to use the tips you learn here along with that guide.

*This article was written with use of the Joy-Con Grip (holding both controllers) or the Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch in mind.

Techniques to get ahead: How to improve your racing skills

First, I'll go over some slightly more advanced techniques you can use in races.

Slipstream to make a comeback when your rivals are ahead

When trailing close behind another vehicle, you will see air currents form around you.

If you stay right on your rival's tail while this effect occurs, you will experience less air resistance in what is called a slipstream, granting you a temporary boost in speed.

It is easy to stay behind your rivals on narrow roads or on the inside of corners where racing lines are limited. These are the perfect opportunities to try and slipstream.

Use the rear view to check on opponents

Press the X Button while driving to check behind your vehicle.

Most people tend to focus on the person right in front of them during a race, but if you check behind you every now and then, you can see how close your rivals are, what items they're holding, and other useful information.

Also, when you spot someone behind you, you can try and hit them with a banana or other items. You can also zig-zag to prevent them from using the slipstream technique described above and protect your place in the race.

Slow down when necessary during a race

Once you get used to racing, you may feel tempted to put the pedal to the metal when you're at the head of the pack. But this can cause you to go off the track and lose speed, allowing other drivers to take the lead.

On tight curves or courses where it's difficult to go full speed, press the B Button to apply the brakes and proceed with caution. Doing so can lead to a safer, more stable race.

Especially at higher engine classes like 150cc or 200cc, all vehicles are capable of high speeds, making it even more likely to go off course.
Pay attention to the course layout, and go for a safe, stable racing line.

Also, some roads are easier to slip and slide on, like when it's raining or when a road is covered in snow.
It's harder to control your vehicle on surfaces like these. Knowing what speed you need to be at to take corners in these conditions will lead to smoother racing.

Techniques to get ahead: How to take a corner by type

Corners are where a player's skill is tested.
Cornering is a technique anyone aiming for the top must master. Here I'll go over how to take a corner based on its type.

Take gentle corners from the inside

Taking a corner from the inside requires less distance than taking it from the outside.
Taking the shortest distance possible will get you out of the corner quickest, so try using drifts in gentle corners to aggressively take the inside.

For tight corners, remember: "out-in-out"

If you try taking a tight corner by staying on the inside like it's a gentle corner, you'll likely go too far in. You might not even make the curve and end up going off course.

To take a corner effectively, approach the curve from the outside and head inside as you turn, finally exiting again from the outside. This technique, known as "out-in-out," is very effective.
By using a large portion of the track, this technique allows you to take the curve at a more gentle angle, and avoids going off track.

Check out this video to see out-in-out in action.

Take S-curves as straight as possible

A series of curves that alternate between left and right is called an S-curve.

Since each curve goes in a different direction, it can be difficult to keep an efficient racing line. However, you can utilize short, controlled drifts to keep as straight of a line as possible, allowing you to keep up your speed through the turns.

There is a risk of losing your place in congested corners

Since the inside of a corner is usually the fastest way through one, other players will generally be aiming for the same lines. This naturally leads to crowding around the insides of corners.
You're more likely to be hit by an item in crowds of drivers, and lighter vehicles may get tossed around, increasing the risk of losing your place in the race.

If the situation calls for it, it's sometimes better to forget about ideal lines through a curve and focus on avoiding other drivers. This approach can lead to victory.

Techniques to get ahead: Advanced ways to use items

Each item has its own special characteristics and effects. Learning when and where to use them will increase their effectiveness.
Now let's go over some practical ways to use items.

Use Mushrooms to take shortcuts

While using a Mushroom to speed through a straightaway is great, there are other effective ways to use this item.
You can use the speed boost to go even further into a corner, or go over road surfaces that would usually slow you down to take shortcuts through the course itself. Do this well, and you can put a lot of distance between you and your rivals.

If you want to go for better lap times on a course you've gotten used to, try looking for where shortcuts might be.

To find shortcuts, search for jump ramps or other markers outside of the course. You can also find them by watching a skilled player's Time Trial Ghost to see how they race a course.

Use items defensively

You can hold items like Green Shells and Bananas behind your vehicle by pressing and holding the L Button.

By holding an item behind you, you can protect yourself from items that come at you from behind, like Red Shells that home in on the player.

Since you can use items to protect yourself from attacks, checking your rear and using items effectively becomes an invaluable technique for when you're in the lead.

When using items, timing is key

Knowing when to use an item instead of using it as soon as you pick it up is another important strategy.

For example, if another driver has an item, they may be able to protect themselves from a Red Shell. You have a higher chance of hitting them if you wait until they've used up their item.
When you want to hit a driver in front of you, it's important to be patient and observe.

You can also check when some items are being used by looking at the minimap to the right of the screen.
For example, if there are characters using a Super Star, their icons will flash with rainbow colors.
Using this knowledge, you can use Lightning after confirming that few characters are invincible, thereby inflicting more opponents with the effect.
Other items cause changes on the minimap, like Bullet Bill (the driver's icon changes to a Bullet Bill), or Boo (the icon of the character using it disappears), so be sure to check the map from time to time.

Selecting a character and vehicle to go for 1st place

If you want to win races, picking a character and vehicle that suits your style of play is crucial.
Here I'll go over some of the qualities and reasons to pick each character or vehicle.

Each character specializes in different styles of racing

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features an all-series high of 42 characters (43 with the new character Birdo included, available to those who purchased the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass or those with a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership). Each of them has their own stats, such as top speed, etc.

Characters can generally be divided into three classes: Light, Medium, and Heavy. They all have their own style of racing. I'll go over each here.

Traits of light class characters

Light class characters utilize their light weight to their advantage and have high acceleration that allows them to reach their top speed quickly, as well as the ability to easily take corners.

They can quickly recover from going off track, and can really shine on courses with many twists and turns.

Toad, Baby Mario, Baby Peach, Bowser Jr., Lemmy, and other similar characters fall into the light class.

Traits of heavy class characters

Characters who fall into the heavy class have high top speeds, and are not affected much by other drivers hitting them.

Their strengths lie in their high speed on straightaways and their resilience to being pushed off the track on narrow roads.

Bowser, Donkey Kong, Rosalina, Waluigi, Link, and other similar characters fall into the heavy class. Take note that they are not all necessarily characters who "look" heavy.

Traits of medium class characters

Lastly, medium class characters have a good balance of traits from light and heavy class characters.

They have few quirks and are easy to use, making them a flexible choice for Grand Prix and other modes where a variety of courses are raced one after the next.

Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Villager, Inkling Girl, and other similar characters fall into the medium class.

Customize your vehicle to improve performance

The vehicle you choose has just as much impact on a race as the character you control.
To win races, it's important to customize vehicles to match the characteristics of the courses you'll race on.
Let's take a look at the features of the various parts used when putting together a vehicle, and what to consider when customizing.

A vehicle's stats are decided by 3 parts

Vehicles are made up of three parts. These are Bodies, which determine the vehicle's basic stats; Tires, which affect speed and ease of handling; and Gliders, which are used to adjust acceleration and weight. These can all be customized before a race.

Bodies are divided into three categories: Karts, ATVs, and Bikes. Not only do they look different, but stability, speed, and all other components are affected by these highly important parts. Try racing each kind of body on a course to get a feel for the differences between each of them.

Tires greatly affect speed and handling stats. Some tires give you higher top speeds, some make it harder for you to be knocked around by other drivers, and others make cornering easier. Select the tires best suited to your style and the race ahead.

Gliders mainly affect a vehicle's weight and acceleration. They have less effect on races than the above two parts. If you're unsure about what glider to pick, select one that gives a good balance of stats when combined with your other parts.

Customize your vehicle to match the race and your character's traits

When customizing a vehicle, you should consider how you want to race as you select parts.
For example, if you want to be the frontrunner in a race, select parts with high speed stats, and focus on top speed when customizing your vehicle.

It's also important to consider your character's traits when customizing.
For example, Bowser and other heavy class characters have high weight and excellent speed but poor acceleration. With characters like these, using parts that raise acceleration will help supplement the character's weaknesses to make a balanced racer.

On the other hand, you could also choose to focus on further increasing a character's strengths through customization.
By selecting parts that increase weight when using heavy class characters, you can further reinforce their weight and make it so that minor collisions have almost no impact on your vehicle.

For example, using this kind of customization on courses with many narrow areas where congestion is common allows you to race the lines you choose without having to worry much about other players getting in your way.
When you want to get first place on courses with certain peculiarities, consider trying a specialized customization that fully utilizes your character's strengths.

There are an infinite number of customization combinations like these. Try a variety of different parts and create vehicles that are perfect for you.

Final thoughts

This time around, I've gone through some useful techniques and shown you how to pick a vehicle to go for 1st place in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

Some of the techniques might be a little difficult, but if you find yourself unable to use them well, start with techniques you think you can pull off.
Use the techniques you learned here in some real races, and before long you'll be using them on all kinds of courses as you find yourself getting better and better.

Races are sure to become even more fun and exciting as your technique improves. Challenge your rivals and go for the top!