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

Fundamental techniques for getting the lead on your rivals

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 fundamental techniques and tricks for winning races in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch.

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

Getting ahead of your rivals: Driving techniques

To kick off this section on driving techniques, let's cover what you need to keep in mind while you're racing, as well as how to make the best of the various features of each course.
Learn how to get a head start and stay ahead of your rivals!

Focus on driving in the middle of the course

The course is divided into two parts: the main track, and the areas with grass or sand that surround it.
These grassy or sandy patches are called the offroad, and going into the offroad area will greatly slow down your vehicle.

Also, on some courses, there are areas where you can literally fall off the track.

It's important to stick to the insides of the corners if you want to win, but if you're just learning to race, it can really help to keep your focus on the center line of the track while you drive.
Keeping your eye on the center will make it harder for you to go off course, which will help stabilize your driving.

Get ahead with a Rocket Start

Whenever a race starts, there will be a "3, 2, 1" countdown.

During the countdown, if you start pressing down the A button on 2, you'll get a Rocket Start, which will let you blast forward as soon as the race starts.

This video will show you the exact timing for a Rocket Start, so take a look.

The Rocket Start lets you put some serious distance between you and your opponents the moment the race starts, so you'll definitely want to master this technique.
By the way, the closer you are to hitting the exact timing, the longer your Rocket Start boost will last.

However, if you press down too early, your Rocket Start will fail, and you'll end up falling behind, so you'll have to be careful.
While you're getting used to it, try focusing on pressing the button one short beat after the number 2 shows up.

Take corners quickly using Drifts

If you hold down on the R Button and turn while pressing the A Button, you'll end up in a Drift.

With Drifts, you can round corners without lowering your speed, even on curves where you might not otherwise make it without slowing down. You can also use them to turn sharp corners, allowing you to hug the inside of a corner and travel the shortest possible distance.

Try to learn how to achieve smooth drifts on all kinds of curves.

Speed up after a turn with Mini-Turbos

After drifting for a certain amount of time, sparks will start to fly from your tires.
If you release the R Button when you see those sparks, you'll get a Mini-Turbo which will give you a boost.

The color of the sparks will change depending on how long your drift is. First up are the blue Mini-Turbo sparks, then the second stage's orange Super Mini-Turbo sparks, and finally, the third stage's pink Ultra Mini-Turbo*sparks.

The higher the Mini-Turbo stage, the longer your boost will be, so using them wisely will let you race through corners even faster.

*The third stage Ultra Mini-Turbo can't be used if the Smart Steering feature is on.

Use Dash Panels and other course features

The courses in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have all kinds of different features, such as Dash Panels, that give you a speed boost when you drive over them.

For example, when you enter an Anti-gravity Zone marked by a blue circular pattern around its edges, your tires will transform and allow your vehicle to stick to walls and ceilings as you drive.

If you drive into an opponent or a shiny blue object in an Anti-gravity Zone, you'll activate a Spin Boost, which will give you a short boost.
If you collide with another vehicle, you'll need to be careful as the person you hit will also get a boost at the same time.
However, if you bump into a Spin Boost object, you'll be the only one who gets the boost, so make sure to be proactive about using them.

Taking advantage of the different features of each course to increase your chances to get a boost is your shortcut to victory.

Drops and ramps are secret boost spots too

There are other boost spots on the courses such as drops and ramps.

If you press the R Button or shake your controller at the right time when you cross over these areas, you can perform a Jump Boost.

When you pull off a Jump Boost, you'll get a short boost when you land.
This is your chance to gain speed, so remembering where you can do Jump Boosts in each course will give you the edge in a race.

Actually, tilting the Left Stick the moment you jump will let you pull off a different trick

Don't forget about your Glider controls

When you jump off specific ramps during a race, the Glider in the back of your vehicle will open up and let you fly through the air.

While you're flying with your Glider, you can fly over high walls, areas you'd normally fall in, and more.

Getting ahead of your rivals: Items

Courses are full of Item Boxes with a question mark on them. Touching these will give you a variety of different items.
These items they give you are essential to winning a race.

Now we'll go over the ways that items can be used.

Learn the characteristics of each item

Items from Item Boxes have a variety of effects that can give you an edge in a race.

For example, there's the Banana, which will make anyone who drives over it spin around, and the Mushroom, which will give you a short boost when used.

Try to memorize their effects as you try them out!

You can hold up to two items at once, so there's no need to rush to use them. If you hold onto them without using them right away, you can attack suddenly or give yourself a speed boost when your opponents least expect it.

You will also see Item Boxes that consist of a pair of boxes.
You'll get two items at once if you touch them, so you'll want to aim for them to get a leg up on the competition.

Falling behind? Now's your chance

Even if you've fallen far behind the leader, you still have plenty of opportunities to take the lead.
The likelihood of getting certain items depends on your rank. The further you are from 1st place, the more likely you are to get powerful items like the Star.

There are oodles of powerful items, like Lightning, which shrinks and slows down all of your opponents with a bolt of lightning, and the Golden Mushroom, which lets you boost repeatedly for a limited amount of time.

So, even if you fall into the lower ranks, don't give up—get a powerful item and turn things around!

Collecting Coins early is important, too

Aside from Item Boxes, there are also Coins scattered across the circuit.
You will increase your maximum speed with each coin you collect, up to a maximum of 10 coins.

Check out this video to see the difference in maximum speed from coins.

As you just saw, the higher your maximum speed, the further you can pull ahead, so you'll want to collect coins from the very start.

Although this isn't directly related to racing skills, you can get new vehicle parts by collecting coins.
If you see a coin, go and get it!

Getting ahead of your rivals: Mastering techniques

So far, we've learned the fundamental techniques and tricks for a race.
Now let's cover ways to practice and master these techniques.

Use assist features to help out with anything you're not used to

In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you can enable Smart Steering and Auto-Accelerate.

When you turn on Smart Steering, it will automatically slow down and steer for you in times that you have trouble making turns and end up going off-course.
Using this feature can help while you're getting used to cornering.

Keep in mind that if the Smart Steering feature is on, you will be unable to use the third stage of the Mini-Turbo, Ultra Mini-Turbo.
Once you're able to race steadily and confidently, challenge yourself by turning off Smart Steering.

If you turn on Auto-Accelerate, you'll keep accelerating even if you're not holding down the acceleration button.
We recommend this feature for when you want to concentrate on learning how to drift and jump.

Take on the Grand Prix and compete for overall ranking

In Grand Prix mode, a total of twelve racers will compete in four courses.

The CPU racers you're up against will use items too, so this is a perfect opportunity to test all of the techniques we've covered to see how far you can go.

You can select between different classes in Grand Prix such as 50cc or 100cc. The higher the number, the higher the maximum accelerator for all vehicles. While you're starting out, we recommend going with 50cc, where speeds are low and handling is easier.

Review courses with Time Trials

In Time Trial mode, you'll try to run three laps of a course as fast as possible.

No rivals will show up here—you'll be driving alone.
The only items you'll be able to use are the Triple Mushrooms you're given at the start, so this is a place purely for learning driving skills.

Time Trial shows the time you take to complete each lap as your Lap Time, and each time you beat your previous Lap Time record, that lap will be saved as a Ghost.

You can race with these Ghosts, which means you can practice while seeing how you were driving before.

Set your own rules in a VS Race

You can also practice by using Custom Items in the VS Race mode.
The Custom Items feature allows you to toggle specific items on and off.

For example, you could allow only Green Shells and Triple Green Shells to appear and practice hitting rivals with shells. We recommend this for when you want to master using a specific item.

Additionally, you can freely choose the strength of the CPU rivals, the type of course, and the number of races, so you might be able to hone your skills faster than you could in a Grand Prix.

Final thoughts

This time around, we learned some fundamental techniques and tricks for racing in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as well as ways to practice them.

Techniques like drifting are important, but the use of items can really turn things around during a race, so skill alone isn't enough to decide the outcome. Not giving up is also a huge part of pulling ahead of your rivals!

Now, how about hitting the race track with your favorite character?