Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Guide - Tips, Hints, Tricks And Unlocks
Whether you're entirely new to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or an old veteran from the Wii U original, the new title has some tricks to know in order to ensure those podium finishes. Some of them are old methods, but adjusted physics and mechanics in this Deluxe edition also mean that it's worth having a little refresher on key points.
Let's take a look at all our guides for the game, followed by some of the basics.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Tips And Tricks
Here we look at how to enable specific assistance options to help racers of all abilities.
Here we cover things you'll need to know to be the fastest racer on the track.
Here we look at how to use specific items to give you the edge in a race, and what certain options mean in practice.
Here we look at all characters, specific unlockables and kart items.
Here we look at every track in the game, including the 48 DLC tracks in the Booster Course Pass, plus how to actually access the new content.
On this page:
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - The Basics
First of all, one little complaint we have with the user interface in this game is that it sometimes turns on steering assist and/or auto-accelerating by default; it does this mostly in multiplayer when auto-detecting control schemes. You determine which assist options you want (or none) in the vehicle select screen, which comes after you pick a character. On this screen when you hit the + (or -) button you see your vehicle stats, and also visible is a box with icons for steering assist, motion controls and auto-accelerate; toggle them on and off with the indicated buttons. Motion controls, for the record, can be used with any of the control options.
In summary, you can play in the following ways:
All standard stuff, the key is remembering to check your settings on assist tools and motion controls, so you don't start a race and wonder why your character isn't quite responding as you expect...
If this is your first time racing Mario-style, here's something to know - hit accelerate just after the '2' appears in the pre-race countdown. Most reading this page already know that, but let's just say it so that it's out there.
Moving on to more telling matters, one addition here in comparison to the Wii U version is a third drift boost. As you drift around corners using the ZR or right shoulder button, depending on your controller of choice, different coloured sparks kick out of the back of the kart or bike - starting with blue and then changing to orange as you get further into the bend or work the virtual wheel to increase the resistance on the tyres. What's different this time around is that the third stage, purple sparks, give you a noticeably bigger boost.
It's quite a big additional boost in with the third stage, but just remember it won't always be possible to use this boost - so don't get greedy. On tracks with long bends or even some sharper turns you can aim for the third boost, but on some occasions, it's just not on the cards.
The other major addition is that you can now carry two items at once, which adds a whole new layer of strategy. A key point is that you can't 'manage' them as such, you use the items in order; the one in the bigger bubble on the top left of the screen is available right away. In addition to building up two items, keep an eye out for double item boxes which will give you two at once.
Finally for this section a note on new items - the Boo item allows you to 'steal' a weapon from the racer in front of you. The 'Leaf' is exclusive to Battle Mode and allows you to hop in the air, either to dodge attacks, jump walls or even break a rival's balloon in Balloon Battle.
This section is a short one, but has a recommendation - work through the classes. Experienced players may balk at the idea of playing through in 50cc, but it's definitely recommended for newcomers at least, and every Grand Prix you do (and other modes, for that matter) has you collecting coins in races. Those coins unlock lots of new karts, bikes and gliders, so they're worth getting. Also of note, clearing the 150cc cups will reward you with the equivalent result in 100cc, so you don't need to do both of those.
There's also a bonus character if you place first in every 200cc Grand Prix cup - to be honest, Nintendo spilled it in a trailer and most of the internet knows, but we'll save the 'surprise' for a later guide.
Beyond accumulating coins the benefits of playing cups in various speed classes is to give you vital race practice. There are shortcuts that are far more accessible in 150cc or even 200cc than in slower classes, and you should learn which work in what circumstances. This matters because when you race online you don't always have control of the speed class, so you don't want to try a daring shortcut in 100cc that isn't quite as easy to pull off at slower speeds. Practice, get better and accumulate coins.
Don't forget, either, that you can race the ghosts of Nintendo staff and players around the world in Time Trial.
To start off you have a decent but still relatively small collection of karts, bikes and gliders. You start the game with all cups and characters available, so this is the one loop of unlockables for which you can strive.
Your first instinct will probably be to pick the kart combo that looks the coolest with your character of choice, but there are other important choices to make. On the vehicle select screen hit + or - (as we did when looking at control settings) and you see stats for your kart / bike's performance. These are split into Speed, Acceleration, Weight, Handling and Grip, with six bars in each.
Various factors influence these stats, including your character of choice. Characters are split between light, medium and heavy, and so those with more weight typically have a higher top speed but more difficult handling. At the other end of the scale a small character will likely have terrific handling but low weight and top speed, making them easy to push around.
When playing offline experiment with different setups, looking at the stats in the vehicle select screen to guide you. Where possible try to achieve rounded stats, ie with a certainly number of full bars in each category. Not all bars will be full in this way, but it was the case in the Wii U original that the impact of each category was greater when the relevant stat had a number of full - not partially filled - bars.
Don't always obsess over aesthetics - sometimes silly looking wheels give that favourite kart better stats than those tasty slicks. Be open-minded.
Here we've pulled together a few extra simple early tricks to help you out - by all means suggest more in the comments!
Those are our starter tips, in any case. Keep an eye out for our guides on mastering 200cc and what you can unlock in the coming days, and be sure to share your own pearls of wisdom in the comments.