8 Tips for Mastering Mario Kart 8

You did it! You finally managed to snag a copy of Mario Kart 8 for your potentially neglected Wii U. You are one lucky person. You are about to have a bunch of fun (and also probably get really angry).

While it's hard for a new Mario Kart title to feel too unfamiliar there is are always aspects of the newest iteration that you may not be aware of. Or maybe you just can't figure out how to switch to a different controller. Either way I'm here to push you in the right direction. After putting in an unhealthy 25+ hours of karting I've collected a list of helpful tips just for you.

8 Tips for Mastering Mario Kart 8

Find the Right Ride

Back when I was your age we just picked a character and that was it. No body builds. No wheels to choose from. Don't even get me started on gliders. Of course I'm only 25, so that statement may not apply to you. The truth is, I really enjoy mixing and matching different kart parts. Unfortunately the key to doing this effectively is truly trial and error. There's two ways to build the right kart for you. The first is by hitting the plus button, which will bring up stats for each part your kart as whole based on the part you're currently looking at, and perusing all your options. Are you a speed demon or a weight... demon? Balance your kart to your preferences and then take'er for a spin. The other way is just to choose the coolest/most ridiculous parts. Because who doesn't want to ride a teddy bear ATV with red monster truck tires?

Driftin', Draftin' and Knowing What's Happenin'

If you find yourself always at the back of the pack chances are you're not so great at drifting and drafting. Drifting is the process of holding the right shoulder button when taking turns, making your kart slide around bends with glorious sparky action. Blue sparks means a short boost and red sparks means a long one. The longer you drift without impact the longer your boost. Not all karts and bikes drift the same though, so try some out to find the right fit for you. I find that waggling the joystick during drifting can put your character in just the right spot, helping you slide just inside turns or outside of undesirable spaces.

Drafting is a process where you follow directly behind another racer for a short distance. If you position yourself just right you'll notice a funnel of wind around your kart that will transfer into a nice draft boost. There's nothing better than overtaking the leader in the last few meters due to a nicely placed draft.

8 Tips for Mastering Mario Kart 8

Get Tricky

We all know it's tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time, but in Mario Kart 8 it couldn't be simpler to pull of tricks. Seriously, all you have to do is flail your arms or tap a shoulder button at the right time. Tricking gives your kart or bike a brief speed boost and can seriously help you make up ground. Ramps are usually noted by forward facing arrows, but get creative and attempt to trick off other aspects of the tracks such as jet streams and tree roots. If it doesn't work then... don't try it anymore in that spot. Soon you'll know all the best trickin' spots and finally defeat your friends.

Spin It to Win It

This one is pretty straight forward. When in hover mode, AND ONLY WHEN IN HOVER MODE, you can receive a boost by ramming into opponents and certain glowing obstacles. So. Do that. Smash into everything you see that's not obviously a harmful hurdle and push yourself to the front of the pack. It's fun, funny and helpful. A win win win.

8 Tips for Mastering Mario Kart 8

Get Coins, Be Fast, Unlock Parts

Mo' money, mo' problems, right? WRONG. Like Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario Kart before it Mario Kart 8 features shiny gold coins which are strewn throughout every track. But why go out of your way to get them? Well, they make you faster. Every coin is like cheetah blood for your engine, improving it's fastitude by just a little bit. Get ten coins, the max allowed, and you'll be flying. Unless it's 50cc. Then you'll still be going pretty slow.

But don't stop at ten! The more coins you collect the more kart parts you can unlock. More parts means more options when it comes to kart customization, and you want that.

Itemize Your Arsenal

Quick, name all the items in Mario Kart history! Now name all the new ones in Mario Kart 8! Now explain in detail how each one works and how it can be used in both offensive and defensive ways. Not that easy, is it? The truly important thing about your items is knowing when to use them and when to lose them. Green shells may seem useless, (potentially even self damning) to someone in first place, but they are also a god send for stopping unwanted red shells up the bum. Items like single banana peels and green shells are great forms of protection despite the fact that they seem like the last thing you'd want to pick up.

Have a bunch of banana peels? Drop them in a diagonal line right before a big jump. Your foes may fall to their doom, or they may just miss the trick boost. Either way you've slowed them down. Items now rotate around players when they have more than one, which means two things. One - You shouldn't run into a racer who is surrounded by shells or banana peels, you'll find yourself spinning out in no time. Two - You should run into racers surrounded by mushrooms, as you can steal them away for a undeserved boost.

Get creative will all your items and never forget that Super Horn is king. It can devastate large groups of near by opponents and can also obliterate any type of shell. Even blue.

8 Tips for Mastering Mario Kart 8

Change Your View

Look out! Behind you! To do this you must press X on the pro controller or gamepad, the A button on the wiimote or the C button on the nunchuk. While it may seem like a trivial tip, there is usually quite a bit happening behind you, assuming you're not in 12th. Get the drop on green shell assassins, check to make sure your victory is assured, or simply stop someone from drafting off your well placed kart.

Go Adventuring

Before you decide to take on a newly unlocked cup it's never a bad idea to go run a few practice laps in quick play mode. Snoop around. Try out some ramps. Drive the whole thing backwards and see if you're missing any vital shortcuts. Sure, you can do this on the fly, but you may hinder your position and overall placement in the process. It may sound boring, but it's actually kinda fun to take it slow and look at the details of the course. Follow a trolli, get lost in Donkey Kong's jungle and familiarize yourself with which parts of Rainbow Road DO have rails.


That's all I have for you for now, TAY folk. Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your shiny new copy of Mario Kart 8. I can't wait to play with you online and create some great new Mario Kart enemies memories.

Oh I almost forgot to tell you how to switch controllers.

You MUST be on the character select screen and then you have to press the minus button. Luckily you figured this out before your buddies came over and decide they prefer the Wiimote Nunchuk combo to the Pro Controller and you had no idea how to switch. Embarrassing.