Whether you’re a seasoned speed demon or lowering yourself into your kart for the very first time, we’ve got a collection of handy tips, tricks and some hidden features to help you stay ahead of the pack in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch.
Start as you mean to go on by putting pedal to the metal (pressing and holding ‘A’) at the tail end of the ‘2’ count during Lakitu’s countdown at the beginning of each race. You’ll get a burst of speed off the start line, hopefully propelling you into an early lead.
There are a ton of ways to grab an additional injection of speed on the track, one of which is the Mini-Turbo. Tap the ‘R’ shoulder button to initiate a drift on a bend and once you start seeing blue sparks flying from your wheels, cancel the drift to receive a small spurt of acceleration.
The longer you drift, the more powerful the Mini-Turbo’s effects are, becoming a Super Mini-Turbo when the colour of the sparks changes to orange and an Ultra Mini-Turbo when they change again to purple.
A simple but effective means of overtaking other racers is to position yourself as close to the back of the next racer in front of you to draft using their slipstream. You’ll know when you’ve moved into the perfect spot as wind/speed lines will appear around your kart. From here you’ll then be able to overtake them and move further up the pack.
Jump Boost and Spin Boost
When hitting a small jump (i.e. one that doesn’t initiate your glider) tap the ‘R’ shoulder button as you launch into the air to pull off a stunt. When done correctly your showboating will be rewarded with a speed boost equivalent to that of a standard Mini-Turbo boost.
Not only are the anti-gravity sections of most courses the craziest, they also open up the potential for extra speed with Spin Boosts. Simply bump into opponents within this sections of the track to be flung to a whirlwind of blue energy momentarily before accelerating away. Just don’t blame us if your fellow racers don’t unleash items on you should you get too close.
Coins = More speed
Sure, coins are the fundamental means of unlocking new kart parts between races but they also serve a more immediate purpose on the track too. The more coins you grab (up to a maximum of ten per race), the faster your machine becomes. And although the effect is small, it can make the difference between finishing first or second in some of the more trying cups.
How to farm coins
There are a number of different setups and strategies out there but we’ve tried and tested the method detailed by Polygon, which has you place at least two medium-weight racers like Luigi in notably different vehicle setups to ensure that they don’t readily interfere with each other on the track.
Select a multiplayer race for as many JoyCons (for most people this will be two) as you have. Then on the race settings menu make sure that there are no teams, items or computer players, select ‘choose’ for the ‘courses’ option (you’ll want to select Moo Moo Meadows every time) and select up to 48 races, depending on how much time you have.
Make sure both smart steering and auto acceleration are switched on for both(/all) racers and then start your first race. If you’ve opted for the double Luigi setup demonstrated by Polygon each three-lap race will last around 2:45 after which you’ll have to press ‘A’ about three or four times to kick off the next race. You’ll also net between six and ten coins per race, meaning you can unlock new kart parts, faster.
Golden kart parts and Golden Mario
There are a few additional challenges standing in the way of those after the slightly speedier golden kart parts and an even bigger challenge if you want to race as Golden Mario.
The golden kart frame is unlocked once you’ve played through and come first in every single Cup within the Grand Prix in both the 150cc and Mirror Mode classes. You need to finish each Cup with three stars and a total of 60 points.
Golden tires become available once you’ve beaten every staff ghost in Time Trial at 150cc. As speed is your priority, pick a heavy character like Bowser or Morton and pair them with a speedy kart setup like a Circuit Special with Slicks. Good luck!
Thankfully the Gold Glider has pretty simple unlock criteria, you just need to collect 10,000 coins overall. You can do this naturally by racing or if you want a less hands-on approach, coin farming is the way to go.
Gold Mario becomes available once you’ve beaten every Cup at 200cc. No mean feat but once done, you’ll find him as a palette swap for Metal Mario.
Defeating the Spiny Shell
Unless you’re the one using it, no racer actually likes the Spiny Shell. The item seeks out whoever’s in first place, knocks anyone else in its way en route to its target and lays some smackdown on them to give others a chance to catch up. At first glance, if you’re on the receiving end it seems like an unavoidable attack but there are actually a couple of ways to avoid its wrath.
One is to simply outrun it. Much like red shells, if you gain enough extra speed when one of those blue bastards has been sent your way you might be able to avoid a hit depending on how much distance you can place between it and rear bumper.
The Super Horn serves as an alternative remedy. Not only does it kick other racers to the kerb should they fall within its shockwave, but time things right and a Spiny Shell in close range will be obliterated and the threat nullified in one fell swoop.
You can actually race against the ghosts of other players, which can be a fun additional challenge in its own right but it also serves as a great teaching tool. If you find a certain track particularly challenging why not download the ghost of a high-ranking player and see how they tackle things.
You might discover new shortcuts, better kart configurations or smarter ways to drive – perfect for Time Trials. Just select a track and choose Online Ghosts’ to access the leaderboard before you race, followed by ‘Race Against Ghost’ to choose your new spectral rival.