Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, the preview: everything you need to know

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, the preview: everything you need to know


How it works The contents of the package Modalities and limits The carpet challenge Certainty and Doubts There is something enchanting when starting Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for the first time. After associating the small plastic kart with his Nintendo Switch through a QR code, Mario looks around in disorientation, surprised to find himself in a gigantic apartment room. Your. He turns back and taps the camera with his fist, smiling at the player across the screen and waving to him that he is ready for a new freaked race. "Let's-a-go!"

In the almost thirty years since the first Super Mario Kart, the Nintendo series has reinvented itself on several occasions, has adapted to the touch screen of mobile devices, has arrived in the arcade, has seen an experience in virtual reality and very soon it will become an attraction in an amusement park. Mario Kart Live, however, represents a still different declination, which through the use of a camera, a radio-controlled car and a Nintendo Switch embraces the concept of mixed reality to propose a Mario Kart with a whole new flavor. The goal is to create a track on the floor at home and drive the (real) kart, while interacting with (digital) objects, obstacles and opponents on the console screen. Such an original and intriguing idea rightly raised several questions, and so, a couple of weeks after arriving in stores, Nintendo organized an online event to show us the game in detail, tell us about the different options available and answer all of them. our curiosities.

How it works

At the first start of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a tutorial will teach how to control the radio-controlled kart using the Nintendo Switch commands, but above all how to build the track in to compete. Once the track editor is started, Lakitu will stain the wheels of the kart with paint, allowing the player to "draw" the circuit by driving the car directly into the room. The only requirement is to pass under four doors, i.e. four cardboard arches arranged in different points of the floor. These arches have two main functions: on the one hand, they oblige the player to follow a precise path, essentially acting as a checkpoint (although it is allowed to skip a goal during a race); on the other hand they can be customized with objects or traps of different types. A challenge against Bowser Jr. and the evil Bowserotti will then allow you to test the track in a race simulation.

In creating a course you can decide to place Object Cubes - containing random tools such as Mushrooms, Bananas and, obviously, Blue Shells - or obstacles, such as Amp spheres that give the shock, piranha plants that bite those who pass under them, or the infamous Magikoopa, which mirrors the camera shot and forces you to drive for a few seconds with the commands reversed and the room "on the contrary". The beauty is that almost all of these traps have a real effect on the radio-controlled kart: the plastic car immediately freezes if in the game it is crushed by a Twomp, it will have a short acceleration if it passes over a turbo, or it will be more difficult to control in the event of a sandstorm. This inevitably ends up having unexpected effects on the behavior of some objects. In classic Mario Kart episodes, for example, the Chomp has always been a weapon to use to your advantage to increase speed and eliminate opponents along the way, but in the Home Circuit it becomes a penalty, ending up jerking left and right the player's kart and making it difficult to continue along the track.

The contents of the box

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit will arrive in stores in two versions, one with a Mario kart and the other with Luigi, absolutely identical except for the color and the character. Both versions also contain 4 ports, 2 curve signals (useful for indicating tight curves within the game) and a USB-C cable for charging the kart. The kart's battery can last for around 90 minutes of continuous play when racing at 150cc, while it takes around 3.5 hours to fully charge. Finally, regarding the maximum distance between the kart and the console, Nintendo recommends that you stay about 5 meters from each other.

Modes and limits

There was no said if there is a maximum limit in the length of a track, and therefore we do not know if it will be possible to create a circuit capable of crossing multiple rooms in the same apartment, but the Nintendo representative told us that the recommended space within which to build the track is 3x3 meters. However, the quality and variety of the circuit will depend on the imagination of the player: objects can be used to create obstacles and variables along the course, tracks that intersect in the center, or who knows, maybe you could create a small bridge that passes over the track. Nintendo probably doesn't want people to turn Mario Kart Live into a Hot Wheels track, but we're curious to find out how far we can go: after all, it wouldn't be Mario Kart without a couple of ramps in the middle, wouldn't it? However, an important detail concerns the impossibility of saving the tracks that are created, a limitation clearly linked to the need to position the four checkpoints along the route, but which requires you to design a new circuit every time you want to play a game.

This applies both to the Time Trial mode - in which you set speed records and challenge your Ghost - and to the richer Grand Prix option, divided into eight trophies of three circuits each. Also in this case the player has to build his own path using his imagination or following some examples suggested by the game, but each circuit introduces different variables and themes. The "Lightning Lagoon" runway presents the room in an underwater variant, with Amp spheres along the way and corals decorating the checkpoints. Similarly, in "Piped Wetlands" the track is wet with heavy rain, the doors turn into green pipes through which Object Cubes pass, while along the path there are areas with tall grass where mushrooms grow. Other examples range from Boo's Fortress, predictably full of ghosts along the way, to Ember Island with its dangerous lava bubbles, to snow-covered or jungle-set tracks.

At first it will be possible to tackle these circuits. at the minimum speed (50cc), but by playing and winning the trophies you will have access to the 100cc, 150cc and 200cc classes, modes which obviously will have a very clear impact on the speed of the radio-controlled kart. As you could have guessed from the announcement trailer, cups and modes will not be the only contents to unlock, and by collecting the coins scattered along the track you can get new karts, costumes for Mario or horns to trumpet. Kart in the shape of a galleon or a bulldozer are just an example, while we have seen Mario dressed as a knight, as a cowboy or in his builder's uniform seen in Super Mario Maker.

Mario Kart Live promises enough content to keep busy even those who want to play it alone, but like any other episode of the series, the game developed by the American team Velan Studios on behalf of Nintendo could give its best in multiplayer mode for up to 4 players. Unfortunately, organizing a challenge with several people will not be easy at all, as each player will need a radio controlled kart (which is not cheap, see box) and a Nintendo Switch. Mario Kart Live can be played in portable mode, with separate Joy-Con or even with the console connected to the TV, but for some unclear limitations it will not be possible to share a single console when playing in local multiplayer.

The carpet challenge

One of our doubts concerns the kart's ability to be driven smoothly on uneven surfaces, and even if we will have to experience the game firsthand to remove any doubts, in one of the videos shown during the presentation we saw Mario dart over a carpet. The experience should therefore be enjoyable regardless of the type of floor in the house, although the small size of the wheels and the absence of a camera stabilization will make the kart jolts more or less evident.

Mario Kart Live : Home Circuit will not be that ninth chapter of the saga that fans have been waiting for for some time, but the digital presentation we attended was enough to intrigue us about this strange variation of the series. The arrival in the shops is scheduled for October 16th, so it won't be long before we can get our hands on the karts and transform the editorial staff into the new Rainbow Track.

CERTAINTY A whole new way to play Mario Kart Tanti trophies and extras to unlock Different events and objects affect the handling of the kart DOUBTS The multiplayer seems not very accessible The variety of "environments" will be decisive for the Grand Prix mode ... what if I have a cat?
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