Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has taken the Nintendo Switch by storm, offering an improved and enhanced gaming experience. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a novice, there are a few key changes from the Wii U version that you should be aware of to improve your gameplay. In this article, we’ll walk you through the mechanics of Mario Kart 8 and provide you with valuable tips and tricks to help you navigate the tracks and secure your place at the top. So, let’s dive in!

Starting Boost

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

A classic Mario Kart technique, the starting boost can give you a significant advantage right from the beginning of the race. To execute a perfect starting boost, press and hold the gas (A button) immediately after the countdown hits two or when the middle light turns red on Lakitu’s sign. Paying attention to the lights is the key to mastering this move. However, be cautious not to rev up too early, as overheating your engine will leave you spinning your wheels. It’s better to be slightly late than to overheat and lose ground.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

When you find yourself in the midst of the pack, there’s a technique you can use to pass your opponents swiftly. By closely tailing another kart, you create a slipstream, indicated by a gust of wind. This slipstream provides a minor boost, allowing you to slingshot past your rival. It’s especially useful when you’re in a close race to the finish line. Conversely, if someone is behind you and attempting to pass, swerve slightly to throw them off-balance and prevent them from overtaking you.

Drifting Strategies

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

Mastering drifting or “powersliding” around corners is essential in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. By executing these precise turns, you trigger mini-turbos that provide valuable boosts, helping you gain an advantage on the track. Drifting is relatively straightforward, especially when tackling large bends. Simply hold down the R button while turning, and adjust the analog stick horizontally as needed to maintain your course. Release the R button, ideally as you enter a straight section of the track, to activate one of three levels of boosts indicated by blue, orange, and pink sparks. The ultra mini-turbo, represented by pink sparks, is a new addition in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

To achieve the ultra mini-turbo, begin your drift slightly before the actual turn, allowing the sparks to transition from blue to orange and finally to pink. Release the R button at the peak of the turn to catapult your kart into a straight line. While it’s advisable to drift at every opportunity, avoid being too greedy by trying to attain a higher-tier boost, as you may end up losing control and veering off the track. Remember, excessive drifting will slow you down on straight sections, unlike in previous Mario Kart games where it provided an advantage.

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Keep an Eye on the Rearview Mirror

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

Similar to real-world driving, maintaining situational awareness is crucial in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Pressing the X button occasionally to glance at your rearview mirror allows you to stay aware of your surroundings and your competitors’ positions. Regularly checking the rearview mirror is particularly vital when you’re leading the race, helping you gauge the distance between yourself and the chasing pack. Additionally, looking behind you will assist in accurately targeting opponents with green shells, fireballs, and banana peels.

Adjusting Game Settings

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe introduces a feature called Smart Steering, designed for novice players. It automatically prevents your kart from colliding with walls or falling off ledges. While this may sound ideal, it can dampen your gameplay experience. We recommend disabling Smart Steering by pressing the L button in the pause menu. The auto-accelerate option, active by default, can also be turned off by pressing the R button. This feature spares your thumbs from constant pressing of the A button during long races. Additionally, the pause menu provides access to tilt controls, which utilize the accelerometer. Pressing the Y button enables tilt controls if you prefer using motion-based steering.

In our experience, turning off all three options mentioned above enhances gameplay and provides a more intuitive experience.

Braking Strategy

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

The brake button (B) in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe should be used sparingly. Drifting is your best friend when taking sharp turns. If you find yourself approaching walls, releasing the gas is usually sufficient to avoid collision without coming to a complete stop. Even if you accidentally launch off the track after an ill-timed boost, fear not! Lakitu, the helpful character, rescues you and returns you to the course promptly. Pressing the brake often requires you to readjust your kart’s position slowly, costing you more time than if you had continued on your way. However, in the high-speed 200cc mode, using the brake strategically is necessary to prevent repeated crashes into walls.

Stunt Performance

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

Stunts and tricks add an extra layer of excitement to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. When launching off a ramp or experiencing changes in elevation, press the R button during takeoff to perform a stunt. Upon landing, you receive a small boost. It’s vital to execute stunt boosts off ramps to counter the slight speed reduction caused by landings. However, stunts can be performed in various other situations as well. When driving over pads or encountering elevation changes, seize the opportunity to perform a quick flourish and gain extra speed.

Collecting Coins

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

When racing, prioritizing the shortest route and tight turns seems logical. However, in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there’s an additional factor to consider: collecting coins. Each coin you pick up on the track (up to a maximum of 10) increases your maximum speed. Beware, though, as you lose your coins when hit by a shell. Therefore, be cautious and replenish your stock whenever necessary. If you knock coins loose from another racer, quickly seize the opportunity to gather them for yourself.

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Utilizing Anti-Gravity Sections

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features anti-gravity segments in certain tracks, altering the usual racing rules. When you pass over a blue pad, your kart transforms into a hovercraft, allowing you to engage in contact with other racers and certain objects. In anti-gravity mode, colliding with other racers grants you spin boosts, and running into spinning posts scattered throughout the track provides a small boost when combined with a stunt. Embrace the chaos and utilize these elements to your advantage.

Mastering Item Usage

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe introduces the ability to hold two items simultaneously, providing you with more strategic options. If you encounter a row of item boxes, prioritize obtaining the double box, which fills both slots at once. Since you can carry twice as many items, there’s no need to be overly attached to what you’re holding. Don’t hesitate to use items promptly, especially when you’re not leading the race. However, when you’re in first place, it’s wise to hold on to your items. For instance, a trio of banana peels circling around you can offer protection against incoming shells.

Keep in mind that leading players have limited access to game-changing items such as stars, blue Spiny Shells, and Bullet Bills. If you possess one of these powerful items and are gaining ground on your opponents, it’s advisable to save them until you’re within striking distance of taking the lead. This strategy is particularly effective when you’re in second or third place, as a well-timed red shell can prove decisive. Instead of firing the item immediately upon acquiring it, wait until you’re approaching the final stretch of the race to ensure your victory before your opponent can respond.

Additional Resources

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

While this guide covers many important techniques, don’t overlook the “Info” section from the Main Menu. There, you’ll find tutorials that provide valuable insights to enhance your driving skills. Exploring this section will equip you with a wealth of knowledge, whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer to the game. You’ll discover a wide range of driving techniques, detailed information about items, and tutorials on the various modes available in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. We highly recommend taking advantage of these resources, as they offer invaluable hints and tips.

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Choosing the Right Racer

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

Before selecting your racer and kart, it’s essential to consider various stats. Your character’s size directly affects your speed, but the heaviest racers are surprisingly the fastest. The three main weight classes—light, medium, and heavy—each have their own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Wario, a heavy racer, excels in speed but has subpar acceleration and traction. After selecting your racer, you can access their detailed stats in the kart customization section. Pressing the Plus Sign reveals essential information, including Speed, Acceleration, Weight, Handling, and Traction. Experimenting with different combinations of racers and kart parts will help you find a balanced setup that suits your playstyle. Remember, speed isn’t everything, and a well-rounded approach is crucial on challenging tracks like Rainbow Road.

Countering the Blue Spiny Shell

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

As the leading racer, you’ll inevitably face a barrage of items, including the dreaded blue Spiny Shell. This shell relentlessly targets the racer in first place, exploding and stopping them in their tracks. While there are alternative methods to avoid it, there’s an easier solution—the Super Horn. Introduced in Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, this item can be activated to obliterate the blue Spiny Shell without slowing down. As the top racer, keep an eye out for Super Horns in item boxes and save them for when you need them most.

Defensive Item Usage

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe beginner’s guide

When you’re leading the pack, your opponents won’t hesitate to launch shells and other items in your direction. However, there’s a pro tip to defend against their attacks—hold an item behind you. Simply press and hold the L button to store an item at your rear. As long as you maintain this position, the item acts as a shield, deflecting incoming shells and other attacks. Be aware that once the item blocks an attack, you lose it. Therefore, aim to obtain another item quickly to repeat the process. It’s important to note that not all attacks can be deflected, but most can.


While our guide covers many essential aspects of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there’s always more to explore. Don’t hesitate to consult the Info section in the Main Menu for additional tutorials and insights. Remember the importance of starting boosts, slipstreams, drifting techniques, and strategic item usage. Choose your racer and kart wisely, and adapt your driving style to different track conditions. With these tips and tricks, you’ll enhance your gameplay and increase your chances of taking home the gold in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

For more information about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and other exciting products from OnSpec Electronic, Inc., visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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