Mario Kart 8 Tips, Tricks, Hints and Secrets

Stay Ahead of the Competition –

The wait is finally over as the newest incarnation of the beloved Mario Kart series is now available on Wii U. Bundled as a system seller, competition is bound to be fierce over the coming months and even years as Nintendo only makes one Mario Kart title per console generation. Also, with the original Wii and DS Mario Kart titles recently losing their online functionality due to the servers being shut down, competition should be strong for Mario Kart 8.

Fear not as myGamer has you covered. Here are some tips to help make your Mario Karting more successful.

No More Hoarding:
In previous Mario Kart titles, the player was able to collect an item (let’s say a green shell), hold down the attack button to create a rear defensive barrier, and then collect another item, essentially having two items at the ready. Mario Kart 8 is different. Even if you hold down the attack button, the player will be unable to store that one extra precious item. Keep this in mind when obtaining the rare “8” item or the batch of three shells, for example.

Bump Boosting:
Whenever there is a bump/ramp/jump in the road, tap the hop button to generate a small boost of speed. For example, when the big Bowser statue fist slams the track and creates waves, hit the hop (the R button if using a Pro Controller) right at the peak of going up this bump to be rewarded with a boost of speed. This also works in other cases such as going over the downed logs in the snow forest track or when going off a ramp. This is an easy way to gain some speed.

Wake Riding:
When possible, driving right behind an opponent for about 3 seconds to cause a wake, or slipstream, boost. Look for white wind marks surrounding your character and try and hold it there until the boost activates. If pulled off successfully, your kart will receive a temporary boost, usually enough to plow through your opponent and gain a rank in the pole position.

Boost Turning:
Drifting, or snaking, is just as important here in Mario Kart 8 as it was in previous titles. By holding down the R button during a turn, the kart can earn a boost a speed according to the color from the exhaust. Blue is good but orange is better. Holding out for a boost turn will separate the winners from the losers in most matches so learning this skill quickly is important to your Mario Kart success. Unlike previous games though, boost turning is dependent much more on the amount of time in the slide versus the left-right-left-right analog stick flicking of previous games.

Learn how to boost turn

Learn how to boost turn

Boost from the Start:
Like other Mario Kart titles, it is possible to start each race with a boost right out of the gate. Wait for the number “2” to drop into place then hold the accelerator button. If done correctly, your kart will boost as soon as the number “1” finishes. Be careful though, hitting it too early will cause your kart to burn out.

Collect Coins:
What started in the original Mario Kart, coin collecting might seem unnecessary at first but is actually a very important aspect to your kart’s overall speed. The more coins that are collected, the faster the kart will go. The highest amount of coins that can be collected at one time is 10, meaning a kart will 10 coins will drive faster than a kart with only 3 coins. Each time damage is taken, karts will lose three coins.

Collecting coins also has another side benefit as they will incrementally unlock kart parts the more coins that are collected. So even if you are already holding 10 coins, keep collecting as the game keeps track of each coin. Also, collecting coins means that your opponent cannot collect them, potentially keeping them from gaining speed.

Land Smoothly From Glides:
Karts will occasionally take to the air but it is important to land smoothly using either up or down on the control stick; bumpy landings could slow down your momentum. Also remember that karts are still vulnerable to attack during these short flying segments so it might be beneficially to land abruptly than to have Lakitu pick you up after a knock from a red shell. Gliding can also reward lighter karts with faster alternative paths

Hitting the L button, or tapping the screen on the Gamepad, will honk your horn. This has no benefit outside of annoying the heck out of your opponents.

Careful Bomb-ombs can hurt you with bad forward throws

Careful Bomb-ombs can hurt you with bad forward throws

Look at the Rearview Mirror:
There is a benefit to playing with the Gamepad or Pro Controller because the “X” button switches the camera to see what is behind you as long as the button is help down. This can be very helpful especially since the game doesn’t keep track of time during Grand Prix mode and there is no other GPS gauge of any kind. Learning the location of your opponents is key to survival.

Earn Stamps With Variety:
Winning with each character will unlock that character’s Miiverse stamp. Although it doesn’t really affect the outcome of the game, completionists will want to earn everything the game has to offer.

Look for Shortcuts:
Most tracks have shortcuts or alternative routes so keep your eyes peeled or experiment in Time Trial mode. Saving that boost mushroom might be worth it to knock a few seconds from your total time with a well-placed shortcut boost.

Mix and Match Karts with Characters:
Each character, kart, and kart accessory results in an alternative play style. To see exactly how each kart will perform, hit the “+” button when selecting your kart and pick options to suit your play style. More importantly, pick the kart that will best work for the courses you are about to play. Tracks with sharper twists and turns should put a higher emphasis on tracking and handling whereas courses built with more straightaways could benefit from a kart with higher top speed.

Booper Ink:
Getting the screen inked by a pesky booper is the most annoying weapon in the game. Luckily, there is a way to combat it – drive over a boost tile. Boosting over these colored arrows on the course will cause the ink to instantly fly off the screen like rain on a speeding windshield.

Watch out for cows too.

Watch out for cows too.

Choke Points:
This should go without saying, but place banana peels and launch green shells backwards during narrow choke points.

Don’t Dismiss the Highlight Reel:
Yes, it is super annoying that Nintendo didn’t set “go to the next track” as the default option when playing through a Grand Prix, but do not immediately dismiss the highlight reel. Watching these highlights could make you more aware of shortcuts or alternative routes not seen during the speed based frenzy.

Lightning Bolt:
Being a victim of the lightning bolt hurts because it strips away some kart abilities. Instead, focus on taking inside turns to the save time. The slower speed makes it easier to hug corners.

Anti-Gravity Boost Bumping:
When the tires on your vehicle turn horizontal to initiate the anti-gravity segments of each track, bumping into opponents or blue highlighted barriers actually creates a speed boost so don’t be afraid to pinball your kart.


By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz



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  1. Avatar of nate5 nate5 says:

    Ah, shortcuts. So much of my childhood was spent convincing myself that certain portions of the track were shortcuts, and trying over and over again before I’ve finally died enough times to be bored. I didn’t know about the horn though. Thanks for the annoying tip!

  2. Avatar of Dandapatra Dandapatra says:

    I had no idea you could honk! Thanks a lot for that information! *Rubs hands evilly*

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