Mario Kart 8 Beginner’s Guide – Racing Tips and Tricks

By   /   May 31, 2014

With Mario Kart 8, Nintendo has brought so many novel features to the plate: antigravity, new racing tracks, vehicles, and items. All these new features ensure that both returning and new player receive a novel experience.

Although the guide is compiled by keeping new players in mind, it doesn’t hurt to get an overview of things once again. Besides, the game features some new and revamped old mechanics which I’ll be covering in this guide.

Also feel free to add if you feel I’ve missed something important!

Throttle
This shouldn’t be new to any racing fan rather anyone in general. Throttle is required to thrust your vehicle forward at an increasing pace until you hit your vehicle’s top speed.

Mechanics like Acceleration and Top Speed vary greatly with different vehicles and characters. As a rule of thumb, keep pressing the throttle button from the start till the end of a race.

Halting/Reversing
Halting or more commonly braking is exactly opposite to throttle! Press the brake button and your vehicle will gradually start losing throttle (coming down from its top speed).

Although braking is mostly done by tapping the button in short intervals, pressing the brake button will set your vehicle in reverse motion. Along with throttle, braking is another mechanism which shouldn’t be ignored!

Although many players ought to ignore its importance, but braking is as significant as the throttle itself. It can get you out of tight situations; help you during power-sliding, and mastering tight corners. Mastering the art of braking and throttle is something elite racers have.

Steering
Steering is another basic mechanic related to all driving games and real time driving. Along with the above two mentioned things, steering is an important aspect of the game.

A good driver always know when to steer and how much to steer. Under-steering or over-steering doesn’t usually end up good. Furthermore, steering is an important aspect during dodging items or power-sliding.

Power-Sliding
Unlike many other racing games out there, Mario Kart 8 has a dedicated button for power-sliding or more commonly, drifting. Each vehicle in the game has different drifting capabilities which determines for how long that particular vehicle can drift.

When combined with braking, drifting can be prolonged for insane amount of time without losing balance. It is always better to drift around tight corners than simply braking down and taking that turn.

Drifting will ensure that you don’t lose speed and take the turn effectively!

Miniturbo
The art of mastering corners in most racing games involves drifting around corners followed by a full thrust of throttle or nitrous. The same is the case in Mario Kart 8.

The reason I laid stress on a longer drift is Miniturbo! Drift for long and you’ll find a blue spark under your vehicle’s tires. Keep on drifting and these blue sparks will turn into orange sparks.

These sparks indicate Miniturbo which is a boost of speed after drifting. Whenever you see blue sparks (ideally, orange sparks) under your vehicle’s tires, let go off drift and you’ll gain an instant speed boost by Miniturbo. The whole idea of drifting at corner is to gain a Miniturbo.

Hopping
Although you won’t be Hopping during normal races, it is quite useful in game modes like Balloon Battle. Hopping is usually achieved by drifting and revolves around a small jump to cross small gaps or take a turn.

Tricks
Every character in the game has some sort of tricks up its sleeves which it uses usually after riding off a ramp, bumpy surfaces, or ledges.

When a trick is performed, your character will show off for a while followed by gaining a small speed boost which means winning or losing in a heated race. As a rule of thumb, every player should perform a trick after a ramp or any bumpy surface in general.

Boosters
On every track in the game, you’ll find different sets of Booster which will provide you with a short speed boost. However, if you were to choose between a Booster and a shortcut, always go with the shortcut.

Speed boost can also be acquired at the start of every race. For more information, check out my Tips and Tricks Guide.

Slipstreaming
Slipstreaming which is commonly referred to as Drafting is another technique which is used to gain a small speed boost. Drafting is usually done by driving closely behind a vehicle ahead.

By doing so, you’ll see lines of airflow around your vehicle indicating that you’ve gained a speed boost. However, it should only be done when you’re sure that your opponent doesn’t have any item to get you off the track.

Ramming
Ramming is another aspect which is specific to different character and vehicles. Quite obviously, heavy vehicles will be good at ramming others, but you won’t be able to ram them effectively.

Ramming is used to turn over your opponents’ vehicles and getting them off the ledges. When acquired with Star, ramming becomes something extra-ordinary as your vehicle becomes almost invincible.

Offroad Shortcuts
By a general rule of thumb, any area other than main racing track is considered as offroad area. Each character in the game has different attributes for offroad driving since offroad tracks generally slow you down.

Although offroad tracks slow your vehicle down, they can sometimes get you ahead of your opponents taking a roundabout way.

However, sometimes offroad tracks are not the best option! It is upto you to decide whether or not you ought to take an offroad track.

Driving While Submerged
We have already seen this feature in Mario Kart 7 which gives the ability to drive underwater. Driving underwater isn’t always the ideal option and it also slows you down with restricted access to Drifting and Miniturbo, but sometimes you ought to do it.

Gliding
Like its name suggests, Gliding is the process of hovering in air after a large ramp jump or being blasted off a cannon.

Whatever the case be, with Gliding you can either dive in to increase your speed or pull back to increase the amount of distance covered. Gliding can also improve your speed sometimes and you’ll open up new paths and shortcuts.

However, Gliding isn’t always useful as you’ll have restricted access to Item Boxes lying on the ground while you’re in the air.

Antigravity
Antigravity can easily be regarded as the most welcoming feature in Mario Kart 8. Like its name suggests, this feature negates the natural gravity phenomena and lets you drive on the walls and roofs without falling down.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that Antigravity cannot be done on purpose. Spread throughout the tracks in the game, you’ll come across light-blue Antigravity strips.

You must drive on these Antigravity strips to gain access to this mechanism. This, however, isn’t something easy to master! You’ll often find yourself confused by the upside-down camera, but once you’ve gotten used to it, the real fun will begin!

Spin Boosting
Spin Boosting is another novel mechanism in Mario Kart 8 along with Antigravity. During Spin Boosting, you and the racer you bumped into will trigger a small animation sequence followed by receiving a small speed boost.

One important thing that you should know is that both you and the racer you’ll bump into will gain the speed boost.

Pit Holes
This is pretty straightforward! Pit Holes are anything in which you along with your vehicle can fall down which will cost you a lot of those precious seconds.

Pit Holes are scattered throughout different tracks in Mario Kart 8 and are usually found right after ramp jumps. These Pit Holes must be avoided at all times and you should always try to shove your opponents into these holes.

After falling into a Pit Hole, you’ll be rescued and brought back on the track, but it certainly isn’t worth all your wasted seconds.

Obstacles
Obstacles are scattered around the track in the shape of pipes or other track-specific objects. When hit, these obstacles will flip over your vehicle which will waste seconds.

You should try to ram your opponents into these obstacles so as to gain an advantage over them!

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