Mario Kart Live: New details on Nintendo’s upcoming mixed-reality game

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit Hero

At the beginning of last month, Nintendo rolled out its new mixed-reality Mario Kart Live Home Circuit. Playable on your Nintendo Switch and the floor of your living room, it combines Nintendo’s penchant for interactive toys and its popular racing series in what many are describing as a magical experience. We now have all of the details below on what to expect from the new Mario Kart Live ahead of its November 2020 release date.

What is Mario Kart Live Home Circuit?

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit is essentially a new version of Mario Kart. It combines physical remote control-style race karts with a digital game for a mixed-reality experience. Players must purchase the camera-equipped Mario Kart Live race cars in order to run the game. From there, you design your own course on the floor in your home (Nintendo recommends only using them indoors), and race against either computer-controlled characters or up to three other Mario Kart Live setups (each of which must have the physical car and their own Switch console).

Mario Kart Live will be sold in two flavors, the Mario set or the Luigi set. Both are identical outside of which of the Mushroom Kingdom’s most famous plumbers is behind the wheel. Each kit sells for $99 and includes the remote-control kart itself, a copy of the game, numbered cardboard gate cutouts to define the physical track in your living room, and a pair of arrow signs.

Much like the traditional Mario Kart experiences, the Home Circuit can also be played at various speeds (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, and 200cc), which will have a direct effect on the kart’s battery life. Alongside the included USB charging cable, reports suggest the karts will last for up to 90-minutes at 150cc.

Set up and designing a course:

Before you can begin racing, you’ll need to design a course. This is where the cardboard gate cutouts mentioned above come into play. First, you set the numbered gates up in order around your floor space, then cameraman Lakitu will appear in-game to put some pink paint on your kart’s tires. Players must then drive through the gates they set up in order to define the race track. Nintendo suggests a 150cc race will need something like a 10- x 12-foot course, while slower speed races will work in smaller spaces.

Mario Kart Live course themes and items:

But the gates also act as a way for Nintendo to introduce some of the racing hazards and power-ups the series has been known for since the beginning. The gates can be customized to introduce dangerous obstacles to the race including everything from Piranha Plants to Thwomps and fire hazards. However, the gates can also house power-ups the player can score by passing through, including speed boosts and some of the classic item pickups.

These items, much like the included selectable course themes, will have a direct effect on your racer in-game as well as the physical kart. You can make underwater stages or a Rainbow Road course, sandstorms or those where lava shoots up that can indeed impede your progress. These obstacles, as well as the item pickups, can briefly stop the physical kart in its tracks or, after scoring a mushroom item, give it a quick boost of speed — just like in regular Mario Kart games.

Coins, costumes, and more:

While they won’t have any effect on your physical Mario Kart Live remote-control car, players will earn coins via racing to net them new costumes and rides. The coins can be spent on what looks to be a wealth of costumes for Mario and Luigi — Builder Mario from Super Mario Maker and Knight Mario from Mario Odyssey are a couple we have seen — as well as unlockable karts and more.

9to5Toys’ Take:

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit looks to be a fun and engaging way to bring Nintendo’s popular kart racer to life. While it seems like having to draw each course out for every race will be a bit tedious (here’s to hoping you can save them for later), it’s easy to see how Mario Kart fans and kids might really enjoy the experience here.

Some suggest the courses themselves seem a little bit short and bite-sized compared to the real thing, but it sounds like players will only be limited by the amount of physical space they have available. That doesn’t solve the concern that these courses are all entirely flat, with none of the crazy vehicular acrobatics the series has featured as of late, but the real issue for many will be the price tag.

It costs $99 for each player to take part here. If you’re looking to set up multiplayer races, each participant will need to own a Switch and a $99 Mario Kart Live kit. Pre-orders for both the Mario and Luigi set are currently out of stock at Amazon and Best Buy, but stay locked to 9to5Toys for your chance to put one of these under the tree this year. It officially releases on November 16, 2020.

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