Over the past two months we've run qualifying heats for the UK Mario Kart 8 Championship, in which the country's fastest racer will be crowned at this weekend's EGX event in London. As part of our dedicated area within Nintendo's booth attendees of the show will also be able take part in a variety of practice and mini-tournament sessions in 12-player races, with various prizes up for grabs.
For those not attending though, there are reasonable odds that Mario Kart 8 is still a prominent part of your gaming routine, with online races a major part of the fun. As we've discovered, however, playing online can be a humbling experience in the face of rivals boosting to victory and leaving us behind. One racer who gave us a sound thrashing in one of our live streams through the summer was Jake Stevens, and he's kindly agreed — along with fellow racer Threestar — to pass on some pro tips for make the step up to the top of the podium.
With introductions complete, let's get to those vital tips for success.
Each coin you collect gives a small increase to your maximum speed. You can only hold a maximum of 10 though, and you should decide whether or not to concentrate on coin collecting or taking tighter turns on what happens during the race. Usually, it’s better to focus more on taking tighter turns if you’re in the lead. If you’re in the pack, try and collect as many coins as possible.
Picking The Right Combo
You should pick vehicle parts that suit your driving style. Try out different things and find what you feel most comfortable with. Combos with higher speed are generally the most common among the better players, although combos with at least 3/5 acceleration are also used.
This includes getting a speed boost which projects you off of the start line. In order to get the fastest start boost, press the accelerate button as soon as you see the number 2 appear on the countdown.
Avoiding Getting Hit / Bumped
This is one of the main things in terms of being able to do well. Those who consistently do well are usually better at avoiding items and getting bumped around too much.
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s an age-old saying, but Mario Kart 8 generally rewards those who put time and effort into improving. The best way to do so is by time trialling, especially on the more advanced tracks. The best players in the world are also those mostly getting world records, or by playing online in worldwide races for a long time.
This involves using the drifting button to charge up a mini-turbo. A blue mini-turbo is the first kind, and an orange mini-turbo (otherwise known as a super mini-turbo) gives a longer and larger speed boost.
This is simply hopping without any other button input. It is best used on uphill sections such as the start of GBA Mario Circuit’s anti-gravity section, and preserves mini-turbo speed and can also adjust your vehicle’s angle coming out of a boost section.
Bunny Hopping / Fire Hopping
Please note it only works on flat or uphill ground. This technique involves hopping left or right multiple times after a speed boost, effectively increasing the length of time at a greater speed. After hitting a boost pad, using a mushroom or using an orange mini turbo, hop 5/6 times either left or right. It can also help you to realign if you are too tight or wide leaving the corner.
This is where you manage to drift at the same angle as normal, but charge your mini-turbo faster. The sweet spot is found in the upper left corner for a left drift, and the upper right corner for a right drift. It is important to note that it is slightly different for each controller type, so it takes practice to find and master.
These are basically neutral hops, adding in the start of a drift. You hop, then as you land, turn left or right for about half a second, then let go of the drift button. It is most commonly used on downhill or flat ground, good examples being Mario Kart Stadium’s anti-gravity section and Sherbet Land’s final straight. On anti-gravity, you will see blue sparks come out of the side of your kart if you’re doing it right. Check the world records on YouTube or Mario Kart TV for a visual representation.
Mid-Air Mini Turbo Charging
This involves charging your mini turbo in mid-air to allow you to get a mini-turbo easier if necessary. It helps to start a mini-turbo in mid-air towards the end of some glider sections such as on Dolphin Shoals’ final glider, to make it easier to drift around the final 2 turns.
Don’t Always Trick on Speed Ramps
On some speed ramps it is quicker to not trick off of them, such as the first 2 ramps on the left after Toad Harbour’s first turn, due to less air time. It is also sometimes quicker to hop onto glider panels, such as on Rainbow Road’s glider section with the 2 split paths.
Pressing B when doing very tight turns are crucial because you can take better turns without having to get out of your normal route that you would take. For example, The last turn on MK8 Rainbow Road and the turn before the 1st glider.
Very hard to explain but it's something like if you were drifting left, you hop left but when you land you turn right. Check the video below, it's easier to see this in action.
You can boost onto ramps/boost pads which makes you go faster while boosting, you would always want to hop+mini turbo onto a boost pad/ramps.
Bounce Pad Slide
This is when you drift onto a bounce pad but let go of your boost before you hit the bounce, making you go further than normal.
Some ramps allow you to get a low ramp because you drift left/right on the very edge. It's very helpful and saves time.
So there you have it, you can see many of these techniques in action below, with this video produced by Moltrinx. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and thanks once again to Jake and Threestar for bringing this together.
Finally, don't forget that there are extensive details in our guide to Mario Kart 8 characters and vehicle customisations.