Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Image: Nintendo Life / Nintendo

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most popular game on Nintendo Switch, no doubt partly due to the fact that it caters to players of all levels. Pro players with Jedi reflexes can compete in 200cc, while there are various speed classes and assists to help all racers have fun.

No matter what your level of play, though, getting a fast start can be a big advantage in the race. The game's own 'Rocket Start' will help you do this, but getting the timing just right will take some practice.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Starter Boost Guide

Getting the best boost with Rocket Start

Rocket Start, in different forms, has been a mainstay of Mario Kart games. In the pre-race countdown you hit accelerate at the right moment to boost off the line; when racing online there are good odds a lot of your opponents will also be doing this.

Optimum timing for the Rocket Start

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Tips Page
Image: Nintendo Life / Nintendo

Nintendo's own tip page (above) from in the game makes the rocket start sound a bit simpler than it really is. In reality if your reflexes are quick the Nintendo advice will actually be a bad example to follow.

So when should you hit A to go? It's all about the '2' in the three second countdown at the start of the race. The animation of the numbers (when slowed down) has them fade in, slide down to a final point, then fade out. The key point to hit is when the '2' has finished its descent, but before it fades. It's a tight window to get the maximum Rocket Start, so we suggest going into single player Time Trial and practising starts consistently.

Remember, the key point is when the '2' stops its downward animation.

Play safe for a smaller Rocket Start Boost

The timing window for the optimum boost is tricky, but if you're slightly late but still on the '2' you can get a smaller boost off the line. In that respect we think it's a good idea to target the latter 'edge' of the optimum boost, so even if you miss it you'll still get a modest boost to help you off the line.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Bowserohno
Image: Nintendo Life / Nintendo

Don't try to Rocket Start too early

Nintendo's advice, as mentioned above, could turn out badly. If you hold 'A' the 'moment you see 2' as it says, and happen to have quick reflexes, there's every chance you'll stall out. Any press of the Accelerator before that key part of the '2' animation (as it finishes its downward animation) will likely cause a stall and, as a result, you'll be on the back foot right from the start of the race.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Slow Start
Image: Nintendo Life / Nintendo

I'm scared and just want a normal start, help!

If you don't want to try a Rocket Start or want to practice more outside of races first, simply press 'A' at any point after the '1' appears in the countdown. You'll move off with no boost but, importantly, won't stall either.

That's it, pretty simple! Keep an eye out for our other Mario Kart 8 Deluxe guides, and be sure to share your own pearls of wisdom in the comments.

This article is part of our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe guide series, featuring tips, hints, tricks and unlocks for the best kart racing game on Switch. You can find the Full Character Roster, every course in the game, including the DLC tracks, and How To Download And Access the DLC itself.

We also explain How To Build The Best Kart, How To Unlock All Gold Mario And All Gold Kart Parts, How To Avoid Blue Shells, How To Farm Infinite Coins, How To Drift, Slipstream, And Boost, and How To Get A Rocket Start, as well as Explain And Rank Every Item, list every every compatible amiibo and unlockable Mii Costumes, explore The Difference Between 'All Items' And 'Frantic Items', plus give an in-depth explanation of All Control Options And Assists and How To Turn Automatic Steering On And Off.