Nintendo will be releasing Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch on October 16, 2020, and it’s a completely new and creative way to experience the classic racing game.
The latest Mario Kart game allows you to drive a real-life kart with the Nintendo Switch console. From ocean depths to a sandy desert, the world of Mario Kart can come to life pretty much anywhere in your home, such as your living room, kitchen and bedroom.
Ahead of the Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit release date, MailOnline was one of the first to preview the augmented reality (AR) video game and share our initial thoughts.
Nintendo will be releasing Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch on October 16
Before we dive in, it’s important to know you must own a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite console in order to play the new Mario Kart game. You will also need an Internet connection and a Nintendo account to download the free digital software from the Nintendo eShop.
There are two different sets available for pre-order, the Mario Set and the Luigi Set, each individually priced at £99.99. The set includes: One Kart (Mario or Luigi), four gates, two arrow markers, and a USB charging cable. The Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit software will be free to download on the Nintendo eShop from October 16.
Considering Nintendo titles normally sell for around the £49.99 mark and Ring Fit Adventure retails for £69.99, the price of the Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit set doesn’t seem too bad.
But if you want to play multiplayer as a family, here’s where things could get quite expensive. Although the new Mario Kart game allows up to four players to race at the same time in local play, each person will need their own Kart and Nintendo Switch console. So prepare to share and take turns if you don’t want to fork out for additional Karts.
A Nintendo representative said there are no confirmed updates on whether there will be additional characters’ Karts available in the future, or if there will be add-on items for the game.
The RC racer looks pretty durable and able to withstand light bumps from other Karts or furniture. It is also able to move with ease on hard floors and some carpets (depends on carpet thickness). The cardboard gates and arrow makers also seem pretty sturdy and easy to assemble and fold away when not in use.
Your Kart is affected in real life by in-game items in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
Nintendo are yet to confirm the Kart’s battery life, charge time and connectivity range, but the rechargeable device seems an impressive piece of technology. The Kart connects to your Nintendo Switch console via a QR code, and it uses a camera sensor to interact with real life objects and in-game features.
If you’ve always dreamed of designing your own Mario Kart track, here’s where you can get really creative. You can place the gates in many different ways so your course is different each time. By placing lightweight physical objects around your track or making barriers using household items, you can make your gameplay even more challenging and fun.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit can be played in both TV mode and handheld mode. The controls are similar to previous Mario Kart games: A to accelerate, B to brake, L to use an item and X to honk your horn. The drift button will also allow you to powerslide.
A Nintendo representative confirmed there are no motion control features. Like all Mario Kart games, you can customise your speed setting (50cc, 100cc, 150cc and 200cc), which also changes the speed of your real-life Kart.
The in-game Gates can be customised so you’ll never get bored of racing on the same track
There are four different race modes: Grand Prix, Time Trial, Custom Race and Mirror Mode. Grand Prix features 24 different courses in total and lets you race against the Koopalings.
Time Trial allows you to create your own track and race to get the fastest time possible. Custom Race allows players to design their racetracks, as well adding hazards and items, while Mirror Mode allows all the Grand Prix tracks to be played in mirror image and means right turns becoming left and vice versa.
The augmented reality is really impressive, smooth, and reactive. The in-game items affect how your kart moves in real life, such as mushroom speed boosts or a red-shell stopping your Kart from moving. Customising the environment allows different hazards and AR effects to change the physics of in-game and real-life movement.
The in-game Gates can also be customised in multiple ways so you’ll never get bored of racing on the same track. Players start with two basic gates: item boxes and boosts, with more gates unlocked as the player progresses. The player can even select the direction of in-game items and AR effects at each gate.
Character customisation is unlocked by collecting coins during races, and allows the player to unlock a variety of different in-game outfits, karts and horns for Mario or Luigi.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit comes in two different versions: the Mario Set and Luigi Set. These are priced at £99.99 each, and the Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit software will be free to download on the Nintendo eShop from October 16
Overall, Nintendo’s innovation and creativity continues to amaze and intrigue me. Much like Nintendo Labo, the blending of in-game effects and real-life interactivity offers a whole new gaming experience. And while Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit does not come cheap, the technology and quality of the product and software appears top notch, making its price tag more justifiable.
My only criticism is the requirement of additional Switch consoles to play local play, as this will bump up the total costs for families. I would have liked to see a split screen option in TV mode, so a second player could play with an extra pair of Joy-Cons, and only have to purchase the additional real-life Kart.
Ready to start your engines early? If so, you can pre-order the Mario and Luigi sets on Amazon. One of the perks of pre-ordering games on Amazon is that you’re eligible for Pre-order Price Guarantee. This means you’ll pay the lowest price offered by Amazon UK between the time you place your order up to and including the end of the day of the release date.
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