Guide: Getting more out Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit and making a great track

Aside from showing their course ideas in a trailer, Nintendo doesn’t give you any idea on how to make a Mario Kart Live course. It doesn’t help that all their trailers show a perfectly manicured “house” with just ideal conditions.

We’ve put together some tips on how to make a great course and how to best get around some of the shortcomings inherent with the technology.

The beauty of Mario Kart Live is that it’ll work in almost any space, but the bigger, the better. Not every tip will work here for everyone, but even if you get just one idea that’s great too.

Keep your Nintendo Switch Central 

No matter if you’re playing docked or handheld you’ll want to keep your console as central to the track as possible. The noted range of karts by Nintendo is 4.5 meters; however, even within that range, you can get interference. Also, try and keep it away from the microwave. 

If you’re playing docked, move your Switch as high as possible, if it’s on the floor or in a cabinet put it on a higher shelf. If playing handheld, sit toward possibly a longer edge of your track or sit in the middle. Sitting at one end of the track means the furthest away point might struggle to be in range – and could make the difference between winning and losing.

Space out the Gates as much as you can. 

With four gates included, you’ll want to make sure they’re spaced out as much as possible. This will give you enough time to collect items from them and use them before you hit the next gate. Likewise, if there’s enemies or obstacles in those gates, you’ll get hit, slow down, again and again – and that’s no fun!

Above: Nintendo’s recommended space.

Likewise, with the 3rd gate, you’ll want that possibly with the largest distance from the final start/finish line. Being able to take out someone from an item gained at the last minute will be easier with more space.

Keep things bright 

Playing Mario Kart Live lets you see your house from a new perspective, and zipping around under chairs and tables gives a great sense of speed and scale. However, its dark under there and Mario Kart Live does not like the dark. While it works, the AR nature of the game means the tracking can get confused in darker spots. This can mean items are out of place, the edge of the track could wobble around, and the camera vision will be dark too.

Keep things light 

While the four gates included layout your track, they’re often big obstacles themselves. However, you might want to add even more obstacles to your course. If you’re going to do this, think of things like papercraft or light barriers that can be moved with the kart. Nothing sucks more than getting your kart stuck and having to move it or the kart coming to a complete stop every couple of metres. 

Download more signs

Nintendo has made available printable gates and extra arrows. The arrows light up on the game screen – but you only get two of them. Download them here.

Balanced Courses 

When designing your course, you don’t want one that’s just straights, or only four hairpin turns. Keep it mixed up! Put a couple of straights in, a sharp turn and then a wide one so you can drift. Having multiple types of turns and track features means different skillsets will be required for your course. This also means where some people might hand drifting down pat, those who can’t are still in the mix because they can hairpin turn a lot better. 

Limit Choke Points

The game doesn’t know where you place your tracks aside from the guiding gates. This means the game can dump enemies or powerups anywhere. Mario Kart Live also has environmental effects too which can get in your way and shunt you off course. This means you could get hit, or moved off course anywhere (especially with a Chain Chomp). So limit the number of tight spaces you have, make them a feature, rather than a constant. It’s a lot faster!

Keep it fresh 

If you’re not having any fun because you keep hitting a chair or you can’t make a turn around all the “decor” your mum brings home from Kmart then change it. Flip the gates around and try going around the other way. Make the gates on a different angle, Make the starting gate somewhere else to make that finish line dramatic. No course is going to be right the first time. 

Have you found any special tricks for making a great Mario Kart Live course? Let us know in the comments. Check out our review of the game here.

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Daniel Vuckovic
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