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Motorsport

28 Oct 2020

Mario Kart Live Review: Joyful chaos awaits

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Ease of use

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Create your own race

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The Mario Kart experience we all love

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Verdict

Mario Kart is the most iconic racing title in gaming.

Millions grew up playing it, and have passed it on to the next generation. But Nintendo aren't resting on their laurels when it comes to the franchise.

Mario Kart Live is the next evolution of the series, and we got a chance to test it out.

Ease of use

For something that seems so revolutionary, Mario Kart Live is remarkably easy to use.

The software you need on your Switch is simple to find and install, and the all the gates are easy to setup.

NOW WATCH BELOW - MARIO KART LIVE OVERVIEW TRAILER

The game has an intuitive and clear tutorial to get you all set up and ready to race.

It's not something that will need a tech-savvy parent to setup and after you've got the software installed on the Switch it is even easier to start up a new session.

Create your own race

We all have our favourite Mario Kart tracks, but Mario Kart Live is all about creating your own.

Now, space is a factor here.

The Nintendo site recommends a 3.5m x 3m space, so if you have a small flat or a lot of furniture it can be tricky to make an appropriate space.

mario kart live 2
FREE ROAM: You can just take your kart for a drive too!

Thankfully, the kart is small enough to navigate around and underneath tables and some armchairs.

While the pack only comes with four gates, given enough space you really can create any track you want. Be that a figure-eight or even fully recreating a classic real-life circuit.

In a living room space or using your dining table to create tracks, it is really exceptional.

mario kart live box contents
WHAT YOU GET: Four gates, two turn signs, and of course Mario!

The AR camera can struggle a touch going into other rooms depending on how thick your walls are and how far away you are trying to take it, but darting out of the door into another space only makes the creative nature of the game better.

The Mario Kart experience we all love

The AR has an amazing novelty value, but the quality of the game goes far beyond that. The Kart is a breeze to drive, and comes with the same drift/boost/weapon system you're used to.

The kart can also run on different surfaces which is terrific. Mario can handle hardwood, lino, and thin carpet, with each surface making the car behave a little differently.

Mario Kart has always produced a mixture of sheer frustration and ultimate joy, Live is no different.

It feels like the game you are used to, but the mix of digital and physical adds another layer of chaos to the racing that is simply wonderful.

mario kart live gameplay
GAMEPLAY: AR is a spectacular addition to the Mario Kart experience

If you have enough plastic cups and small items you can create a street circuit that only adds to the enjoyment. Mario Kart Live can't help but put a smile on your face, and it adds a spectator value for those that are waiting for their turn.

The bedlam only increases when multiple karts are on the same track. Using items in-game speeds up or slows down your kart in real life, making collisions all the more likely. It's the chaotic nature of Mario Kart that we all love so much.

Verdict

Mario Kart Live is the quintessential Christmas must-buy. It partners a unique interaction with the family game that we all know and love.

There is one critical draw back though, and that's the price.

At £99.99 per kart it isn't cheap, and each kart needs its own Switch to control it.

mario kart live kart 1
OL' RELIABLE: Nothing puts a smile on your face like Mario Kart

That's a lot of hardware if you want to do any multiplayer, and Mario Kart is always better with friends.

While there is plenty of fun to be had with one kart, you need two and that is a big ask.

Still, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is an utter joy to play. Just remember to keep Mario charged!

RealSport Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)