Like us, you’ve probably been spending a bunch of time with the latest tracks in Mario Kart 8.
Some of these will be very familiar to you, others perhaps less so.
Fortunately, we’ve got a few hints and tips that might make things a little bit easier getting around and gaining an advantage over your fellow racers.
One of the newcomers to the mainline series brought over from Mario Kart Tour. If you’ve played the mobile game at any point, you’ll recognise some of the paths as this track is actually a mix of Paris Promenade 3 and Paris Promenade 2 on the final lap.
That’s probably the most important thing to be aware of is that the course direction changes on the last go-around, with a sudden directional shift to the left once you cross over the line. Fortunately, the pink arrows are pretty clear but if you’re on a bit of an auto-pilot it can definitely catch you out.
It’s also essentially an entirely different track and layout, with a booster popping up almost right away, which you’re definitely going to want to launch off of. The other big factor is you’ll go against oncoming racers, which is an additional hazard you’ll need to swerve and get around, especially with ol’ Petey Piranaha at the centre of the course.
Getting around him, it’s best to watch which way he’s facing and go the opposite, while also steering clear of the middle section if you can. Sometimes easier said than done but keeping your distance and not giving him an opportunity to gnaw at you is definitely going to help. Of course, you could use that to your advantage by knocking another racer into him. Could create some all important distance.
It’s a great course, and as long as you keep your head, prepare yourself for some tight corners, watch out for the piranha and make use of all the boosters, you’ll more often than not find yourself on the podium.
A classic is back and this one is all about the drift. There’s long bends which present perfect opportunity time and again to hold down the right bumper and slide your way round.
This can give you a nice, regular boost, which you’ll almost certainly have to deal with if you’re doing yourself. Just be smart with timings and when to release, holding can sometimes cause a spinout or even leave you vulnerable to projectiles.
Try to avoid driving over the gratings as well and stick to the course itself, the bumpier surface will slow you just a little bit and every second is crucial on this track.
It’s debatable whether using the ramp or zooming underneath the bridge to hit the booster is the way to go, especially as the glider can slow you a little bit and affect your momentum if you’ve just done an effective slide. Use your judgment.
This is always going to be a fast paced race, so don’t let up for a minute if you want to stay in the thick of things.
Speaking of classics, the N64 OG is also here! And again, drift is a pretty effective tool, at least early on and before you cross over the drawbridge.
This one definitely has more obstacles to look out for, including large, heavy boulders which you definitely don’t want landing on your head and the bats. Yes, they can hit you and will knock you back a bit, so make sure to avoid them.
You’ll also want to make sure to aim for the centre of the coins when leaping off the ramp and gliding over the broken bridge. Veering either side is a recipe for trouble, though you could take a gamble of going slightly left and immediately trying a slide on the other side to gain a boost of momentum.
The last bit of this course may be the worst of all and could present a nice opportunity for you to snatch a win as the bumpy hills can catch you out if you land on them awkwardly, or if a last gasp blue shell or thunderbolt knocks you off course. On Choco Mountain, don’t switch off until you’re over the finish line!
Easily the most interesting of the first four courses and the one where you can mix up routes to throw off other racers. Coconut Mall might feel like a bit of a maze, but you can really get an advantage if you know its secrets.
Firstly, watch the travelators. This can be key but they will rotate between going up and down. If you’re unlucky, you can find yourself mid-way on the up and it changes which can seriously slow you down. Try and gauge the timescales, think about your own time and roughly adapt to the schedules they rotate on. Otherwise you’ll be left behind.
There’s also secret routes everywhere. Before you head down after the first set of travelators, you can continue to roam around on the upper floor and dive down into the central plaza. Or when you’re heading for the big bend, if you veer off to the right there’s a hidden booster pad which can help you cut ahead of other racers.
The big one is behind the fast food stand, though. You can actually head through a back room and eventually boost off outside toward the finish line with a shorter distance on the glider.
When you do glide down, it’s also worth keeping close to the corner so you can easily slip round and rocket past the parked cars.
Coconut Mall is full of surprises, which is why it remains such a popular course. And it’s one that if you master, you can really stay ahead of the pack.
Another newbie and this one is a tricky start to the next cup as each lap is different! It combines all three Tokyo Blur tracks from Mario Kart Tour, so you’re going to stay focused.
First lap, drift, drift, drift. You can get around this one pretty quickly and when you’re not drifting, there’s usually long stretches to roam free on. This is certainly the easiest of the three laps but it can also lull you into a false sense of security.
Second lap you head off in another direction, veering right and immediately towards a pair of thwomps. If you’ve got a banana, it might be good to pop one between the two big stone faces to make it harder for your fellow racers to steer around.
Again, more drift is helpful here but also the corners are much tighter, so you’ll be able to rely on it a lot less.
Finally, track 3 has the same opening as the second, but the corners are tighter still and there’s another set of thwomps to deal with later on.
Keep loading up your projectiles, use all the boosts you see, and watch those corners. I would say this is the toughest track in the cup but just wait till you get to Ninja Highway!
Another iconic Mario Kart track that’s best know for its traffic! You’re going to have to watch your every slip and slide because the traffic here can definitely put you at a disadvantage.
It can also help, of course, getting in front of the big lorries can help protect you from projectiles or skirting around unexpectedly could create some nice distance between you and the other drivers.
I think the key thing to remember about Shroom Ridge is that most playthroughs are likely to be different due to the nature of the traffic, where it may appear and how you react to it.
Some good drift will help, of course, and you can even use some of the vehicles to vault off of and get a bit of a headstart, particularly if you’re in a tight spot.
Just make sensible use of your items, place them in tight spots that leave other racers no choice but to collide with them and be careful. Sometimes being fastest isn’t always the answer here, but who is the most cautious and careful driver.
A calming change of pace from all the other tracks in this cup and potentially one where you can pick up the points if you’re lagging behind a bit.
It’s pretty much an easy cruise around, using some nice drift, skirting the edges of the course and aiming centrally on that big bouncy mushroom so you don’t fall over the edge.
The main thing is to use your drift wisely so you roll right down the big hill and glide effortlessly over the finish line.
Just keep in control, take your corners well and try to stay central at all times. Even though the course is pretty chill, it’s also quite an easy one to fall off of if there’s blue shells and other things flying around.
The toughest of all 8 courses and one you’re definitely going to want to practice. Another one from Mario Kart Tour, this one offers both a high and low ground, but both are equally risky.
Go low and you leave yourself open to aerial attacks from drivers whizzing over the rooftops. Go high and the route is so precarious, you will almost certainly fall off at some point.
It’s probably better to do something in-between, then. At least at first until you feel more comfortable going along the course’s highs. Bouncing between ground, middle and higher makes you harder to hit, but also you can take advantage of the courses’s numerous shortcuts
I ran through this numerous times and was still finding little secrets, like a booster pad just before the finishing line that sees you glide over the top to another hidden area where you can drive over the descending spiky columns right at the beginning.
Hopping just before you hit the lip there and while you’re clambering over the roofs during the second half of the course gives you a nice little boost which can help you keep up or stay ahead.
You’ll also want to watch the Shy Guys that appear just before you vault up the ramp and towards the air as sometimes they can despawn and turn into banana skins or stay put and knock you off course.
This course is a lot of fun to play on as the secrets can give you a nice edge, but likewise you can change up your route every time to really throw everyone off and keep your racing head in the game.