Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit review

Text: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a remote-controlled car connected wirelessly to the Nintendo Switch. It's available for $99.99 on October 16. The game it's played with is a free download. [Image: drawing of closeup of Mario Kart toy] Text: The car has a camera above Mario (or Luigi) so you can see from his point of view on the Switch screen. Augmented reality (AR) elements are overlaid on what you see for a reality-bending cart experience. [Image: drawing of in-game play in a living room]
Text: Players build the course using four gates and optional arrow signboards. I found the more complicated you make your course, the more challenging the game will be. [Image: A drawing of a simple race setup in a living room] Text: In one-player mode, you can race against the Koopalings in a Grand Prix, do a time trial, or make a custom course. As you play, you can unlock customizations to your kart. [Image: A drawing of an in-game image of Builder Mario]
Text: Obstacles include in-game mainstays like banana peels and bombs as well as whatever hasn't been swept out of the way of your custom-made course. [Image: In-game image of living room floor including real-life toys and in-game banana peel and bob-omb] Text: Most of the course themes will be familiar if you've played Mario Kart before... [Image: In-game image of Rainbow Road course]
Text: ...but each track I tested had surprises, such as a track styled after the original Super Mario Bros or a course that sometimes becomes mirrored. [Image: In-game drawing of World 1-1 with goomba being struck by kart] Text: It's a strange and delightful game experience. Without the AR layer, it's just a relatively slow-moving RC kart. [Image: a drawing of the Mario Kart toy]
Text: I didn't have the opportunity to race against other real-life players in multiplayer mode. It requires each player to have their own additional car *and* Switch. [Image: Mario and Luigi racers, two Nintendo Switches]
Text: Overall, this is a novel toy that has replay value depending on how much time and space you want to to devote to making custom courses. [Image: dining room scene of child and Mario Kart race track]

 

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