Nintendo’s Mario Kart franchise leads the pack of racing games for one key reason: items. No other video game lets you throw turtle shells, drop banana peels or summon lightning from the sky to shrink and slow your competitors.
With a properly timed Triple Mushroom, Blue Shell or Star, you can go from last place to first in no time.
Here are five tips for using items in Mario Kart 8, available on Nintendo Wii U.
- Be smart about Banana peels: If you’re in the lead, you’re going to get a lot of Banana peels. So put them in places where they’re hard to avoid: in the middle of narrow passageways, at the bottom of ramps, behind coins and item boxes, or in the places where you land after flying through the air.
- Don’t hold items too long: Approaching a series of item boxes? You can only hold one item at a time, so get rid of whatever you’ve got before hitting the boxes. In the lead? Throw an item behind you by pressing back on your directional pad or joystick as you throw.
- Know your newcomers: Mario Kart 8 introduced four new items to the mix. Learn them and love them:
- The Boomerang, which flies out and comes back and can be thrown three times.
- The Piranha Plant, which bites at items and fellow racers and also gives you several speed boosts.
- The Super Horn, which hurts fellow racers and destroys obstacles or items nearby — including the Blue Shell!
- The Super 8, which gives you a whopping eight items you can use as you choose. The items: Coin, Bob-omb, Mushroom, Star, Blooper, Green Shell, Red Shell, Banana.
- Know your place: The closer you are to the back of the pack, the better your chance to get more powerful items. If you’re bold enough, you could even try dropping back a place or two to get a better item, then using it to speed back ahead.
- Strike at the right time: If you get the all-powerful Lightning strike, don’t just use it right away. Look at the map to see when a lot of players are in an especially dangerous area, including one with jumps or other obstacles. Then strike to do maximum damage.
– Bryan Wendell