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Everyone develops their love for automobiles in different ways. For many of us, emotion first struck while playing with Hot Wheels or electric toy race cars on a plastic track. An upcoming Nintendo Switch game, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, is taking the idea of this classic toy to a futrisitic level. 

Nintendo detailed its newest racing game via a Buisness Wire press release accompany by an in-depth trailer. Gamers will use their Nintendo Switch in handheld mode to control a real-life remote-control car with a camera mounted to the top of it. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit implements augmented reality. This allows players see and control Mario as he races around their home in a course they design themselves.

Car enthusiasts won’t confuse this game for more true-to-life entries, such as Xbox’s Forza Horizon 4. However, sometimes it’s just more fun to ‘blue-shell’ your friends than to perfectly execute a hairpin turn.

The latest entry in the long-running Mario Kart series, which debuted in 1992 on the Super Nintendo, will be released on October 16. 

How does ‘Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit’ work?

Two children holding Nintendo Switches as they control their vehicles for Mario Kart Live Home Circuit
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit in action | Photo via Nintendo

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit may be the most ambitious game on the Nintendo Switch to date. Unlike the previous installment of the game, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there is no online component to the game. 

Instead, participants must be in the same room as one another for multiplayer use. Additionally, each person must have a remote-control car and Nintendo Switch of their own. Up to four vehicles can be supported at once, each one coming with a $99 price tag. 

Mario and Luigi go-karts will be available upon release. However, Nintendo hasn’t provided details concerning a potential future release of physical go-karts of other classic characters, such as Peach or Bowser. Meanwhile, the game itself can be downloaded for free via the virtual store on the Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite.

Four cardboard gates are included with each go-kart, and they play a vital in-game role. Players will place these gates wherever they’d like on the floor, thus creating a ‘race course’ for Mario and Luigi. A pair of track barriers are also included to help signify the boundaries of the course.

Once the race begins, players will accelerate, brake, and steer via their Nintendo Switch. They’ll watch animations occur on the screen of their game console while the physical go-karts race around the floor. However, some in-game actions, such as getting hit by an item, actually affect the real life vehicle.

Available game modes and customization

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit features three game modes – Grand Prix, Time Trial, and Custom. 

Gran Prix offers eight cups conisiting of 24 different themes for your course. Virtual drivers will compete against the game’s computer opponents, Koopalings. Meanwhile, Time Trial enourages players to get together with their friends and family to compete for the fastest lap time on their custom courses.

Custom mode allows you to use your imagination to its fullest potential. Players will have the chance to outfit their course with different themes and obstacles. It begs the question, should you even bother picking up the floor before playing the game, or should you use that mess to your advantage. You’ll also be able to determine where ‘speed boosts’ and items are placed, leaving everything in your control.

The customization doesn’t end there. You can unlock different outfits for your character and designs for your vehicle, which will be displayed on your console. However, your physical go-karts will ultimately remain unchanged.

Innovation comes at a cost 


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Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit’s release is undoubtably timely. People are spending more time at home than ever, and this game allows them to unleash their creativity. However, at $99 per go-kart, it’s quite costly.

This game is a great way to pass the time in theory, but is the price tag just too high? Only time will tell if it will rank among the best driving video games or just becomes a novelty. Regardless, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit sparks intrigue and could be a gateway for an entirely new video gaming experience.