Mario Kart is a popular Nintendo racing game that’s been around forever – it’s fun for the whole family. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit puts a new twist on the game by turning your space into a virtual race track where you compete using a real toy car.
To test it out, I enlisted the help of my kids. They are familiar with the standard game, so explaining this one to them was pretty easy.
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To play, you need a Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit kit, which includes a special race car. Nintendo sent a kit for testing purposes. It’s equipped with a camera that connects wirelessly to the Nintendo Switch, which you’ll also need. The kit is $100 and comes in a Mario or Luigi variant.
The game itself is a free download.
For starters, you’ll have to build a track. Don’t worry, it’s virtual, but you will use special cardboard cutouts supplied in the car kit. The cardboard has special markings that help the car “recognize” where you place them.
Next, you’ll take a test tap to “teach” the game the course you’ve built. It’s pretty neat, in the car’s wake you’ll see a little paint that traces the course on screen.
This is where the magic begins. Through the Switch screen, you’ll see a virtual course overlaid onto the space around you. You’re literally driving Mario through the dining room and under the chairs, and you see that on screen, along with the various racers, obstacles and trademark power-ups.
The game is a blast and my kids couldn’t get enough of it. I also like how it’s a mix of real and virtual so you don’t feel as bad having your kids racking up more “screen time.” Unlike Nintendo Labo, which was a neat idea but a bit too complicated to play with over and over, Mario Kart Home Circuit is entertaining, innovative, and easy to have fun with.
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