The guys at GameXplain have done some testing, and found that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch seems to have removed “Fire Hopping” from the game, after the gameplay element saw controversy in Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U.
Confused? Check out their video first, and we’ll talk after:
Fire Hopping, also called “Frogging”, is a speed-boosting trick used by many players in Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U. The technique works by getting a speed boost in-game, either from a mushroom item, ramp, or most commonly by drifting around corners, and then rapidly hopping back and forth with your kart when the flames are shooting out of the back exhaust, thus “Fire Hopping”. Since your kart loses less speed while airborne, the rapid hopping allows the player to keep their speed higher and boost further, thus increasing their overall speed.
Many players have found the presence of this feature/bug/exploit/technique/other to have a negative effect on the game, ranging from minor to game-breaking, especially when used in a competitive setting. A racer accomplished at Fire Hopping can use the trick to consistently shave seconds off any race time, giving a boost to their performance that some deem unfair.
Not everyone agrees with this though. Some feel that the presence of the technique merely raises the skill-ceiling of the game, allowing players to hone their skills further and perform better through practice; the skill does take a non-negligible amount of practice to master, and being less than perfect with the hop timing can actually slow the player down, adding an element of risk.
Either way, it looks like the point may be moot going forward, since, as the GameXplain guys have found, it looks like Fire Hopping has been removed from the game in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch. The test run in the video, while not necessarily entirely exhaustive, looks to be fairly conclusive, as there is clear visual evidence of the hopping not resulting in any increased speed during the time trial. Still, we won’t know for certain until we can all get our hands on the game and try for ourselves when the game drops on April 28th.