Once again, Nintendo mixes things up with one of their most well known IP’s, Mario Kart. This time they’ve managed to blend real life and video gaming, also known as augmented reality. They’ve done this before with the Nintendo 3DS AR Cards, albeit with some limitations. This time the company utilized an additional piece of equipment, an actual remote control Mario Kart that you can move around in a makeshift obstacle course in your own living room, all while being played on a Nintendo Switch. As we already stated, Nintendo loves mixing things up, and so far Mario Kart Live Home Circuit has been very successful, but it’s also been sold out since it launched.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) October 16, 2020
To be clear, it’s not the game itself that is selling out, but the actual bundles that contain the remote control cars (Mario and Luigi), the cardboard that makes up the four gates and arrow signs, and the charging cable. The game is digital only, and can be downloaded from the Nintendo Switch eShop. However, without either of the aforementioned RC cars, the game is essentially unplayable. It also doesn’t help that Nintendo themselves have basically labeled anything that they create to have a “limited time” aspect, making the consumer more likely to buy it immediately once it becomes available. This also happened with the announcement of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, although it has become more widely available since. The same can’t be said for Mario Kart Live Home Circuit, as scalpers have already taken to eBay with some intense price hikes.
Despite this, the game looks like it’s a complete blast to play. We already mentioned that the actual Mario Kart Live Home Circuit is merely a digital download game that you need to pick up from the Switch eShop. From there, you scan the QR code on the Switch’s screen using the camera mounted on either the Mario or Luigi car, and then you can start racing. We also recommend that you make some serious space when putting the gates and arrows up around the intended track, as you are playing with a real life object that can crash and stop the video game experience if it hits anything.
So far, the game has been generally well received, with most reviewers praising the ingenuity of how the game interacts with the Kart via local internet. However, one of the major downsides to this is the other part of the game, multiplayer. In order for you to play with other people in this game they need to have a Kart of their own. On top of that, the game does not utilize any wireless compatibility, which is due to the local connection between the Switch and the Kart. This means that if you want to play against other players, they need to come over to your house (or vice versa) and play with their own Kart in the very same room.
While you can play against the A.I. in any and all races, the majority of all Mario Kart titles comes from the intense and enjoyable multiplayer features. Developer Velan Studios and Nintendo set this up in a way that limits the multiplayer due to the high price range of each RC Kart, and while this is always subjective depending on the consumer, it’s still a talking point among the fan base. Regardless, Nintendo has another hit on their hands, and hopefully the company can get some more of these Karts out to more retailers, especially with the 2020 holiday’s right around the corner.
Mario Kart Live Home Circuit is available now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.