During the last week we have been with the latest idea of Nintendo: mixing the virtual world of Mario Kart with circuits in our house. The result: a sweet toy for the little ones, although somewhat limited for the older ones.
One of the great surprises that the 35th anniversary of Mario Bros left us was the announcement of Mario Kart Live Home Circuit, a strong commitment to augmented reality in which we could control a real kart, remotely from Nintendo Switch while on screen we competed Featuring Bowser’s minions with custom tracks, House Signature items, and more. A tremendously attractive idea on paper, and that when executed works quite well, although it has its limitations.
The first surprising thing about the new Nintendo gadget is the ease with which everything connects. The box brings with it a small physical Mario Kart – don’t expect the size of remote control karts that go at full speed and that are sold in toy stores -, a USB-C cable and some elements to create the tracks. Basically four doors, which are the ones that will mark the control points of the circuits that we carry out, and a couple of direction signs. Taking into account the eye-catching of these posters, which come out full of lights on the Switch screen, surely it would not have been bad to have some more.
Once we’ve got it all out of the box, it’s time to plug it in. For this, we need to download the game app -free- on Nintendo Switch, to later link our Kart (it can be Mario or Luigi) in a simple way: pointing the Kart’s camera at the QR code that appears on the game screen. When we have everything ready, we can launch ourselves to play with the title. The first of all will be to create a custom circuit. This is achieved by placing the doors in the areas that we consider inside our house (always indoors) in a physical way and, once done, go to the console, where Lakitu will tell us to stand in front of the first door, he will paint the wheels and we can trace the path we consider, which can have the curves and straights we want, but it always has to go through the inside of the four doors.
This is where we find one of the first limitations of the game itself: coverage. The kart is connected by WiFi with Nintendo Switch, and it is sensitive to interference if we have other devices connected. In addition, the radius of action is about five meters, and if there is an obstacle (such as a wall) in between, the connection suffers. Therefore, it is recommended to create the circuits in the same space and play with the console near the track, something that will limit us if you want to play from the television (which is possible).
In any case, once our first circuit is designed, we can start racing against Bowser’s minions. The test is carried out as in a Mario Kart of a lifetime: there will be objects of all kinds, turbos and some obstacles usually linked to the doors (for example, a magnet that drags us, a piranha flower or an electrifying sphere). Whenever we want, we can change the layout of the circuit, create another one again and experience it in the different displacements: 50 and 100 unlocked at the beginning, 150 and 200 when we get new trophies and a surprising mirror mode.