It’s music to the ears of millions of parents to hear that big tech companies are looking at how they can creatively merge actual reality with the digital screen-based world.
We’ve seen first hand how the likes of LEGO are turning physical models into digital characters you can interact with on-screen and now, Nintendo have taken the same step with Mario Kart Live, Home Circuit.
Product: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
Age Range: 6 years+
Dadsnet Rating: 5 Stars
What’s In The Box:
- Mario figure in his Kart
- USB Charging Cable
- 4 Cardboard Gates
- 2 Arrow Markers
- Getting Started Guide
My first concern was how quick and easy this would be to calibrate and set up, being a fancy bit of tech. It turns out, my concern was terribly misplaced and I should have had more faith in Nintendo – rookie mistake, I know.
It’s really straight forward.
The gates unfold with flaps of cardboard that slot into place to stand up. Each gate is numbered indicating the order you need to drive through them.
Next, download and install the game and then connect your kart. You’re then prompted on screen to set up the gates and your course. One tip, which I can’t claim as my own, is to weigh down the gates when you’re first setting up – it just helps if you crash the Kart into them, to keep them in the correct place.
Then you can get creative – it might be wise to start off simple, but you can have a lot of fun with this part; this aspect really adds to the value to this game. Get creative with your kids to make a really interesting circuit around your living room.
Once arranged, Mario will ‘paint’ the course. Start off with gate 1, and follow suit. You can then either confirm the course or re-make it.
Once confirmed, hey presto, you’re now racing in your living room. Or your kitchen. Or your bathroom…
The more you play the more you can unlock; higher speeds, new karts and different costumes for Mario. We all know that kids go crazy for these kind of in-play challenges.
You can race against virtual opponents and play against a friend. If you buy a 2nd kart, you can actually get a 4 player game going.
You can play Grand Prix tournaments with different themed courses, still in your own home but with various decorations and add-ons to make each course a little different.
It wouldn’t be Mario Kart without collecting coins and powers to battle with, but the addition here is that they also impact your kart in reality too. As in the game, a mushroom will give your physical kart a burst of speed and if you get hit by a shell from an opponent, it will send you off course just like in virtual reality game-play.
The kart itself is pretty durable – let’s face it, when kids are driving any kind of remote controlled vehicle, it needs to be robust! The battery life is decent and charges by USB-C cable which can be plugged into your dock.
What’s the verdict?
There’s no doubt that Mario Kart Live; Home Circuit is sensational.
I’m no developer, but it was always going to be a hard act to follow the exceptional game-play from the Mario Kart family of games. Adding in the additional element of augmented reality whilst maintaining the high standard Mario Kart is used to providing, couldn’t have been an easy task, but they’ve smashed it out the park.
And don’t panic. Hard wood floors and decent sized rooms aren’t necessary – even on carpet, in small spaces, there is still a lot of fun to be had, and the performance of the game still applies. Plus, the more obstacles, the more creative you can be and the more of a challenge you can set yourself!
All in all this is a fantastic addition to the Mario Kart world and, if you’re fan in general, this is a must-have.
As we come in for the final lap of this review (like what I did there?), I want to come full circle – uniting virtual reality with the physical reality puts gaming for the kids on a whole other level.
It builds creativity, imagination, team work (they are often designing courses together – and getting various new obstacles to use) and that’s all before you even get to a screen.
At £99.99 this is more expensive than the usual game price but in my mind, for the additional benefits you get, it’s easily worth the extra spend.
It’s without doubt that Mario Kart Live; Home Circuit receives a Dadsnet rating of 5/5 stars AND the Dadsnet Approved award.