Race in the living room with Mario Kart Live Home Circuit!

For eight chapters and twenty-eight years, the Karting saga of Mario and associates has peeped out, since Super Nintendo onwards, on all Nintendo consoles, darting non-stop from laptops to home ones. Between Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (revived from WiiU to Nintendo Switch) and the "apocryphal" chapter for Smartphone, Mario Kart Tour, the total number of racing games rises to ten.

In each of these releases, Nintendo has always been able to carefully rework the game formula, giving new life to the product, proposing from time to time small or large revolutions capable of constantly keeping Mario Kart in the plethora of unmissable, essential and sales games. dizzying (and lasting over time) for each of its incarnations.
If you want to talk about the differences between chapters, however, definitely this one Mario Kart Live Home Circuit he is the one who overtakes all his ancestors at great speed, sfrancobolland them great.

The first ignition, we warm up the engines

Announced during the Direct dedicated to the products and events that would have characterized the XNUMXth "birthday" of the mustachioed plumber, Mario Kart Live Home Circuit immediately attracted the attention of the small and large public. I myself was elated at the thought of getting my hand on that toy car that would allow me to transform my humble abode into a kart track in style. On the other hand, I was also convinced that I was faced with a possible disappointment, a fun game and nothing more, capable only of surprising me and drawing me more for the novelty and the name it bears than for its quality. Basically, I spent one hundred and nine euros sure that I had given Nintendo another nice gift, rewarding more than anything else for their ability to reinvent themselves and surprise fans. Basically an expensive new trinket to whiz around just a couple of times on my Leroy Merlin laminate floor.

Turn my house into a kart track: it can be done!

Once the precious packaging of the game is opened, the first thing that catches the eye is the quality of the object itself: a small toy car full of details, with bright colors and visibly robust and quality materials. On the right side of the Kart body, there is space for the power / synchronization button and the USB-C refueling filler, well hidden by a sliding door. The most obvious detail is a camera placed right above the head of a Mario, sitting comfortably behind the wheel of the car.

Once put the Kart on the ground and synchronized with the console (and after having downloaded the game software from the online shop "for free"), the camera turns on and shows what it looks at directly on the TV screen, or on the Switch if it is used in portable mode. Once you have completed your driving license, we are free to whiz around the house as we please. There is no denying how surprising it was to see how well the Kart reacted well to the commands and how much fun was gradually looming on the horizon.

Race in the living room with Mario Kart Live Home Circuit!

The Running-in

Becoming familiar with the controls and the type of view - after all, the on-board camera had never been seen in Mario Kart - indeed, to remember well, in Mario Kart 7 for Nintendo 3DS it was possible to switch to the subjective view but it was clearly more of a stylistic habit or an experiment related to gyroscopic control. However, once the reaction of surprise and disorientation has stabilized and after I get used to seeing one's home beyond Mario's big head, it's time to get serious.

Another element hidden inside the game package are the four cardboard “doors”: probably, thanks to the experience of Nintendo LAB, the idea of ​​providing these elements (not only scenic) in cardboard instead of plastic, has certainly allowed Nintendo to be able to contain the already rather important price of the package, thus not giving up either the quality or the durability of the product, since it is rather sturdy cardboard.

By arranging these four doors around the room, you have the opportunity to create the first path of our new career as pilots / architects / engineers. To create each track it will be necessary to go through the four numbered gates and return to the starting gate, number one. It is up to the player to invent the route and how to go from one door to another, what type of route to take and how complex to make it. Once the lap has been completed and the circuit has been laid out, it will finally be possible to compete.

Race in the living room with Mario Kart Live Home Circuit!

The Warm-Up

I still find it incredible how the software translates and preserves the layout, remaining faithful to what has been drawn and perfectly recognizing the various doors arranged around the room, even if they are framed and reached from uncomfortable angles (obviously all up to a certain limit). As per tradition, Mario Kart Live Home Circuit also proposes a series of Grand Prix to be faced to win the different trophies, and it is precisely by facing the individual races of the various trophies that one realizes how much care is behind this 'umpteenth' and expensive Toys-To-Life trinket. .

Not just home circuits but also Grand Prix

Each race has a different theme and each theme significantly changes what the camera translates on the screen. We will always compete at home in a circuit created by us, but instead of seeing our walls and our floor clearly and without obstacles, what we will see on the screen will be Mushrooms Sprint in the middle of the roadway, Bananas thrown by us or by opponents, Icicles ramblers ready to freeze and then physically stop the car, Piranha plants ready to swallow the unfortunate driver or even gusts of wind that, in fact, physically move the Kart, making a simple straight a real obstacle to overcome, with the risk of ending up off the road and bump into a chair. In short, from the very first races the “themes” that characterize the tracks will also give him an unexpected variety to the experience and therefore a certain depth to the title.

Race in the living room with Mario Kart Live Home Circuit!


The races are not particularly difficult or demanding. The four Bowserotti that you find yourself challenging are not as aggressive as happens with the opponents of classic Mario Kart, and even in the most advanced classes, the disturbing elements present in the track are more "annoying" to the player. True, it is also possible to shamelessly cheat; in fact, the game does not foresee any penalty for whoever takes one shortcut or those who omit an entire portion of the path and can even skip the passage of a door. I admit that I used this trick to easily get rid of the first trophies and thus unlock the more advanced classes. The correctness and sportiness of driving clean is therefore up to the player, also because, by doing so, all the taste for the race is lost.

But it doesn't stop there! While it is true that every element on the screen physically affects the management of the vehicle, the division of the classes which, as usual, is divided into: 50cc, 100cc, 150cc and 200cc, increases the enthusiasm and desire for challenge. As in traditional games, also in this case there is a real difference in speed, which in Mario Kart Live Home Circuit results in a significantly faster and more difficult car to control.

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit incredibly manages to inherit the drift and relative sprint from the other Mario Kart. Although the physical Kart does not go into counter-steering, what we see on the screen once the jump button is pressed, is absolutely in line with the other Mario Kart, that is a vehicle to keep cornering by counter-steering properly to obtain the turbo shot. To recreate this sensation, the physical Kart intelligently adjusts the steering or slightly turning, while on the screen the Kart is sideways and in full counter-steering. Pure magic!

In addition to the classic tournaments, this time consisting of three races instead of four, there is space for a free mode (useful for testing spaces and tracks), a multiplayer mode and a Time Attack.

Race in the living room with Mario Kart Live Home Circuit!

As can be easily deduced, playing in company involves a significant economic expenditure. Although running two karts around the house is a very fun experience, the expense to enjoy this fun alternative is definitely prohibitive, especially if faced by a single person. Having one or more friends in possession of a Kart and a Nintendo Switch, brings the level of fun to unthinkable heights. Each race is thus characterized by doors worthy of the worst Demolition Derby, overtaking at the edge of the door jamb and virtual red shells that invade half the house.

To bypass this annoying economic obstacle, we are countered by the aforementioned Time Attack mode, which manages to be in itself an excellent multiplayer component, pushing the challengers to races increasingly to the limit of the baseboard and more complex and demanding circuits. The game also keeps track of the ghost of the player who holds the track record, also managing to give us information about the times and the gap on the lap.

With the winning trophies there are a whole series of tasty unlockables, such as the license that is enriched with titles to brag about and exquisitely Mario Kartiani stickers. On the other hand, during races and time attacks it will be possible collect coins, useful for unlocking bodies, costumes and horns. In addition, each trophy won will unlock the themes of the routes present, so you can customize each circuit to your liking, including the obstacles (or bonuses) to be applied to each door or the radio station to listen to.


A Toys-To-Life that makes augmented reality its focal point, racing the various grand prizes in full Mario Kart style while dodging chairs and cats conveys sensations that are as familiar as they are alienating and unexpected. To embellish the package there is a model of excellent workmanship and visibly solid and durable. I played for several hours alone and with friends, making good use of every inch of the house.

  • Completing the various Grand Prix (and thus unlocking all classes and track customizations) does not take long. The duration of the game is put in the hands of the individual player: it can last months if you want to experiment always new paths (and if there is someone to compete with, even in Time Attack), or it can last a few weeks, when the euphoria has passed. Initially, the desire to move furniture to design tracks also passes.
  • Toys-to-Life inspired by drone racing. The camera positioned on the Kart transmits the signal to the Switch (usable both in TV mode and in portable mode) and the game software enriches those images in an unprecedented home version of Mario Kart.
Collectibles and Extras
  • Collecting the coins scattered around the house, sorry, on the track, you unlock the virtual shells of the Kart, costumes for Mario and alternative sounds for the horn
Game Card
  • Game Name: Mario Kart Live Home Circuit
  • Release date: October 16, 2020
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Dubbing language: Absent
  • Texts language: Italian
Race in the living room with Mario Kart Live Home Circuit!

The Terruzzi report card

As I have already mentioned, the price of the entrance ticket is certainly not a trifle. Considering the piece of technology behind it and what the game incredibly manages to do, you don't feel cheated by the expense and therefore it is in keeping with the technology you bring home. Nonetheless, 110 euros remain a significant figure for many, especially if compared to the period we are experiencing or if, above all, you do not own Switch and want to buy it just to play. a Mario Kart Live Home Circuit. The camera, although not of excellent quality in terms of definition, returns a good image on the screen, made even more pleasant by the thousand colors and everything that happens around it.

Personally, the only limit I have found, living in a house with narrow rooms (in addition to the living room) is the range of the signal which is certainly not excellent. It must be said that from room to room there are also several centimeters of wall, so even a satellite phone could have some problems. Fortunately, however, the living room is large enough to allow me different circuit solutions: in any case, the main feature of Switch solves this problem, allowing you to position yourself in other points of the house and using the portable mode.

Race in the living room with Mario Kart Live Home Circuit!

So, despite being able to play even in confined spaces, it is undeniable that a studio apartment or a house with particularly small rooms does not lend itself well to the cause.
The battery also settles on good levels, significantly varying its duration according to the chosen class. In the course of my gaming sessions, however, I never got to download it completely.

Velan Studios, claiming to have been inspired by drone races, packs an absolutely enjoyable and unexpectedly fun toy, ready to delight young and old. Despite my thirty-three years of age, I found myself playing with a remote-controlled toy car at home, imagining alternative solutions for circuit design each time, surprising me with the technology under the hood of the vehicle and how the game transforms the camera signal into something so complex and at the same time accurate.

Net of housing and imagination limits and the uninviting admission price, Mario Kart Live Home Circuit it partially undermines the preconception of playing from a match and off to show off in front of some friends or grandchildren, managing to convince for quality and quantity. If while I was taking it home I thought of those 110 euros as sacrificed for a toy ready to lose dust, I instead found myself having fun just like a child, creating unthinkable tracks, scouring around the house and, above all, teasing cats in every possible way. , intrigued by our mustachioed hero aboard an all red kart.

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During the races, most of the screen is occupied by the camera, which certainly does not shine in terms of resolution, but which manages to faithfully transmit what it sees without any particular delay. As a side dish there are colors, bananas and props in abundance, all reproduced with extreme fidelity to the saga and without particular smudges. Even the menus and the few screens before the races are simple and intuitive, just like tradition.


The screams of the Bowserotti and the various exclamations of Mario are perfectly linked with the recognizable themes of the old Mario Kart. Nothing so new, but the music accompanies every moment of the game in a rhythmic and traditional way. Excellent idea of ​​radio stations (unlockable), which allow you to always tune in to your favorite song.


The machine reacts perfectly and the doors are recognized almost flawlessly. To affect the gameplay are therefore only external factors, such as the design of the track, the space in the house and the range of the signal, which can easily lose intensity from one room to another.

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