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Friday, June 9, 2017

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: How to Reduce Salt

If you're a Nintendo Switch owner, one title in your collection is more than likely Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an updated version of the Wii U's Mario Kart 8. Just look at that box art. Mario and company look so happy, just as happy as you'll be when you're racing around the track with family and friends and everyone is laughing, having a good time. LIES. If you've participated in even a meager amount of online races in Mario Kart 8 or it's Deluxe version, you know that the race tracks are a friggin' war zone littered about with multicolored Shells, Banana Peels, Bob-ombs, salty tears and many, many ruined friendships. "War has changed," Snake said in Metal Gear Solid 4. The man was not kidding.

Inkling Boy is killing it. Meanwhile, a very
angry Luigi is thinking of ten
different ways to ruin his day.
It isn't uncommon to hear those that play Mario Kart spout about the use of items, that they cheapen the game, taking away all forms of skill. The use of items is one thing that drew myself and others to this series way back in 1992 and is one thing that keeps Mario Kart from being just another racing game. Items add a element of chaos. Yeah, it sucks when you're on the receiving end of the items but when you're the one dishing out the misfortune? Best. Thing. EVER. If you play Mario Kart, you're going to have to deal with the insanity that comes with item use. That's just how it is. However, that doesn't mean your Mario Kart online experience can't be a bit less bumpy. If you want to reduce the amount of salt build up while you play Mario Kart 8 online, I highly recommend you play defensively.

How does one go about playing Mario Kart 8 defensively? It starts with item management. Holding onto a item can be just as important, if not more important than using it. Just because you've got the means to snipe a player ahead of you, doesn't mean you should.  We're all eager to move ahead, but players in the back are far more of a threat than anyone ahead of you could ever be. I've seen so many players online get Red Shells, quickly throw them to take out players ahead of them only to get wrecked after moving up by players behind them because they had no items to protect themselves. Since the Deluxe version of Mario Kart 8 let's you hold two items, that does shift the way item management works so you can better hold your position. Of course not every single item should be horded. But anything you can hold behind you to take the hits of oncoming projectiles should always be kept behind you as long as possible.

They let this kid bring a firearm to a cart race
but that's OK because bombs, fireballs and bolts of
lightning are standard fare here.
Of course knowing when to be on the offensive with your items is also key. Hit someone with a Shell over the road and they lose a few seconds and you can pass them. But if you Red Shell them over a big jump and Lakitu has to fly in to pick them up? That's even more time they'll lose because they get placed further back on the track. If you've got a chance and more than one item that can send someone flying off the track, the opportunity to make their life miserable should not be missed, especially if said player just screwed you over. A properly placed Banana Peel can also achieve the desire result as can a Boomerang toss and Fire Flower.

As important is item management is, being a good driver in Mario Kart is crucial. If you think this game only takes items to win and zero skill, think again. You need to be good at drifting, knowing when to drift wide and drift inside. It isn't that hard to overtake someone using only speed and drifts. This all goes along with knowing the layout of the tracks along with each track's shortcuts, including the tracks you hate. Instead of using that Mushroom to boost ahead of someone, use it to cut through some grass or other rough patch that slows your cart/bike down.

Everyone covets first place but being in this position also places a huge target on you. It is incredibly rare to go a single race without seeing a single Blue Shell. If you're lucky enough to have a Super Horn in your possession, you can easily neutralize the incoming Blue Shell. You know, provided it doesn't get taken away from you via Lightning or a Boo. Let's say you've got the chance to move to first place. Consider this: has a Blue Shell been thrown yet? If not, you may wanna hang back for a bit and wait for the inevitable death from above.

Are the above methods a sure fire way to always obtain victory? Of course not. But it has made my online sessions with Mario Kart 8 a lot more fun. Now get out there and show those players what's up.

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