Mario Kart Wii: Get Good In No Time
PART ONE: Know Your Items
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With so many variables, Mario Kart Wii is as unpredictable as it is fun. Knowing and remembering a few key things can do wonders, narrowing that often frustrating gap between skill and luck to really improve your game. My quick, practical guide will have your opponents eating your karting dust in no time.
First thing’s first: Find the control scheme that best suits you. The Wii remote and nunchuck set up is the best, and offers you the best control over the kart and firing weapons, as well as the quick flick of the Wii remote to perform stunts.
There are two key elements to understanding how to play Mario Kart well: knowing how the items work and when to use them, and knowing the tracks and how to use their features to your advantage.
Part One of my no nonsense guide will teach you all about items. Please note when I say ‘fire’, it means the button you use to fire your weapon, and this differs depending on what controller you are using. For more info on this, have a look through your Mario Kart Wii Instruction booklet (which is a good idea anyway).
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Fired forward by pressing fire once. Fired backward by pulling back on the control stick and pressing fire once. As soon as you get a green shell, press and hold fire to hold it behind you to act as protection from shells and other racers. Release the fire button to release the shell when there is someone directly ahead of you. Green shells bounce off most walls and will remain dangerous for as long as they are visible, including when they are stationery.
TRIPLE GREEN SHELL
Equip the protective power of 3 green shells by pressing fire once. This will protect you from fake boxes, bananas and other obstacles on the track, and other shells. It will also allow you to keep another item in reserve when you drive through the next item box. Press fire again to fire off each shell. Smashes other racers if they get too close. If you are struck by lightning or crash out, you will lose all your shells.
Red shells lock on to other racers ahead or behind you. Red shells require a brief ignition period before locking on which mean they go STRAIGHT for a moment, so don’t fire if you’re too close to another racer or an obstacle such as a wall. Red shells can be held behind for protection against other shells and other racers. They can also be fired backwards by flicking the control stick back and pressing fire.
TRIPLE RED SHELL
Equip the protective power of 3 red shells by pressing fire once. This will protect you from fake boxes, bananas and other obstacles on the track, and other shells. It will also allow you to keep another item in reserve when you drive through the next item box. Press fire again to fire off each shell, remembering to allow for the short, straight ignition period each time. Smashes other racers if they get too close. If you are struck by lightning or crash out, you will lose all your shells.
Automatically targets the lead racer and is unstoppable. Don’t get caught in its blast radius or it will get you too. Use it the instant you get it, no matter where you are in the race. There is no reason to ever hang on to a blue shell. TIP: Seeing a blue explosion ahead of you during a race is the perfect indicator of how far you are from first place.
Gives you invincibility and increases your speed for a brief period. Use it at any time and as quickly as possible. Be prepared for the sudden increase of speed, especially if you are on a corner. Running into other racers will knock them over. Try to avoid stationery objects on the track like bananas because although they will not harm you while you’re invincible, other racers may still run into them, and that’s only good news for you.
FAKE ITEM BOX
Looks like a regular item box, except it’s red and the question mark is always upside down. Can be held behind you to knock out other racers but will NOT protect you from shells. Fake boxes are best placed directly behind real item boxes: crash through a real one then drop the fake on immediately. Other races may not see it as they go for the real item box. Avoid placing fake boxes out on their own- they will be too easily identifiable.
Sprays ink on all racers ahead of you, obstructing their vision. Should be used immediately after you get it. There is no reason to hold on to a Blooper and risk losing it. TIP: If you recieve an ink spray from Blooper, driving over a speed pad or up a speed strip will get rid of it.
Spins out all vehicles ahead of you. Use a POW Block as soon as you get it. There is no reason to ever hang on to a POW block. If you see a POW block above you player, you are about to spin out. The only thing you can do is be lucky enough to be in the air when it strikes, OR shake the Wii remote as soon as it appears- you’ll still spin out, but you won’t lose as much speed (another advantage of using the Wii remote/nunchuck control style.)
Spins out all other racers, shrinks them, and forces them to lose all their items. Strikes without warning and is unstoppable. Use lightning as soon as you get it, no matter where you are in a race. There is no reason to ever hold on to a lightning. You can smash other racers by deliberately running into them when they are small and you are normal size.
Gives you a short burst of speed. Use on a straight for maximum efficiency. If you are coming first on the last lap we recommend holding on to your mushroom for as long as you can, even if it means losing it. Coming first always means you’re the most vulnerable, and slipping on a banana or making any kind of mistake near the end of a race without a mushroom boost to help you recover can cost you the race.
Gives three separate short bursts of speed. Activated by pressing fire once for each boost. Use on a straight for maximum efficiency. If you are in first place on the last lap, we recommend using the first two boosts and holding onto the last. Slipping on a banana or making any kind of mistake near the end of a race without a mushroom boost to help you recover can cost you the race.
Allows you to boost as many times as you want for a period of time. We recommend waiting for a straight, and pressing the fire button every second or so. While using the golden mushroom for successive boost do not neglect your steering. It can sometimes be difficult to fire off the boosts as well as steer properly. Don’t be afraid to ease up on the boosts if you are going to fast. Boosting yourself off an edge or into an obstacle is always a danger.
Makes you grow large and increases speed for a period of time. Activate by pressing fire once. To be best prepared for the sudden increase in speed, try to use it on a straight. Run over other racers to knock them over while you are mega. As well as an on screen warning, mega mushrooms have a distinct melody playing around them. Identify this and when you hear it, be alert to avoid being knocked over.
Makes you spin out unless you offload it. Works like the hot potato game- don’t have it above you when it goes off. If you receive a cloud, try to bump into another racer to pass it on to them. There is no other way to avoid the thundercloud. Don’t let the stress of offloading it put you off your steering or lead to any silly mistakes.
Running over a banana causes you to spin out. Can be held behind you for protection against shells and other racers who hit it will spin out. Hold a banana behind you as soon as you get it. This will not only provide protection but also allow you to keep another item in reserve after you smash through the next item box. Press fire once to lay a banana behind you. Tap forward on the control stick and press fire to throw it ahead of you.
Can be equipped by pressing the fire button once. Do this as soon as you get the triple bananas. They will trail behind you to protect against shells and cause other racers who get too close to spin out. We recommend laying three bananas in a row (by pressing fire 3 times quickly) as you turn a corner, maximising risk of spin out to racers behind you. Bananas can also be thrown forward but this is not recommended as it increases the risk of you spinning out from your own banana.
Explodes a short time after being laid or when a racer comes in contact with it. Don’t get caught in its blast radius or it will get you too. Can be thrown forward or backward. Use it as soon as it appears, but only if you are travelling at a speed safe enough to avoid its blast radius. Always throw Bomb-Ombs backward (by tapping back on the control stick and pressing fire) to eliminate risk of running into it yourself.
Activated by pressing fire once. Transforms you into Bullet Bill, and automatically follows the track at high speed. Use Bullet Bill the instant you get it, wherever you are in the race. There is no conceivable reason to hold on to a Bullet Bill and risk losing it, even for a second.
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Be aware of on screen warnings. Your Wii remote will sound the siren and a small circle will appear beneath you showing the impending danger. Shells and bananas can be equipped to stop shell attacks, and if you have one it should be equipped, end of story. Not laying an equipped banana and losing it is better than not having it equipped. It’s like the old hip hop gangsta rule of having it and not needing it, rather than needing it and not having it.
Don’t get distracted from steering. A lot goes on in Mario Kart and it sometimes all happens at once. So, you just got hit by three shells in a row and you went from 1st to 10th. Doesn’t matter. Regroup, and watch where you’re going until the next item box, then start thinking about how to use it effectively. Items will always help you, but staying on track and avoiding obstacles even in the face of adversity is paramount.
Place bananas sneakily. Place them directly behind item boxes, for example. Strategic placement of bananas can really help your position in the race. Try placing them on a corner with a sheer drop off the track- causing you opponents to slip right off the edge.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Mario Kart Wii Guide, where I’ll examine each of the 32 tracks and highlight how to use their features to your advantage.
Got a Mario Kart Tip? Got a question about the items? Ask or comment below!
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