Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit Game Poster Image
Cartoonish racing leaps off your screen and into your house.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There aren't overt messages promoted by the game, although the action of each race promotes competition. It isn't always fair competition, but it's competitive by nature.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Arguably, Mario (or Luigi, depending on which Kart you pick up) is a positive character, facing off against Koopalings. But there's no character development here apart from gaining access to new races.

Ease of Play

The kart is easy to control and drive, although things get more challenging based on the track you build and the speed class of the race itself. Some track conditions can also affect how easy or hard your race may be.

Violence & Scariness

Racers use shells, stars, and other items to interfere with their opponents. No blood or gore is shown, and the result is that their karts slow down or stop temporarily. This can sometimes result in a crash in real life, but that's not too damaging to the kart itself.

Language
Consumerism

This is the latest game in the Mario Kart franchise, which is a spin-off of the Super Mario Bros. franchise. The game itself is free, but the kart and the gates needed to play the game cost $99.99, and each player also needs their own Switch, which can be steep.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a racing game exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. The game is the latest chapter in the Mario Kart franchise, which is a spin-off of the massively popular Super Mario Bros. franchise. While the game itself is a free download, the kart and the gates that players have to buy to race around your house cost $99 a piece, and each player needs their own Switch to participate in a race, which can bet expensive. Players will use shells, stars, and other items to attack other racers on the race course, who will slow down or stop temporarily when hit. The attacks are cartoonish and not violent in any way, although they can sometimes cause carts to crash into objects in your house. Aside from that, there's no inappropriate content in the game. Players should be aware though, that while the kart is easy to control, your challenge is based off the track you build, the speed class of the race, and certain track conditions.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old November 7, 2020

Great!!!

REALLY GOOD, IMAGINE PLAYING ON A SCREEN THAT IS ACTUALLY IN YOUR HOME!
Kid, 8 years old October 27, 2020

if I can rate this a half star I should rate this game 0% out of 10000000000000% it's to close why would someone envent this game

it asks for blue light don't buy this game it won't let me play it doesn't tell me what to do

What's it about?

MARIO KART LIVE HOME CIRCUIT is the latest chapter in the popular racing franchise, but this one comes with a significant twist – instead of racing around new tracks on your screen in vibrant locations, Mario (or Luigi, if you choose) will take his racing skills to a new arena: your house. Home Circuit is an augmented reality game that's split in two parts: there's the physical part, which consists of physical cardboard gates and signs and an actual kart with a camera that you'll charge and drive wirelessly with your Switch. The digital part is a free to download game that presents nine separate racing cups (eight themed, plus a cup that pulls random tracks from the previously played circuits), or time trials. Players will set up their courses in their house, using furniture and their imagination to construct tracks, and will choose from one of four speed classes ranging from 50cc to 200cc races, to compete in against Koopalings (or other players, if they've purchased a kart as well). On the Switch's screen, players will see their surroundings as part of a course they've defined, complete with coins (which unlock a lot of customization options for Mario, his kart, and his kart's horn). There are also question blocks to provide speed boosts or weapons to slow down opponents, and potential hazards, like ice or blocks. Can you take the checkered flag and conquer each racing track?

Is it any good?

This racing game manages to capture the fun of the franchise, but its price and the space of your house may be its biggest obstacles to the winner's circle. Nintendo is well-known for its peripherals, and Mario Kart Live Home Circuit is the latest in the company's tradition of thinking outside of the box (or in this case, outside of the TV). Thanks to a clever melding of the wireless kart and its camera along with a set of cardboard gates, players can create and recreate any series of tracks they can think of to test their racing skills around their house. It's hard to not be blown away by just how innovative the kart and the course creation is after just a few minutes of play. The kart is extremely responsive, and is able to move from carpet to hardwood or tile floors without missing a beat (lower speed settings may crawl as it tries to get traction on these surfaces, while higher speeds have no issue here,) In fact, you'll be up and ready to build racetracks within minutes, and if you want, you can swap them between races to test your skills on new tracks you create. It's also very cool to discover how the game scatters in coins, question blocks, and environmental threats across the virtual landscape in your house to give you a challenge. Sure, some of your opponents may drive through furniture or other obstacles that you see through the kart's camera since they aren't actually real, but for the most part, they follow the course that you've initially designed. What's also notable is that the karts have pretty solid battery life: you can get at least two hours on slower speed classes, but it'll be shorter as you race at faster speeds, especially as the kart whips around corners. The sense of speed from the kart, especially at 200cc, is incredible as well – it adds an extra challenge to your races as you drift around corners or find yourself spinning out on hairpin curves from going too fast.

Home Circuit isn't perfect, especially if you happen to have pets, who will frequently choose to turn the kart into a new toy to chase around the house. You're definitely restricted by the amount of space you might have in your house, so you may have to become creative with your course layouts to keep the gameplay fresh. In fact, changing the layouts does become a challenge to prevent things from becoming repetitive, because it's up to you to make courses different, instead of relying on the tracks that Nintendo has developed in previous Mario Kart games. Those are minor concerns to its biggest hurdle, which is the price – a hundred bucks for one kart is expensive, but if you want to play with someone else (or you buy it for your kids), you're paying that for each kart, plus you have to buy or have a separate Switch for multiplayer. That's a steep bill for anyone's pocket. But if you can overlook the price, and are looking for a unique racing experience, look no further than Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about marketing. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit can be fun, but it can also be pricy, so can you justify buying this racer when you could easily buy two copies of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the same price?

  • Do you think that you'll have more respect for track editors or courses in racing games now that you've built your own? Do you think that the building of courses may make you want to create your own tracks in other racing games?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love racing

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