Gift guide: Mario Kart Live Home Circuit is the perfect Christmas gift for gamers young and old

Everyone’s favourite plumber is back to play in a new way

Best Toys 2020 Mario Kart Live Home Circuit
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a fresh take on an old game that will captivate young players and those old enough to remember a more pixelated plumber. While almost everyone has played a Mario Bros. game on a screen at some point, Mario Kart Live brings Nintendo’s most famous character to life in a new way by letting players drive Mario around their home for real, while seeing his view in AR on their console.

The kit includes a cute kart complete with either Mario or Luigi, as well as four numbered gates which are needed to create a course. Players can also use anything around their home to add obstacles. What’s really neat is that if you get a speed boost on the Switch, the kart shoots forward in real life, so the game effects the physical kart.

It’s a novel concept that encourages creativity in making courses and will no doubt entertain a family throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Who's it for?

Kids and teenagers: The toy is made for children over the age of six, but as the Nintendo Switch is a huge hit with older kids and teenagers, we expect this will be a feature on many Christmas lists.

Retro game fans: Mario has quite a following, and anyone who has enjoyed following Nintendo’s plumbers from pixelated games on the NES to the N64, Wii and beyond will enjoy this new iteration. Who doesn’t love a new toy at Christmas?

People with lots of space: While it’s possible to make a course on any flat surface (in theory at least) players would benefit from a large, tidy and open-plan home! 

Age range:

Mario Kart Live is designed to be played by anyone over the age of six. It’s sure to delight kids and adults alike and is already selling out online.

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit

(Image credit: Nintendo)

What makes it the ideal Christmas gift?

A fun real to: Mario fans who have always wanted to play with the plumber off-screen, now can. Mario Kart Live lets players race a real kart through their home. They’ll need a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite to control the little plastic kart, which reacts to what’s happening in the game on-screen. So, if, for example, a player uses a mushroom, their kart will get a small burst of speed in the real world, but will come to a stop if they are hit by another racer’s red shell. Pretty neat eh?

Encourages Creativity: Construction sets are always popular presents, but this toy offers another chance to get creative, allowing players to design their own race track in the real world by placing four numbered gates around a room and using tables, chairs and other toys as obstacles if they wish.

Uses the magic of augmented reality: Thanks to the magical effects of augmented reality, in-house courses come alive on the screens of consoles with a view from the kart’s driver’s seat. Once gamers have placed gates and created courses in the real world, they can see them come alive with different in-game environments like jungles and snowscapes and obstacles like Piranha Plants on the screen of their console.

Versatility: The game itself has loads of options such as racing against Koopalings in eight Grand Prix cups, or beating other real racers to the finish line, although of course this requires more gadgets and handhold consoles. But the fact players can switch up locations and courses will keep this present interesting for a long time and it’s a more sociable option too as up to four players can compete in multiplayer mode.

Buy Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit here:

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Sarah Griffiths
Sarah Griffiths

A journalist with 10 years experience, Sarah specialises in Science and Technology, writing for the BBC, national papers and consumer magazines, including T3, of course.