Does Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit work on carpet?

Mario Kart Live Carpet
Mario Kart Live Carpet (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

Does Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit work on carpet?

Best Answer: Yes, but not very well. These Mario RC cars can work on really low-pile carpet and rugs relatively easily. But while on thick carpet, they can easily get stuck or get hair wrapped around the wheels, leading to motor burnout. If you don't have a large hard floor area in your home, you can rectify this by putting down a kid's play mat for a harder racing surface.

What is Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit?

Mario Kart Live is an augmented reality game where players use their Nintendo Switch to control a real-world RC car with a camera attached to it. The kart comes with a set of cardboard gates. Players put these gates down on the ground to mark the track then the software overlays virtual characters and obstacles on the Switch screen. To make things more fun, it's also a good idea to outline the play area with racetrack obstacles.

The physical karts react if they touch virtual elements like red shells, bananas, or opponents. For instance, if you run into a piranha plant, the RC car will stop for a couple of seconds until the evil flower lets you go. Or if you use a mushroom, the kart will speed up in real life.

How well does Mario Kart Live work on carpets and rugs?

As you can see in the above video, I was able to get the kart to run around on short rugs and high-pile carpets. However, it was often a frustrating experience when racing on thick fibers. If you're playing on a high-pile carpet when something within the game forces your RC car to stop, then it can be tough to get those wheels turning again, especially if the battery is getting low. It's better to play on a hard floor or really low-pile carpet and rugs, so you don't overwork or burn out the kart's motor.

If you don't have any hardwood, tile, or concrete floor in your home, you might want to consider picking up Kids Foam Play Mats as they can easily be put down on your carpets to give the karts more traction. Then when you're done playing Mario Kart Live, you can put the mats away for later use.

How much space do I need to play Mario Kart Live?

Nintendo recommends that players have at least a 10-by-12-foot play area. In our Mario Kart Live review, we also discovered that the Nintendo Switch connects to the RC car with a local Wi-Fi connection. To clarify, this isn't an online Wi-Fi connection but rather a local signal similar to Bluetooth that's emitted within a short distance.

You need to keep the Nintendo Switch relatively close to the karts for the game to work properly. If you're more than 16 feet away, you might have connectivity issues. Additionally, the Switch and the kart connection can get really choppy if walls or other obstacles interrupt them. So, it's best to have a large open room to play in.

Can I play Mario Kart Live outside?

Nintendo states that this is an inside toy only. Technically it will work outside, but the Japanese gaming company probably advises against it since the expensive karts are more likely to get damaged while outdoors. For instance, driving them in dirt, mud, grass, water, or simply allowing moisture inside the small kart could cause permanent damage.

If you have a large sidewalk or driveway or maybe even a local park with a tennis court or basketball court, you could probably use it there safely as long as the play area is clean and devoid of debris.

Another thing to note is that it can be tough to see the Switch screen outside. So unless you're in a shaded area, you might not be able to play when the sun is on your screen.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.