Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo SwitchSource: iMore

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best-selling game on Nintendo Switch. There on dozens of characters to choose from, but you'll need to play a few times to unlock everything in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, including characters, karts, tires, and gliders. If you're setting up a multiplayer race to compete against your buddies for the first time, here are a few things to help you know how to set up Mario Kart multiplayer. Remember that while the game can host up to four people locally or eight people online, everyone will need their own Switch controller to play.

How to select your controllers

Registering your controllers for Mario Kart 8 DeluxeSource: iMore

After you've selected the type of multiplayer race — Grand Prcreaix, Vs. Race, or Battle — you'll have to pick the controllers you'll use to play the game.

VPN Deals: Lifetime license for $16, monthly plans at $1 & more

Luckily, your Switch will automatically check for the type of controllers you are using to play a multiplayer game. Whether you have two, three, or four players, you'll be asked to register each controller by pressing the R and L buttons simultaneously. If you are using Pro controllers, or Joy-Con Grips, press the shoulder L and R buttons at the same time.

If you are using a split Joy-Con — one person is using the left controller, and another is using the right — press the side L and R buttons (which will be orientated to the top when holding a Joy-Con in landscape position).

Have each player confirm their controller before continuing to choose your characters, karts, and the course.

Three different multiplayer modes

You can pick from three different multiplayer modes: Grand Prix, Vs. Race, and Battle. Each one offers a different type of gameplay, and each type has options for what type of experience you have.

1. Grand Prix

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe RaceSource: iMore

Choose from 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, 200cc, or Mirror. The "cc" means how fast your kart can go. If you're new to the game, pick 50cc until you're experienced enough to move on. In Mirror races, everything is backwards and upside-down, which is very disorienting, but tons of fun, especially if you're getting too familiar with a particular course.

2. Vs. Race

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Vs RaceSource: iMore

In Vs. Race, you get to customize the rules. You have the same cc speed options, plus the Mirror track, but you can also select whether you and the others are playing on teams or free-for-all. You can also choose the type of items that can be collected in the game: No items, no items or coins, frantic items, normal items, shells only, bananas only, mushrooms only, or Bob-ombs only. You can choose which level of COM the karts can be from no COM, or easy, medium, or hard. You can also restrict the type of COM vehicles to karts only or bikes only.

When it comes to selecting courses for the full Vs. Race, you can choose them yourself, have them randomly generated, or play in order. Lastly, you can play four, six, eight, 12, 16, 24, 32, or 48 races. If you plan on having a very long racing session with your buddies, you'll be needing a pitstop before you're done with all 48 races.

3. Battle

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Renegade ModeSource: iMore

In Battle mode, you can select the style of battle, from Shine Thief, Random Battle, Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, or Coin Runners. You can also select the same customizable options as in the Vs. Race, with the addition of round times for all but the Shine Thief battle.

  • Shine Thief : A special star, or Shine, is located somewhere on the map. The goal is to obtain it and play keep away from the other players until the time runs out. Hitting any player in possession of the Shine makes them lose it. Just run into it to pick it up and then avoid the other players.
  • Balloon Battle : Each player has balloons tied to their kart. Each time a player gets hit by another player they loose a balloon. The last one standing with at least one balloon wins.
  • Renegade Roundup : This is basically a game of cops and robbers. Some players have Paranha Plants attached to their karts. If they get close to a player that doesn't have one, the victim will be gobbled up and put in jail. However, those without the carnivorous plant can break their friends out of jail be pressing a button located somewhere on the map. The game ends when either all of the plantless players have been captured, or if the time runs out.
  • Bob-omb Blast : This is similar to Balloon Battle except that the only item players can obtain from item boxes is Bob-ombs. Throw explosives at the other players until only one is left standing.
  • Coin Runners : Coins are scattered throughout the course and the player to gather the most within the time limit wins. But be warned, each time you get hit you'll lose coins.
  • Random Battle: The game will randomly select one of the five games listed above.

Once you've selected a race type and customized your options, hit OK and you're ready to play.

How to join an online multiplayer race with friends

One of the joys of playing Mario Kart 8 is that you don't have to invite your friends over to race against them. You can do so while sitting in your pajamas by racing against them online.

  1. Select Online play from the game menu.
  2. Select one or two players, depending on how many of you are in the same room playing on the same Switch (you can have up to two).
  3. Select Friends from the Online Play menu.

    Online play for Mario Kart 8 DeluxeSource: iMore

  4. Select a friend that is currently playing.
  5. Select Join to join in a race with that friend.

    Joining friends online for Mario Kart 8 DeluxeSource: iMore

If your friend is in the middle of a tournament, you'll enter Spectator Mode until that race is over. You can then join in on the next race.

How to set up an online tournament your friends can join

You can create a tournament that your friends can join by entering a special code. You can set up your tournament to take place weekly, daily, or on a specific date. You can choose a start and end time, and select the number of races for the entire tournament.

  1. Select Online play from the game menu.
  2. Select one or two players, depending on how many of you are in the same room playing on the same Switch (you can have up to two).
  3. Select Tournaments from the Online Play menu.

    Online tournaments for Mario Kart 8 DeluxeSource: iMore

  4. Select Create a Tournament.
  5. Select Yes to confirm that you want to create a tournament.
  6. Select an icon for your tournament, which will be on display for the public.
  7. Select OK.

    Selecting online tournaments for Mario Kart 8 DeluxeSource: iMore

  8. Enter a Name for your tournament. This information will be public, so don't use anything personal (or offensive).
  9. Select OK when you're done naming the tournament.

    Creating a tournament on Mario Kart 8 DeluxeSource: iMore

  10. Set the tournament rules, and choose when it will be active.

Once your tournament has been created, make a note of the code. This is how you will share your tournament with others. They will be able to enter the code to join.

How to set up a local race

If you want to play with up to four people while sharing the same screen then this is the option for you.

  1. Scroll down to Multiplayer.
  2. Select the number of players you wish to play with.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe MultiplayerMario Kart 8 Deluxe Select Number Of PlayersSource: iMore

  3. Choose from either doing a Grand Prix, VS Race, or Battle.
  4. Select the racing class. The higher the number, the faster the karts will go, making it harder to accurately control your kart. If you're playing with beginners or young children, you might want to stick with 50cc.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Choose Your Game TypeMario Kart 8 Deluxe Select Racing ClassSource: iMore

  5. Everyone needs to choose their character by pressing the A button while hovering over their choice. Note that for anyone playing with a Joy-Con half will need to push the button on the far right.

  6. Filter through your choice of kart, wheels, and glider. If you're going for a more competitive angle, press the + button or - button on your controller to bring up the specs for each set up.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Choose CharactersMario Kart 8 Deluxe Choose Characters Plus Or Minus Button For SpecsSource: iMore

  7. Each player will need to press the A button to finalize their choices. It should say Ready! when your choices have been finalized.

  8. Select the Cup you want to play in. Each Cup has four unique tracks to play through.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Choose Kart Wheels And GliderMario Kart 8 Deluxe Select CupSource: iMore

  9. The first player needs to select OK.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Select OkSource: iMore

Now your race will begin. Do all you can to take on the competition and make it to first place!

How to set up a local Wireless Play using multiple Switch consoles

If you want to play with up to eight people locally, you'll need to have at least four Nintendo Switch consoles connected and near each other — each console will host one to two players. Each Switch that plans on joining will need to follow these steps.

  1. Select Wireless Play from the game menu.
  2. Select 1p or 2p, depending on how many of you are in the same room playing on the same Switch (you can have up to two).

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless PlayMario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless MultiplayerSource: iMore

  3. Select the Mii characters you wish to play as from the menu.
  4. Select Create Room.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Select Mii CharacterMario Kart 8 Deluxe Create RoomSource: iMore

  5. Now players need to choose which character to play as.
  6. After that, each player needs to choose the kart, wheels, and glider they want to use.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless Multiplayer Select CharacterMario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless Multiplayer Select Kart Wheels And GliderSource: iMore

  7. For an edge, select the + button or - button to view your ride's current specs.
  8. Player one needs to press the A button, when you see the Mii characters standing in the garage.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless Plus Or Minus Button For SpecsMario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless Miis In GarageSource: iMore

  9. Now player one needs to select the racing conditions.
  10. When the racing rules have been established, press the A button to continue.

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless Choose Race SettingsMario Kart 8 Deluxe Wireless Select ASource: iMore

Now you're all set to play a large multiplayer game with up to eight people. Have fun proving that you're the best Mario Kart racer around.

How to set up Mario Kart multiplayer

Now you you know how to set up Mario Kart multiplayer and are ready to race your friends! Do you have any questions about how to set up a multiplayer race on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? Head over to our Nintendo Switch forum.

Get More Switch

Nintendo Switch

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.