'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe' Smart Steering: Is it cheating or a genius addition?


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe tips and tricks range from knowing how to dodge the blue shell to thriving in 200cc. But what use is all that reading if your opponent goes self-driving mode on you? One of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's newer additions is smart steering, and it kind of feels like cheating. 

But before you call out your friends for using smart steering, here's what you need to know about the pros and cons of the new Mario Kart 8 Deluxe option.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe smart steering: How does it work?

While Mario Kart has always been family-friendly, the skill level required to complete every course sometimes require pro-level technique — especially on the hardest difficulty levels. Smart steering, a first for the Mario Kart series, is meant to remedy that.

If you notice an antenna blinking yellow while you're driving in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, that means smart steering is engaged. Congratulations, you've barely been driving at all! While you can mostly control your kart during straightaways and while tossing a shell at your enemies, turns are a different story. You can still control most of the turn, but the game takes over and adjusts for you if you mess up. While smart steering isn't an auto-win button, it will remove errors from your turns and keep you from flying off the edge on trickier tracks. 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe smart steering: How to turn it on

Xavier Harding/Mic

You can toggle smart steering in two places. The first is in the pause menu: Hit the plus button or minus button to reveal the option in the top left corner. Tap the screen or hit the left shoulder button to add or get rid of that dreaded — or life-saving? — feature.

You can also add smart steering to your kart or bike before the race. On the kart selection screen, hit the plus or minus button to gain options for motion control, auto-accelerate and smart steering. Then hit the L button or tap the screen's smart steering icon. You can easily change this during the race from the pause menu.

Interestingly, smart steering mode is turned on by default for everyone. The setting initially requires you turn it off rather than switch it on. If you've never interacted with the menu item at all, you likely haven't been steering your kart.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe smart steering: Is it fair to use?


Now the important question: Is this cheating? Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's smart steering mode certainly isn't the most difficult way to play, but it won't automatically get you a win, either.

Smart steering will keep you from flying off Rainbow Road or driving through grass, but it isn't a self-driving mode. You'll need to bring at least some skills to the table. You'll also miss out on some coins — which improve your speed — and be forced to take routes you probably didn't want to. Shortcuts are handy except when you really didn't want to go that way at all.

Ultimately, there's a reason Mario Kart calls it smart steering and not "victory mode." But don't come around us with that auto-turn nonsense. We're all about the manual turns only.

Check out more Mario Kart 8 Deluxe news, tips and tricks

If you're anxious to get racing in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, check out our video gameplay of the first 20 minutes of the game and find out the eight characters the game needs ASAP. Check out the best techniques to race with and learn how you can buy the game bundled with the console, including one bundle from Nintendo. Find out if we're expecting DLC and our initial impressions of the new console it's on from back in January. Or you can play Mario Kart 64 on a newer console instead, if you're looking for some nostalgic throwback. And when all else fails, back that thang up.