Similar to previous games in the franchise, Mario Kart 8 comes with a variety of items to thwart the competition. All of them are easy to use, but knowing when and how to use them is the key to scoring first place victories. That, dear reader, is what this Mario Kart 8 item guide is for.

How to use the Banana in Mario Kart 8

Don’t let its smiley face fool you. The Banana Peel causes havoc on the track. Anyone silly enough to hit one of these bad boys will spin out of control and potentially lose a race. That said, you have three options after picking up this item. You can toss it behind your kart to mess with other players, throw it in front of your kart or simply keep it attached to the back of your vehicle to deflect incoming projectiles. Keep it mind the banana peel cannot stop a Boomerang or Spiny Shell. 

How to use the Triple Bananas in Mario Kart 8

Oh baby! What’s better than one Banana Peel? Try three Banana Peels. Throw the peels as you normally would, or have all three encircle your racer as you ram opponents off the road. 

How to use the Green Shell in Mario Kart 8

The Green Shell is a bit tricky to get the hang of, simply because there’s no homing ability. Steady your aim and exercise patience to achieve success, and like the banana peel, you can unleash it forwards or backwards. In addition, it will deflect certain items. 

How to use the Triple Green Shell in Mario Kart 8

Activate these items to create a shield comprised of three shells around your kart. Should you decide to fire them, remember the shells ricochet off objects and may hit you. 

How to use the Red Shell in Mario Kart 8

All the benefits of the Green Shell with one major bonus: homing ability. Let the Red Shell fly and watch it immediately go after the closest opponent. On a side note, these shells do not ricochet, and explode on contact. 

How to use the Triple Red Shells in Mario Kart 8

 

We suggest firing these Red Shells one at a time. This way, you maximize their effectiveness and take out three rivals instead of one. 

How to use the Bob-omb in Mario Kart 8 

Give this little guy a good throw and watch the explosion’s blast radius wreck your adversaries’ chances of winning. Of course, you should stay as far way from the Bob-omb blast as possible.

How to use the Mushroom in Mario Kart 8

Activate the Mushroom for a speed boost that transforms your kart into a powerful battering ram that other players fear. On top of that, you’ll have no trouble traveling along rough terrain. 

How to use the Triple Mushroom in Mario Kart 8 

Same deal as the triple Green and Red Shells. You have three mushrooms instead of one, and we strongly suggest waiting until one boost ends before using another. Otherwise you won’t get the maximum effect.

How to use the Crazy 8 in Mario Kart 8

 

If you acquire the Crazy 8, little stands between you and victory. As its name implies, this item gives you eight items to use one after the other that include the following: Green Shell, Red Shell, Banana, Mushroom, Bob-omb, Blooper, Super Star and Coin. You always use the item directly in front of your character, so be mindful of the order. 

How to use the Golden Mushroom in Mario Kart 8 

The odds of you obtaining a Golden Mushroom increase if you’re in last place. Why is it special? You’re free to boost as many times as you wish until it wears off. 

How to use Bullet Bill in Mario Kart 8

OK, so you fell way behind the other racers. Thankfully, the Bullet Bill will help you make up lost ground. Activate it and watch as your character turns into the iconic Nintendo projectile, giving you the chance to effortlessly ram through anyone in the way. 

How to use the Blooper in Mario Kart 8

The messy Blooper sprays each racer’s screen (except yours of course) with splotches of black ink, obscuring their vision. Counter it with a Mushroom, crossing a dash panel or traveling underwater. 

How to use Coins in Mario Kart 8 

You need Gold Coins to unlock vehicle parts in the game. Activating this item adds two to your total. You can only finish a race with 10 Coins 

How to use the Boomerang Flower in Mario Kart 8 

This new Mario Kart weapon acts as a projectile with one major advantage: it comes back to you again after throwing it the first time. Theoretically, you could hit the same player twice, but you’re too nice to do that, right? 

How to use the Fire Flower in Mario Kart 8 

Unleash fireballs via the handy Fire Flower, both forwards and backwards. You can even ricochet them off walls. 

How to use the Piranha Plant in Mario Kart 8 

Take a literal bite out of your opponents with the helpful Piranha Plant. In addition to it chomping fellow racers, it will add their coins to your total with every bite. Each chomp gives you a small speed boost, and you can press/hold the item button to make it chomp repeatedly. 

How to use the Super Horn in Mario Kart 8 

Behold the mighty Super Horn, the only item in Mario Kart 8 that can stop the dreaded Spiny Blue Shell. Activate it just before the shell hits you to produce a shockwave that immediately destroys the dangerous projectile. On top of that, you can use it to take out other items, and cause racers close by to spin out. 

How to use the Super Star in Mario Kart 8

Become temporarily invincible with the Super Star. Like Bullet Bill, you can knock other players aside, but here’s the thing: you’re probably close to last place if you obtain one. Better make it count. 

How to use Lightning in Mario Kart 8 

Oddly enough, the Lightning Bolt does not electrocute other racers. Instead, it causes them all to shrink for a bit, giving you a great chance to move up a few spots. 

How to use the Spiny Shell in Mario Kart 8 

Ah yes, the devastating Spiny Shell! Last place racers can shoot to first thanks to this feared item. It immediately goes after the person in first place. Similar to the Super Star, people in last place have a better chance of getting it.

For more tips, read Prima’s official Mario Kart 8 guide.