Of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s two new, casual-minded features, it’s auto-accelerate that seems to have found the biggest fanbase. The option keeps racers moving forward without forcing players to mash the accelerate button, and that’s just what people are finding themselves really liking about it.
At first blush, the auto-accelerate feature seems made for newcomers only, or for those with serious conditions requiring them to use it. A big part of the Mario Kart experience is timing those button presses just right to get the starting bell boost. Letting go of the button to brake can also be used as a strategic play. In short, acceleration is one of the ways that players can exert their control in the game. To give that up seems, at first, unthinkable.
But there’s a lot more for the average, even experienced player to like about auto-accelerate over its companion feature, smart steering. Smart steering works in reverse: It guides players’ karts so that they remain on the road at all times, turning them when they need to turn. Smart steering also makes all of the game’s skillful shortcuts inaccessible. It’s a useful option for those in need of additional help with the joysticks. Otherwise, smart steering can make the game more linear, to the point of blandness.
By letting the game accelerate on the player’s behalf without also controlling the direction they move in, players can continue to search for a track’s unique features and shortcuts. It’s not like players can’t jump in and press the accelerate button whenever they want, anyway, even if auto-accelerate is on.
From the looks of Twitter, people really appreciate the rest for their weary thumbs.
I've gotta say, I really appreciate the new auto-accelerate option in MK8D. It makes hand cramping much less common for me than it used to.— Mason (@HeroOfTime125) April 30, 2017
I have to admit, the auto-accelerate feature in #MK8D is really nice. Saves my thumb from pain.— TACMON (@TACMON1) April 30, 2017
The Auto-accelerate feature in MK8 Deluxe is the best idea ever because I don't have to wear down my A button— Mr. Luigi (@Mr64Luigi) April 30, 2017
Mk8d has a new thing called auto accelerate and I thought it was dumb until I realized how hard I was pressing my thumb on the go button— ariel (@squidstitch) April 29, 2017
There’s no shame in using smart steering, auto-accelerate or both in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. After years of forceful button-holding in Mario Kart games, maybe we should appreciate that the Nintendo Switch entry wants to give us a break.