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In Mario Kart 8 (I'm playing Deluxe on the Switch but I guess it's the same either way), when you go over a jump, you can also press the jump button, and if you time it right, you get a speed boost.

You can also push the left stick in a direction at the same time to make the jump more stunty: your character might stand up in the seat, or roll.

Is this change when you use the stick purely to animation, or does it have any effect on the gameplay (such as increasing the amount of boost)? If it has an effect, does it make a difference which direction you push, and if so, what's the best way to do it?

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In short: Direction does not impact it, these are just new animations and it is just a boost when you land still.

As seen here (and my own experience with Mario Kart games that implemented this):

"A Trick (also called Stunt) is a technical move that first appeared in Mario Kart Wii. After jumping off of most ramps, characters can perform tricks. Upon landing, the player will get a Jump Boost. If launching off of boost panels, karts flip horizontally (similar to a corkscrew motion) while bikes flip vertically if using the Up or Down controls. Tricks can also be executed on boost panels itself."

There is some more detailed information there about combos, trick types and the history of it.

"Tricks are known as Jump Boosts in the stats screen (in version 2.0 and later) and the e-manual. In certain courses, it is possible to perform Trick Combos, which consist of multiple consecutive tricks to gain a much longer and faster boost."

To clarify as per my understanding about the above quote - performing consecutive tricks (jump boosts) in a row will increase your boost and extend it. Repeatedly performing tricks off jumps in quick succession, not multiple tricks in the air.

Another source:

"Stunt Boosts return from Mario Kart Wii. When you're heading over any major ramp or small bump you press the R button. If you time this right your character will perform a stunt and get a boost forward, but if you time it incorrectly you'll just do a jump and lose speed as you fumble up and over the ramp."

This source showcases a lot of different jump animations, which further solidify the idea that these are just for showboating and fun.

And finally there is another wiki that states:

"In Mario Kart 8, when you using the Wii U GamePad, you are able to control your tricks. For example, if you were to tilt the control stick up, the character would do a forward flip, but if you were to take the control stick left, the kart would spin left. Also, the sound made when performing tricks has changed."

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  • Your second quote doesn't agree with your claim: it says that "trick combos" increase the boost.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jun 28 '17 at 8:41
  • AFAIK Trick Combos aren't doing multiple tricks in the air but repeatedly doing tricks off a jump in succession to continue and increase the boost.
    – n_plum
    Jun 28 '17 at 11:02

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