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Mario Kart Wii Controls Guide

Mario Kart comes with many ways to control your vehicle. In this guide, we discuss everything there is to know about the Mario Kart Wii controls.

Mario Kart Wii Controls Guide

When Mario Kart for Wii was released 12 years ago, it took the world by storm. With 37.38 million copies sold, Mario Kart is the #2 best-selling Wii game, preceded only by Wii Sports. With the revamped graphics and innovative new controllers, it’s no wonder that it became the go-to game to play with friends and family.

But did you know that it has more than 4 different control schemes, each catering to a different audience? This article will discuss everything you need to know about these controls.

Controls Schemes used in Mario Kart Wii

Nintendo never cuts back on creativity when it launches new games. That’s exactly why this game makes use of 4 different input devices to drive. These range from the more hardcore players who need precise control over their vehicles, to people who want the easiest way to take command of their kart.

Wii Remote With The Wii Wheel

Mario Kart Wii Controls Guide

The Mario Kart Wii came with an included Wii Wheel. Don’t confuse the name with an actual wheel. That’s because this handy accessory converts your Wii Remote into a handheld steering wheel. Even though you can use the remote as a stand-alone input device, by holding it horizontally, it’s way more immersive with the Wheel.

Just pop your remote into the Wii remote, and without any further settings, you can jump into racing in Mario Kart right away. The button prompts for accelerating and braking are the default ones. That is, press the 2 buttons to accelerate, and 1 button to brake. If you have set power sliding to the manual, you can press the A button to perform it. 

Steering using this input device couldn’t be simple. Just tilt the Remote in the direction you want your car to turn. This magical method to maneuver your car is thanks to the gyroscope in the Wii Remote. It can detect orientation changes and converts them into an input that translates into turning your car.

Wii Remote With Nunchuck

This small accessory to the Wii Remote significantly changes the controls for the game. Naturally, the Remote goes on one hand while the Nunchuck in the other, similar to any other Wii game. The button prompts adapt to this controller orientation. Press A to accelerate, B to powerslide.

To steer with this control scheme, you need to make use of the analog stick on the nunchuck. While this may come with a slight learning curve, experienced players use this due to the enhanced precision it provides.

Classic Wii Controller

Mario Kart Wii Controls Guide

This controller is geared especially towards players who are more accustomed to the controllers of the other consoles like PlayStation or Xbox. The symmetrical dual analog sticks provide a similar control experience, while the controller is designed to be held comfortably for long periods of gaming.

The typical controls for handling the car are not very different from the Wii Remote with Nunchuck, but the button placement is different. To accelerate, you press the A button, while the B or the right shoulder button is used to enter into a powerslide. The left analog stick controls the steering of your vehicle, similar to the nunchuck. 

To enjoy this control scheme, you have to buy the Classic Controller separately. But the extra cost is worth it because it provides a uniform gaming experience for most Wii games.

Nintendo GameCube Controller

Mario Kart Wii Controls Guide

If you still have a GameCube controller lying around, then you’re in luck. You don’t need to buy the Wii Classic controller and you’re already accustomed to the button placement of the older one.

You press the big, green A button to accelerate. The B button is used to go into a powerslide, while the left analog stick is used to steer your vehicle. 

Which Control Scheme Is The Best?

To answer this question, we need to look into the pros and cons of each control scheme. We also need to factor in the skill level and requirement of the individual into our answer.

The Veterans

People who have been playing Mario Kart since the good old days of SNES will want the most accurate translation of their input into the game. These people are best suited for the Classic Wii or a GameCube controller.

The Rookies

People who are just entering the world of Mario Kart fall into this category. If buying a brand new Wii Classic controller seems too much dedication for a new game, but you’re more than a casual player, then this control scheme is for you.

The best input device for you is a Wii Remote and a Nunchuck. This will allow you to get the advantage of precise steering using the analog stick, without having to spend any money. Once you get more immersed in the game, you can buy a Classic Controller and enter the ranks of the veterans.

The Casual Gamer

If analog sticks are too complicated for you, a Wii Wheel with Remote is the best option for you. It allows you to jump into Mario Kart anytime without learning the complex mechanics involved in analog sticks.


In this article, we discussed the different control schemes that Mario Kart Wii uses. We also delved in-depth as to which control schemes suits a certain category of gamer more. Thank you for reading.

If you’re looking for gaming content, we also have game codes for free in-game content, tier lists for heroes and weapons, and general gaming guides.

Find out more about the game on the Mario Kart Wii Wiki page.