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Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit’s multiplayer is expensive and chaotic

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In order to enjoy playing Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit with friends, you need to embrace chaos. And I don’t mean the typical chaos associated with Mario Kart, like frustratingly timed blue shells or the nightmare of speeding through Rainbow Road. Here, the chaos is more physical — and it can be a lot of fun if you don’t mind the mess. Or the cost.

In my review of Home Circuit, my biggest issue was how inaccessible multiplayer can be. It’s not something you can enjoy out of the box. The game — which has players controlling RC karts with their Switch, while driving through a real-life obstacle course — is expensive to play with friends. Each player requires not only a physical kart, which cost $99.99 each, but also their own Switch to control it. There’s no form of split-screen play or any other kind of more approachable multiplayer solution.

That said, if you can gather up all the necessary hardware, it’s a much better experience with friends. Home Circuit multiplayer works the same as the base game. You create a course by setting up four cardboard gates around your house, which form the outline of your track. The game then augments this by adding virtual power-ups, obstacles, and visual effects to turn your living room into something out of the Mushroom Kingdom.

One of the stranger things about playing Home Circuit solo is the lack of physicality. While your kart has to deal with both real and virtual obstacles — you can bang into a coffee table and be hit by a red shell, sometimes simultaneously — your competitors don’t have the same challenge. Even when you bang into them, there’s not much of an impact; you can’t go around knocking computer-controlled characters off the track.

But that changes when there’s another real kart in the race. You can bang into each other and push your friends into IRL obstacles. In my experience, this mostly turned into a huge mess. My family built an expansive race track using small, colorful pylons to mark the edge of the road, carefully placing everything just so. After one lap, it was a disaster. Pylons were everywhere, the gates kept getting pushed around, and it wasn’t long before our cats got confused and started running through the course.

This only made things more fun. Mario Kart has always been a game about mayhem. Throw together two remote-controlled cars in a pile of plastic and cardboard, and that’s amplified even more; I can only imagine how wild things get with three or four karts. (It also makes a great spectator experience, as those not playing can watch the tiny cars zipping around and help repair the track mid-race.)

Having another person playing also helps bring out the toy-like nature of the karts. While racing is obviously the main point of playing Mario Kart, Home Circuit also has a free-roam mode where you can just drive around the house. My kids, aged five and seven, turned this into a game of hide-and-seek, using the karts’ built-in cameras to spot each other hiding around the house. They’ve actually spent far more time seeking than racing so far.

It’s not a surprise that Home Circuit is best experienced with other people. That’s the case for most games, and it’s always been true of Mario Kart. But it does make that inaccessibility stick out even more, because it really feels like you’re missing a key part of the experience if you play the game solo. It’s a lot to ask of a family to have multiple Switch units and spend $99 per car just for a fun afternoon. I’ve been having fun with it, but I can’t say it’s worth the added expense.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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