Powerups (also gifts) are special items a player can get from a giftbox to have an advantage or make other players have a disadvantage. Powerups are considered to be some kind of opposite things to bananas.
A player can hold only one type of powerups that waits for usage, if he gets another type of powerup, the old collection is dropped. Otherwise, the number of powerups of that type increases. Since 1.1, players can see rivals' held powerups, this is very useful for tactics.
Explosive items are enabled after 15 seconds from the start of a race.
Types of powerups
There are several different types of powerups.
A big brown rubber ball. It bounces ahead on the track until it reaches the leader to blow him up... or until the leader tricks it and the ball appears to be ahead of the leader, in which case it blows itself up. If a kart appears to be below the basket ball, it is squashed (but for a shorter time than after a swatter). Backwards usage results in the same event as forwards usage.
It is hated by fast players during the race because sending a basket ball requires no skill but just reduces winning chances of fast players. Anyway this is the part of the game.
One can also notice that the basket ball bounces faster when it is closer to its target, this can help determining the distance without actually seeing the leader or looking at the minimap.
A blue, rather small plastic ball. Bowling balls will roll on the surface ahead or behind, depending on the shooting direction, and can bounce off walls and invulnerable players. They will exist as long as they hit someone or fall in e.g. water, or after some (pretty long) timeout. It is more tricky to hit a rival with a bowling ball than a cake.
A dirty pink substance that, if you use it in the normal direction, protects you for some time from any hostile powerup (but only one), and removes all bad things from the kart (an anchor, or a parachute, or a bomb). When the time expires or the kart is hit by a powerup, the gum pulls down from the kart onto the surface and no longer protects the kart, however, riding into the lying gum results in slowing down with a small rotation in a random (counter- or clockwise) direction. Using it backwards results in putting the gum behind the kart without protection. This is useful to get rid of nasty approaching rivals.
When the protection time is about to expire, the gum blinks.
(Also Cupcake.) Probably the strongest powerup. Forwards or backwards, it is thrown automatically into the closest vulnerable opponent if possible. Keep in mind that the cake only works when the throwing player moves. Also you should remember that hills, height changes, and other objects can prevent the cake from hitting. Note that other karts can also be hit by the explosion (but less and they will lose less time).
Strongest powerup according to skindoormimiz, it slows down all vulnerable karts in front of you that don't have a bubblegum protecting them. The faster the kart goes, the more it is slowed down. The direction doesn't matter.
When applied forwards, establishes a connection to another player (which is then slowed down) or a static object which speeds you up. When shot backwards, it finds the closest player behind (if any) and makes him "blind" (the center of screen displays a dark red circle with Tux in the center unless that player cheats with textures). If a target player has a bubblegum protecting him, it is pulled down instead.
(Also Switch.) When used in either direction, gift boxes are changed into bananas and vice versa; all nitro cans change into bubble gums on the road, and bubble gums become big nitros. The action of swapper lasts 5 seconds, you need to have intuition on when that time interval ends for better results. If a swapper is already acting, another swapper usage cancels the existing swapper immediately, and there is no 5 second timeout for that. In other words, a continuous time interval with items swapped cannot last more than 5 seconds.
Swapper is obviously useful to escape from bananas, and using the minimap you can make problems for someone else (of course, you should carefully watch whether someone has a swapper). As a side effect, you can pick someone's collapsed gum under swapper mode and get a free big nitro.
Being a nasty green overpowered thing to push the rivals like flies, a swatter squashes (slows down and halves the height for some time) all nearby rivals. You can also use it to remove parachutes or bombs caused by bananas.
The zipper gives a big speed boost. Use it carefully to not fall off the track. In Time Trial, you have only those by default, one per lap.
A rule of thumb says not to use all speed-ups (zippers and nitro) at once; instead, it's faster to use zippers separately, and nitro using short portions. This, of course, is not true for the very finish when you should use everything.
Interaction of powerups
- A basket ball can be neutralized with precise shooting behind with a bowling ball, a cake or a plunger. A protecting bubblegum protects from one basket ball if you are the leader, otherwise it doesn't protect from squashing. Two basket balls hit only once if they are too close because of invulnerability.
- A bowling ball can be neutralized with a bowling ball, sometimes with a cake or a plunger. A protecting bubblegum protects from one bowling ball. Two colliding bowling balls disappear.
- A bubble gum is pulled down by basket balls, bowling balls, cakes, parachutes, plungers, swatters, and bananas. A protecting bubble gum defends the kart from a lying "attacking" bubble gum.
- A cake is sometimes stopped by a bowling ball, a cake, or (maybe) a plunger. A protecting bubblegum protects from a cake.
- A parachute's action is only prevented by a protecting bubble gum (before of after), or by using a swatter after.
- A plunger's action is neutralized by a bubble gum (before or after).
- Swappers and zippers do not interact with other powerups, the mechanism of using 2 swatters is described above.
- You can defend from swatter with a bubble gum, but only once. If the swatter is still near, in a short while it will hit you again.
It's possible to change the item configuration on some files:
- add the item Anvil that is the same of the one inside the bananas. When used, it will apply an anvil to the first place.
- obtain the same item you hold when you hit a gift box
- when you hit a gift box, you won't lose the item, but it can increase the amount of weapons, though only if the item is the same as the one already holding
- Bubble gum explodes when you shoot something or touch a wall