Nintendo is a company that is known for excellent IP and typically rock-solid gameplay. Mario, Zelda, Smash, and the list goes on and on; Nintendo knows how to make a quality game.
Starting today, you can download Mario Kart Tour and while the game is free, if you want the full experience, be prepared to pay $4.99, a month. Yes, the same amount as Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass.
The game itself is fine and has the hallmark simple controls that Nintendo has mastered. You don’t even ‘drive’, your character moves forward as long as you are pressing on the screen and your primary controls are steering and firing the items that you pick up.
There are two steering modes, simple and drifting. If you want to win, you will need to pick the drifting option as it provides significant benefits in terms of boosting around turns but is also much harder to control.
If you like Mario Kart, you will probably enjoy the gameplay as the races are quick, roughly 2-3 minutes in length, and the gameplay gets close to the early-Nintendo nostalgia. If you do not like microtransactions, you will not like this game.
The other odd thing about this game is that it feels overly complex. There are powerups that you must unlock, different carts that become available, eventually, and other add-ons for your character. There are also multiple different in-game currencies like star tickets, rubies, and coins that you need to unlock for various tasks. And of course, there is a loot box, or what Nintendo calls ‘the pipe’ which you can chuck some rubies into and hopefully get a car, a glider, or something else that somehow makes the game better?
What’s missing is the classic pick a character (Yoshi, always Yoshi) and race, with each race being it’s own microcosm of a game and once the race is over, you move on without having to worry about if you got enough coins or other powerups for the next race. Nintendo put a lot of effort into this game to make it complex, rather than sticking to the basics of a simple, fun, racing game.
The game is free to play on iOS and Android and it is out now. You can give it a try and see if you think it’s worth $60 a year for a mobile version of Mario Kart, otherwise, you can click through what feels like 15 different screens between races for two minutes of a little bit of fun.
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