Mario Kart Tour Review

A new wave of Nintendo fans emerged when Mario Kart Tour was released Sept. 25.  Previously Mario Kart was a game played only on consoles: NES, DS, Wii, and the Switch.  A free mobile game allows virtually everyone to have access to it causing more than 10 million people have downloaded it.

The actual gameplay pulls pieces from almost every single past version of Mario Kart and adds new ones as well.  In most versions, characters were unlocked as the player progresses, but offered no real value except slightly different stats.  In Mario Kart Tour, just like Mario Kart Double Dash, each player has a special ability, some more powerful than others. The karts and gliders are modeled after previous games but act the same.  This causes me to enjoy playing some characters with overpowered specials but dread playing others with very weak ones.

The courses are all recreations of past courses.  Each cup they slightly adjust and add in ramps or have the courses reversed which keeps the races interesting.  Every fourth course is a cool new challenge that is difficult but shakes things up from the normal 8 person races.  The graphics are very similar to Mario Kart 8 on the switch. They are simple, but clean. The colors are very vibrant and it is very easy to make out on a phone.

The actual controls and driving in the game is what most people struggle to understand.  The player can either choose to automatically turn or manually drift. This is the same option given in Mario Kart Wii.  Most inexperienced players drive without drift because it is easier to control, but people who have played any past version of Mario Kart use drift.  Another feature is smart steering which automatically keeps the player from going off track. This is great for new players but does not allow for any shortcuts to be taken.  Another control is auto-item which fires every item that the player is holding when hitting another item box. This limits the player from running up items or carrying an item for protection fora long time.  I play with manual drift because it allows for more mini-turbos, smart-steering off for shortcuts and auto-item off so I can keep an item behind me for protection.

The way the player progresses is by obviously racing.  The way to access the next set of races is by getting grand stars.  Grand stars are given to the player by getting a certain amount of points.  Points are given for the player’s place, hitting other players and what combination of character, vehicle and glider the player equips.  I dislike having to get insanely high point values to pass a course because it forces you to wait and get better characters or vehicles to pass them.  I would however like the game if you had to get first place to get the grand stars. The game is never ending because there are new cups being added each day.  I also cannot wait for multiplayer to come out allowing players to play against their friends.

There are drawbacks to the game.  Some racing modes and vehicles are restricted until paying a monthly subscription of five dollars.  Also to unlock new characters, vehicles and gliders takes so long and discourages the player. The game also maxes out the players progress for each day.  Overall I think this is a great game and the best it can be given that it is a mobile game.