Nintendo has been slowly releasing many of their popular IP’s on mobile for the past few years. We got games like Pokemon Go, Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Fire Emblem Heroes just to name a few. While most have been fairly popular on release, there have been a few duds such as Miitomo which is no longer available. I could be because of the social aspect of the app, but it seems that Nintendo has greater success for games based on classic franchises. Take for instance the latest from Nintendo, Mario Kart Tour. This of course is based on the very popular Mario Kart series but adapted for mobile as a “free-to-play” game.
Let’s start off with the obvious. Mario Kart Tour looks like a Mario Kart game and sorta plays like a Mario Kart game. Graphically it’s gorgeous and they did a really great job with it. All the sound assets seem to be there too. Basically this is Mario Kart on mobile. Everything about it brings me back to the good old days of play this on various Nintendo platforms. So what’s the problem?
The controls. The controls for your kart are not very good. There’s three different control methods to choose from and neither of them feel great. There’s a Manual Drift option where your drifting every time you turn. It’s not very precise and you find yourself often times running straight into a wall. This is meant for “advanced” players but even seasoned Mario Kart players will have trouble. Next is where you just kind of swipe left or right depending on where you want to go. It’s much better than the manual drift controls, but they still feel awkward and inaccurate. Lastly you can steer by tilting your device in the direction you want to turn. This happens to be the best option but you can only use this if your phone supports it.
Which ever way you decide to play though, nothing beats a traditional controller with Mario Kart and this game does not support that. Adapting it to mobile controls is okay, but certainly not the best way to play Mario Kart.
Now here’s the part that people are really not going to like, but it’s pretty much a given on mobile platforms now and especially free-to-play games. There’s a lot of in-app purchases and much of it is crazy expensive. Most of real money purchases will be for rubies that you use for pipe pulls. These are so you can get more karts, characters, accessories, etc. The problem here is that it’s super random. You could end up spending a ton of money here and still not get the item or character you want. There are ways to get free rubies but they take time to accumulate this way. There are also coins you can earn to unlock items, but like rubies, they take time to collect. If you can believe it, there’s even a monthly subscription pass you can pick up.
Of course you don’t even need to purchase anything at all to play the game. There’s plenty free content, you’ll just need to work more for the extras. With that said, in terms of Mario Kart games go, it’s not the best but it’s not the worst either. They did a pretty okay job translating the look and feel of Mario Kart as a mobile game with Mario Kart Tour. The controls could be tightened up some more though and I’d like to see rewards increased and a less emphasis on in-app purchases.
■ Mario Kart takes a world tour!
Mario and friends go global in this new Mario Kart as they race around courses inspired by real-world cities in addition to classic Mario Kart courses! These destinations will be featured in tours that rotate every two weeks! In addition to courses based on iconic locales, some of your favorite Mario Kart characters will get variations that incorporate the local flavor of cities featured in the game!
■ Endless Mario Kart fun at your fingertips!
The Mario Kart series known and loved by many is ready to take the world by storm – one smart device at a time! With just one finger, you can steer and drift with ease and sling devastating items as you go for the gold in cups filled with new and classic Mario Kart courses.
■ Nab 1st place with items and Frenzy mode!
In Mario Kart Tour you have access to an arsenal of powerful items that can mix things up on the racetrack! Turn up the heat by activating the new Frenzy mode, which gives an unlimited supply of a certain item and makes you invincible! Make the most of the ensuing chaos, as Frenzy mode only lasts a short time!
■ Collect drivers, karts, badges, and more!
Earn Grand Stars by racing or fire off the featured pipe to receive more drivers, karts, and gliders! You can also proudly display badges, earned by completing certain challenges, next to your in-game name!
■ Bonus challenge courses put a twist on traditional races!
In certain races, 1st place isn’t always the goal. With names like “Vs. Mega Bowser” and “Goomba Takedown,” these bonus challenge courses demand a different approach to gameplay and strategy!
■ Race to increase your online rank!
Boost with the best of ’em! Your high scores will determine how you compare to other players all over the world. Keep practicing and trying out different combinations of drivers, karts, and gliders to increase your score and rise to the top!
Note: A Nintendo Account is required to play Mario Kart Tour.
* Free-to-start; optional in-game purchases available. Persistent Internet, compatible smartphone, and Nintendo Account required. Data charges may apply.
* May include advertising.