Mario Kart Tour has finally launched worldwide on both iOS and Android. The game is free to play, but offers in-app purchases, to the extent where some features are locked unless you purchase the monthly subscription, available $4.99 USD per month.
For the purpose of making this article a helpful tool rather than an opinion-filled one, we’ll refrain from addressing the abuse of micro-transactions in this game.
First, you must know that in order to play, you must have a Nintendo account. If you’re like us, you’ll simply have forgotten your user info and have to go back onto the Nintendo website and reset your information. Otherwise, well, enjoy creating a new account, which is absolutely ridiculous for a mobile game.
Now bare with us, as this part can be somewhat tricky to understand.
Every two weeks, Tours will reset, therefore resetting Cups and races available with tracks inspired by real location from the Tour. The first Tour is the New York Tour, which is made of 16 Cups, each inspired by a character and made up of three races and a challenge. You will notice that some tracks for races in the New York Tour are inspired by Time Square for instance.
In order to progress through a Tour and unlock Cups, you must collect a certain amount of Stars. The further you progress, the greater the cost in Stars.
These Stars are collected as you progress through the races based on the amount of points that you get for each Race. Points are obtained through various mechanics:
- Character selected;
- Kart selected;
- Glider selected;
- Hitting other racers with items;
- Boosts during the race;
As you begin your Karting adventure, you will only have access to the 50cc races. Free players can rapidly unlock up to 150cc, but the 200cc races are only available to Gold Pass members ($4.99 USD per month).
Your total of points for each course is a compilation of Bonus Points, Base Points and Position Points.
- Bonus Points: earned through actions performed during a race such as jumps, collecting coins or attacking other racers.
- Base Points: based on the character, kart and glider you’re using. These points increase the more you use the same character, kart or glider each day.
- Position Points: based on your placement in the race:
- 1st: x1
- 2nd: x0.85
- 3rd: x0.75
- 4th: x0.65
- 5th: x0.55
- 6th: x0.45
- 7th: x0.35
- 8th: x0.2
Playing is fairly simple, although clearly not intuitive or friendly-user. To avoid any confusion, we will simply suggest that you follow the instructions from the tutorial. In short, controls work as follows:
- Swipe (and hold) right to steer right.
- Swipe (and hold) left to steer left.
- Swipe up to throw your item forward (or use your other items such as Mushrooms).
- Swipe down to throw your item backward.
Characters/Karts/Gliders can be obtained through the Pipe system. Collect or purchase Gems (premium currency) to fire up the Pipe, and obtain randomly either a Character, a Kart, or a Glider.
Yes, you can obtain something you already own, which will help level it up to increase its stats and bonus effects. You can fire up the Pipe 100 times per Tour (i.e. every two weeks). Every Tour will introduce exclusive characters and items available only during that specific Tour.
Characters/Karts/Gliders are divided into Tiers.
- Common (grey background)
- Rare (bronze background)
- Legendary (rainbow background)
Each Character/Kart/Glider is more suited for specific tracks, and using a more suited Character/Kart/Glider in a favored track will give you bonuses. It is therefore very important to use the most adequate Character/Kart/Glider that you own for each Race.
- Characters (Up to three items per item box)
- Karts (Up to x2 bonus points)
- Gliders (Up to x3 combo bonus and big combo-time boost)
If the Pipe system sounds like loot boxes, it’s because it is a loot box system, plain and simple…
Challenges are tasks that will unlock badges and rewards such as Rubies. Challenges are unlocked once you have completed 7 Cups. Challenges include various tasks such as the Glider Challenge, having you glide as far as possible, and Caution is King, having you take on a course with three balloon lives and attempting to survive.
As any game, there is a social feature. Friends unlocks with Rankings, which is done when successfully completing the fourth Cup, Koopa Troopa Cup.
For the time being, there really isn’t anything that you can do with your Friends other than comparing your ranking scores. This brings us to the Multiplayer feature, which is unavailable. There is no information as to when it will be made available, and whether it will simply allow you to race your friends, race strangers online, or both. Stay tuned for more information.
In case you are wondering, you are not racing against real players, but AI versions of real players. In other words, it uses real players’ name and characters/karts/gliders, but they are AIs.
There are two currency available, Gems (premium currency) and Coins.
Gems are the premium currency. They can be obtained through your progression in a Tour (at a very slow pace) or through the store (for a rather steep price). They can be used to fire up the Pipe (i.e. Loot Boxes) or purchase Coins.
Coins can be used to purchase items from the Daily Selects, which unlocks three items (one Character, one Kart, and one Glider). At level 7, you will unlock one more of each, and another set at level 12. Daily Selects refresh every 24 hours. They basically are the option for free-to-play players to obtain more characters/karts/gliders should they race relentlessly as Coins cannot be accumulated fast, even more so given the 300 daily coin limit.
Again, we will try to keep this free of opinion, but given the overwhelming presence of micro-transactions and loot boxes in the game, it will be difficult.
The game is free-to-play, but offers players in-app purchases.
- Gold Pass: Monthly subscription for $4.99 USD per month.
- The Gold Pass allows players to obtain better rewards when completing Cups, Gold badges from Gold Challenges, 200cc races access.
- Special Offers: Bundles including Rubies, Characters, Star Tickets, etc.
- Rubies: See above for more information on Rubies.
Prices are rather steep, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise given Nintendo’s past with free-to-play mobile games.
Overall, the game is very fun, but sadly not very addictive. You will enjoy playing the game every now and then for a short period of time, but until we can enjoy racing with our friends, we don’t see ourselves getting really invested in this game.
Share your opinion of Mario Kart Tour below and check out FodderPlays’ impressions of the game!