Mario Kart races onto mobile devices

The hit franchise Mario Kart made its mobile debut in “Mario Kart Tour”, a racing game by Nintendo that was released on Sept. 25 for Android and Apple devices. 

“Mario Kart Tour” has a rating of 4.8 out of 5, something that is not very common for games on the App Store. Seeing this, I was eager to download the game and figure out what all the hype was about.

But now for the real question: Is it actually good? Well, for those familiar with the Mario Kart games, “Mario Kart Tour” is very hit-or-miss, but for individuals just dipping their toe into the Mario Kart series, it is actually a pretty solid game.

The most noticeable thing about the game is its simplified take on the Mario Kart formula, not relying so much on the large amount of features found on console versions of Mario Kart. In “Mario Kart Tour”, you use simple swipe motions to control your vehicle and tap to use your items. The simplification of the controls took me by surprise at first, but I grew used to it quite quickly. It is truly neat to be able to play an entire game, and a Mario Kart game at that, while only using one hand. 

Additionally, “Mario Kart Tour” contains a ton of content. Just because it is a mobile game does not mean that Nintendo was lazy about the amount of gameplay they packed into it. Containing 16 courses from previous Mario Kart games and three entirely new courses, “Mario Kart Tour” has a lot of variety in its course roster. 36 characters are playable in the new game, with the majority returning from previous games. Certain characters, “karts” and “gliders” have certain advantages based on the courses you play with them. 

However, there is definitely one thing present in this game that is missing from the other Mario Kart games: microtransactions. To get the full experience you need to buy the “Gold Pass”, a “premium option” for “Mario Kart Tour” that costs $4.99 per month. With this subscription, players can enjoy a new, faster gamemode, as well as increased rewards from racing. Furthermore, in game currency, called Rubies, are available for purchase. The consequence of this is that individuals willing to drop tons of cash on the game will be at a large advantage over others who are not. This is something that is – thankfully – not present in the other games of the Mario Kart franchise. Nintendo would have been better off just making the game cost $5 or $10 dollars and removing all microtransactions. 

Overall, “Mario Kart Tour” is a fast-paced, addictive mobile game that has very few shortcomings.  While there might be microtransactions and a lack of multiplayer, it is still enjoyable to play and succeeds in achieving the overall feel of a Mario Kart game, even after being simplified for mobile devices.

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