Nintendo’s Mario Kart Tour looks like it will be officially arriving on September 25th for IOS and Android users. It was announced as in-development in February and was supposed to be released in March. However, Nintendo pushed the release date back a few months stating that the game didn’t meet their quality standards.
This will be Nintendo’s 3rd game in the Mario universe to hit the mobile market. Mario Run and Dr. Mario World were specifically crafted for mobile devices, and Mario Kart Tour will follow suit: despite having many of the traditional Mario Kart hallmarks, this is a side game that will implement the touch screen and feature a simpler control scheme. On top of that, it will be free-to-start, but there will be micro-transactions and in-game currency.
Mario Kart Tour boasts and impressive 35 characters. While most characters will be familiar, this is Diddy Kong’s first appearance since Mario Kart Wii. Here is a list of all the available characters:
- Gold Mario
- Metal Mario
- Baby Mario
- Baby Luigi
- Baby Peach
- Baby Daisy
- Baby Rosalina
- Bowser Jr.
- Donkey Kong
- Diddy Kong
- Larry Koopa
- Morton Koopa, Jr.
- Wendy O. Koopa
- Iggy Koopa
- Lemmy Koopa
- Ludwig von Koopa
- Roy Koopa
- Koopa Troopa
- Shy Guy
- Dry Bones
- Dry Bowser
- King Boo
Courses and Circuits
Players should be happy to hear that there will be new levels as well as classic stages from older entries in the series. These come from both the console and handheld games and run from the original Super Mario Kart on the SNES to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch.
Perhaps more interestingly, Nintendo is going to include levels based on real-life locales. As of now, there is a level based on New York and Times Square, two levels based on Tokyo, and one in Paris that features the Eiffel Tower. Nintendo has made some interesting comments about there being rotating levels: It seems like locale-specific levels will change every two weeks, but we’re still unsure of whether or not you can access these levels after the two-week period has finished.
Characters will also have costumes that change depending on the level. For example, Mario will be wearing his New Donk City attire in the New York stage. Nintendo hasn’t released a lot of information about the real-life stages and costumes, so we will likely have to wait for them to roll out more details.
Most of the items are staples from the franchise; however, there are character-specific items as well, which hasn’t been seen since Mario Kart Double Dash on the Gamecube. Here is the list of items available in Mario Kart Tour:
- Green Shell
- Spiny Shell
- Super Horn
- Bullet Bill
- Mega Mushroom
- Red Shell
- Fire Flower (exclusive to Mario, Luigi, and Metal Mario)
- Heart (exclusive to Peach, Daisy, and Wendy
- Yoshi Egg (exclusive to Yoshi)
- Bowser’s Shell (exclusive to Bowser and Dry Bowser)
- Giant Banana (exclusive to Donkey Kong)
- Triple Mushrooms (exclusive to Toad, Toadette, Baby Peach, and Baby Daisy)
- Double Bob-ombs (exclusive to Wario, Waluigi, Shy Guy, Ludwig, Roy, and King Boo)
- Triple Green Shells (exclusive to Koopa Troopa, Iggy, Morton, and Dry Bones)
- Boomerang Flower (exclusive to Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Baby Rosalina, and Rosalina)
- Triple Bananas (exclusive to Larry and Lemmy)
- Banana Barrels (exclusive to Diddy Kong)
- Mushroom Cannon (exclusive to Peachette)
- Star (only in challenges)
Like previous mobile games from Nintendo, this will be a free-to-start game, but there will be both time-gates and mico-transactions within the game. There are five hearts on the screen, and every race depletes one of those hearts. A heart will replenish after a certain amount of time (supposedly twelve minutes). New circuits were also stuck behind time-gates in the beta test, but perhaps more options to get around this will be available in the final release.
There is in-game currency in Mario Kart Tour. Completing races will reward players with Grand Stars and emeralds. The emeralds can be used to unlock gacha-style loot boxes that can reward players with a new character, stage, or glider. There will not be customizable tires in Mario Kart Tour unlike the last two entries in the franchise. It also seems that using certain characters on their “preferred” stages will result in a higher chance to get a rare loot-box.
One of the biggest criticisms of Mario Kart Tour is the lack of true multi-player. Mario Kart has always enticed players with a robust and addicting multi-player mode, but as of now, the only way to truly compete online is to best other player’s high scores. That’s right, the races will be against NPCs, but the app will save your high scores and post them on a leader board.
What’s Different in Mario Kart Tour?
Nintendo has chosen to optimize brand new games for the mobile market rather than bring existing titles over from their consoles. Therefore, all their mobile titles use touch-screen controls and run smoothly. Mario Kart Tour won’t require the player to brake or accelerate (the game will automatically do this). The player just needs to swipe their finger to turn. Tricks and drifting return as well and will also utilize the touch screen.
There is going to be a Frenzy Mode where players can use unlimited items for a short time-span. A challenge mode will also exist (much like in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii).
Lastly, if the game doesn’t seem big enough already, there will be 64 courses spread over 16 cups.
With the potential for Nintendo smartphones in the pipeline, there is still a lot of uncertainty with some of the new mechanics and options in Mario kart Tour, so be sure to keep checking in for more details.