Grab your turtle shells and banana peels; Mario Kart is now on mobile devices. Nintendo’s popular series made its debut on Apple and Android devices Sept. 25 as a free-to-play game. For the most part, the fun of the console versions translates to Mario Kart Tour, but some greedy mechanics hold it back from first place.
As for the gameplay, Mario Kart Tour is easy to pick up and fun to play. Players change directions by moving their finger across the screen. Items are used by tapping on them. Races are only two laps as opposed to the typical three, which is a welcome change, as anyone can play a couple of races when they have a few minutes to kill.
Difficulty is divided by three categories, just like the console versions, with 50cc being the easiest, 100cc being medium difficulty and 150cc being the most challenging mode.
Some gameplay mechanics that life-long fans are familiar with made their way into the game. Drifting, coin collection to accelerate and gliders keep the game from being a watered-down version.
Another change in the mobile version is that a player can’t fall off the track. This is also a welcome change, considering that using a finger to steer isn’t as precise as a joystick. The game isn’t nearly as nuanced as the console versions, but for a mobile iteration, it’s good enough.
From a technical aspect, Mario Kart is very impressive. The app runs well and I haven’t experienced any crashes. The graphics are good for a mobile game, with good character models and colorful, vibrant tracks that are easy to navigate.
The biggest issue with the game arises in the way that characters and kart accessories are unlocked. Unlike the console versions, where most of the characters are available from the start and accessories are unlocked by winning races, Mario Kart Tour awards players with rubies. Rubies can be used to get randomized accessories, karts and characters.
The chances of getting popular characters are incredibly slim. There is a 5.5% chance to unlock more despicable characters like Dry Bones or Shy Guy, a 1% chance to unlock fan favorites like Peach or Yoshi and a miniscule 0.26% chance to unlock characters like Metal Mario or Pauline. Some characters like Luigi and Rosalina aren’t in the game yet.
Rubies aren’t handed out very frequently to players so it is clear that players are incentivized to purchase rubies with real money. Prices for rubies vary from $1.99 for three rubies, $26.99 for 48 rubies and $69.99 for 135 rubies.
There is also a gold pass, which at a monthly cost of $4.99 unlocks more rewards and a 200cc difficulty.
Although the game understandably has to make money somehow, considering it is free to play, it’s a shame that so much content is locked and players have to spend money to get random items.
Another problem with the game is that it can’t be played online. One of the biggest reasons that people love Mario Kart is the ability to play with friends, so not having online capabilities at launch is unfortunate. Nintendo does have plans to implement online play, but no release date has been given.
Until then players are probably going to have much more fun playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Thumbnail photo @nintendomag Instagram.
Edison Escobar is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.