Mario Kart Tour
Mario Kart Tour is a mobile game in the Mario Kart series. First announced during a financial briefing on January 31, 2018, it is the third Mario mobile game overall, following Super Mario Run and Dr. Mario World, the ninth main installment in the Mario Kart series, and the sixteenth installment overall. Like Super Mario Run, it is free-to-start from the App Store and Google Play. Unlike Super Mario Run and similar to that of Dr. Mario World, the game more heavily incorporates a free-to-play microtransaction mechanic, where players have restrictions and timers unless they spend some of the various types of currencies in-game, as well as having loot boxes in the form of items being launched out of pipes. The game reuses many assets from Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, and Mario Kart 8, as well as returning gameplay mechanics such as gliding and character specific special items. In addition, the game introduces some features new to the Mario Kart franchise such as reverse tracks and ability to deploy a large amount of any item during a race, including Spiny Shells and Bullet Bills. On April 23, 2019, Nintendo opened applications for participating in a closed beta test of the game to Android users in North America and Japan, which began on May 22, 2019 and ended on June 4, 2019.
The game officially launched for both iOS and Android devices on September 25, 2019 in 163 territories, which covers nearly the same roster of availability as Super Mario Run, with the exceptions of Belgium and Vietnam, the former of which banned games with loot boxes in 2019. Users who pre-registered acquired the game a day early. Unlike previous Mario mobile games, a Nintendo Account is required to be playable.
As a racing game, the goal of Mario Kart Tour is to best rivals and come in first, using items obtained by driving through Item Boxes to the player's advantage. The game is played in a portrait position, where the phone's touch controls are used to play the game, such as dragging the finger across the screen to steer the kart. In order to take turns, three means are possible: for the phones sporting it, the gyroscope can be used to steer. Touch controls on the other hand can be used in two configurations. The main one has the driver jumping every time the screen is tapped, resulting in drifting being the main way to take turns, controlled by how the fingers slide on the screen. In the other configuration the kart doesn't jump when tapping the screen, which results in it steering and autodrifting as the fingers slide on the screen, this configuration doesn't allow the charge of an Ultra Mini-Turbo. Much like in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with auto-accelerate and smart-steering enabled, karts accelerate automatically and can steer players away from walls. The intensity of smart-steering can be changed in the main menu.
The game is based on Mario Kart 7, resulting in it having the Mario Kart 7 version of tracks such as Neo Bowser City and having the same gliding mechanics, where players can glide through the course whenever they drive over certain ramps, as well as lacking many of the features added in the original version of Mario Kart 8, notably Bikes, ATVs, anti-gravity courses, and 12-player races. This notwithstanding, most features added in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, such as auto-accelerate, smart-steering and Ultra Mini-Turbos, are featured in the game, and the 200cc engine class is featured as well. Unlike in all the other main Mario Kart games released since Mario Kart 7, players cannot customize their vehicle's tires.
Every time players complete a race, they are awarded with Grand Stars, points for the characters and parts and coins. If they are among the first three racers, the gauge to level up is filled as well, while if the placement is 5th or below, the gauge is slightly emptied. Grand Stars are awarded depending on whether a certain points threshold has been reached, points for the parts and characters are awarded depending on the placement, the coins obtained are those collected during the race, increased by the number of points earned during the race divived by 1000. Each day, by racing it's possible to obtain a set amount of points for parts and characters and up to 300 coins, when those limits are reached, until the next day different means must be used, such as Point-boost tickets for the former and rewards or Coin Rush for the latters. Grand Stars are used to unlock trophies and to receive prizes that appear in the form of presents in the race selection screen, points for parts and characters are used to increase a meter that when filled increases the points earned by selecting said part or character, coins are mainly used in the shop, finishing the gauge to level up gives a reward to the player, increases the points earned when reaching a specific placement in the race and, when specific levels are reached, allows to buy more items at the shop.
The game features both trophy-related and daily missions, that reward Grand Stars, and general missions, that reward Rubies. The latter are the game's premium currency. Beside being bought with real-life currency, Rubies are also obtained through prizes such as daily logins, leveling up, presents in the race selection screen or mission rewards. They can be used to purchase pipes which randomly shoot out a driver, a kart, or a glider, all which have their own rarities. In this case, a counter keeps track of the number of Normal, Super and High-End items obtained, so that up to a certain number of Normal, Super and High-End items can be obtained, and with 100 pipes bought, at least the featured High-End character, kart and glider are certainly obtained. Said counter is reset each week, but the player can reset it manually as well. Rubies can also be spent in Coin Rush where players can obtain as many coins as possible. 300 coins are found in the course, with Gold Mario attracting them like a magnet. The more Rubies are spent, the more the coins obtained are multiplied and then given to the player, with up to 3000 coins being obtainable in a single run.
Each driver, kart, and glider have favored courses, where they offer advantages if they are used on particular tracks. Characters who drive on a preferred course earn up to three items per Item Box. A new mechanic is Frenzy mode, which can be achieved by collecting three of the same item; when active, it grants the racer invincibility, faster Mini-Turbo charging and an unlimited supply of that item for a period of time. Kart bodies used on preferred tracks increase the points gained per event up to double the normal value, gliders used on preferred tracks increase the time that can pass between point-awarding events before a combo is dropped. Rarer characters and parts have a higher cap of points gained when choosing them and more preferred courses. In addition, characters have special items exclusive to them, similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'s item system. Kart bodies instead give a driving-related bonus such as increasing the effectiveness of drafting, while gliders increase the likelihood of obtaining certain items and the points gained when using said items. All drivers and kart parts can be leveled up, and they all come with upgrades when done so. Duplicates can be earned from pipes, and those go towards the repeat character's level up progress.
There are currently 34 playable characters (35 if including Gold Mario, who appears exclusively in the Coin Rush mode) in Mario Kart Tour. Upon launching the game for the first time, players start with either Toad, Toadette, or Peachette. Unlike other Mario Kart games, there are no weight classes between characters, but they are sorted by their rarity of unlocking them, via opening up randomized green pipes with rubies. There are three tiers of rarity: Normal, Super, and High-End. While the Normal characters are easier to unlock, rarer characters have a greater amount of starting points, have a higher top speed, higher coin-earning rates, likelihood of picking up mid-race weapons and items, and have more favored courses. Once players clear the tutorial, they are rewarded with a random Super-class character.
The following lists the playable characters and their special item.
The following characters have been confirmed to be playable, though their rarities are unknown, as they are currently not available.
In addition to the courses listed below, many alternate courses are also featured in the game; courses can have an "R" (Reverse) and/or "T" (Trick) variant. Courses marked with "R" are driven in backwards orientation; the track will have altercations if necessary to make this possible. Courses marked with "T" feature many additional ramps and trickable obstacles, and are otherwise the same.
Each tour consists of a series of cups, with each cup containing three courses and a Bonus Challenge. The following tables list the courses that make an appearance in each tour; "N" indicates a normal course, "R" a reversed course, "T" a trick course, and "R/T" a reversed trick course.
New York Tour
Item Box items
Items function mostly the same as in previous installments in the series. As in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, every character has their own special item that (most) other characters cannot get. A large change to the item system is introduced; depending on the character and course they're used on, players can get one to three items at once. In the case that a character gets three of the same item, they will activate the new Frenzy Mode, in which they become temporarily invincible and can use unlimited supplies of the respective item until the invincibility runs out. Any item can appear in Frenzy Mode, except for the Star, which is exclusive to certain challenges.
These items are collected throughout the course of the game through various means, such as challenges, log-in bonuses, and Tour Gifts.
The following karts were revealed in the game's trailers:
The following karts were present in the game's beta, but are currently unavailable:
Hazards, obstacles, and other species
The following is a list of updates the game has received since launch.
Initial impressions of the beta have been mixed. Journalists have praised the gameplay and graphics, but have criticized the free-to-play gacha elements of the game. Sam Machkovech of Ars Technica has compared the game's in-app purchases to Spiny Shells, blowing up the classic Mario Kart experience. He has suggested that "the developers pick a side: attach an annoying economy to a deeper control scheme and more legitimate online options, or make it cheaper and less obnoxious to watch Mario drive himself." Ethan Gach of Kotaku has also stated that the game is "a mostly faithful but stripped-down recreation of Mario Kart decked out with all the microtransactions and lottery mechanics mobile games are infamous for" and also lamenting the lack of a multiplayer mode. Steven Asarch of Newsweek has complained about the game's "freemium greed" and that it is "ruined by microtransactions".
As of October 11, 2019, Mario Kart Tour received mixed reviews, with a Metacritic Metascore of 59.
Pre-release and unused content
The beta version of the game saw multiple changes in the final game. The stamina element was removed, and the timers restricting access to certain cups can be sped up using quick tickets. Additionally, rubies were originally emeralds.
References to other games
Names in other languages