Yesterday Mario Kart Tour released. The moment I downloaded it and booted it up, the servers were overloaded. I then waited a few hours, and it took me 15 min to actually getting to play the game. So far, not so good, but when I actually started to play the game, it wasn’t that bad.
Mario Kart Tour is a mobile game that released very recently, developed and published by Nintendo. It is (if you’ve never heard of Mario kart before) an arcade racing game featuring various characters from across the Mario universe. There are quite a few difficulty modes (50 cc to 200 cc), and a variety of tracks to go along with it. As the game goes on, new mechanics are taught to the player (such as the start boost).
So firstly, how’s the gameplay, I don’t think it’s exceptional, however, it isn’t bad. It is a mobile game, so it’s not going to be nearly as satisfying as their switch version. This isn’t to say the game isn’t fun, but so far in my experience, it has been incredibly easy for me, even on the 2nd hardest difficulty (the hardest you need a pass). The basic controls are quite simple: tap left to turn left; right to go right; and you’re always accelerating; I’ve been playing on the “advanced” one where you basically drift for every turn. The latter took a second to get used to, but I think it’s the much better option as you do go faster. It is also more challenging at times (especially for circuits with smaller turns).
Making mistakes can be brutal; since generally in most smaller circuit races, the field is very packed up; this means that any mistake you make may lead you losing 3,4 or even 5 places. Each character has different special abilities which you have a chance of getting whenever you get one of the mystery cubes, some are much better than others (such as Bowser’s), however, it quite early to say which those are at the moment. There is also a multiplayer ranking which I recently unlocked; however, it is quite easy as the skill level in this game is particularly high.
The game doesn’t look great, all the models aren’t very high poly, on some maps you can see it, however, this is not to say that they are bad. The newer circuits look pretty good and all the character models are decent, the karts are passable and the animations are good. That’s basically all there is to say as per how the game looks. This is understandable as it is a mobile game after all, so there is going to be a downgrade in quality, however, it would be nice to have some sort of quality slider (nothing too in-depth, just low, medium, and high). There should also be some serious improvement to the UX design as it’s pretty disorganized.
The optimization is where I have my main gripes with the game, it takes a decent while to start up, especially the first time. I have to wait over a minute sometimes just to get to the menu, granted this could be due to my phone (which I don’t think it is). Actually being in-game, I haven’t had too many issues, sometimes extended loading times, but that’s it. The game does sap battery though, in the span of one race (about 3 min) I lost 2 or 3% of my battery, which is about 120 mAh.
There are in-app purchases, however, they aren’t too intrusive. Getting new cars and drivers are linked to buying/earning Rubies. All the characters have different abilities which may lead to some people advantages gaining an advantage. This is a bit disappointing, a good solution would be to change all the cars to the same model, or like in the actual Mario kart; and that all the drivers behave identically.
In conclusion. Mario Kart Tour is a decently fun game; however, it could be miles better. There needs to be some tweaking to the matching up of players; as well as a party mode or something similar where you can choose your own tracks and play with friends. Moreover, the game needs to be a bit lighter and load faster. However, the game is free if you don’t spend a bunch of money on crates, and you don’t buy the 200 cc pass; so give it a shot if you have time. However, I do think there are better games such as Data Wing. Overall I would give the game a 4/10, maybe a 5/10 in its current state, if there are any updates that seriously improve the game, I’ll let write another article.
Final Score: 4/10
Plays way too many games and should probably sleep more.