Review: Mario Kart Tour

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Review: Mario Kart Tour

Conor Roach, Staff Writer

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Mario Kart Tour is a mobile version of the popular Mario Kart Franchise developed by Nintendo. It features Mario characters driving in various go-karts around different tracks in the game. It is available free on the Google Play and Apple App Store with microtransactions as an optional part of the game. With this game, Nintendo succeeds in turning Mario Kart into a mobile game, but makes some questionable decisions when it shifts away from the typical formula.

The first thing the player will notice when playing the game is the control scheme. It has you turn the Kart by moving your thumb across the bottom of the screen. While this simplifies the controls it also makes movement imprecise in the game. On some tracks like Mario Circuit this doesn’t matter, but other times when you’re asked to weave in between objects or to make sharp turns this becomes more difficult than it needs to be. To account for this, the game prevents your Kart from going out of bounds or falling off the track.

The tracks are successful recreations of those from previous games in the series.These tracks make use of the glider introduced in Mario Kart 7, but don’t use the gravity changing zones on Mario Kart 8. Graphically speaking, neither the track nor the character models are particularly impressive, with everything looking like low-res versions of the features seen in Mario Kart 8. Given that this is for phones, which don’t have the processing power of a modern video game console the resolution is mostly excusable, but not entirely.

Getting into the structure of the game, the player needs to get enough stars from three courses and one regular course in a cup in order to move onto the next cup. In the courses, the player races against other players and must get a certain point score in order to get enough stars. This point score is mostly determined by the place you get in the race, but it is also influenced by the kart, glider and character used. This format makes the game easy to pick up and progress a little without having to think too much about it.

A considerable part of the game is getting new characters, karts and gliders, which is done via rubies and coins. These all add to the point score in addition to having unique effects on the race with characters affecting the items you get per mystery box at the end of the race, karts adding a multiplier to your point score, and gliders adding a multiplier to your combo score, with every track having different specifications to what gets the highest multiplier or the most items. This system forces you to use a variety of different combinations when doing a race which is good and adds some variety to the game, but can also give an advantage to those who just happen to have gotten the character who gets the most items.

In regards to getting new items in the game, there are two ways: the coin shop or the ruby pipe. The coin shop sells specific common items and uses coins, but coins are hard to come by in large enough quantities to make use of in the game without buying some via a microtransaction. This leaves the ruby pipe which will give a random item for rubies. Unfortunately, this means it will give you items you already have which will be useless, and will mainly give you common items instead of rare items. This is where the game tries to get you to use microtransactions, but doing so is unnecessary as playing through the game will get you enough rubies without buying any. The microtransactions in the game are completely optional and don’t overly affect gameplay.

As a whole, the game is a decent way to waste time and a decent version of Mario Kart, but due to weird controls and below-average graphics, it is unable to fully live up to its console versions. For being a free mobile game, it is playable, enjoyable and always gives you something to do.

Rating: 6/10