Mobile game brings back old memories

Nintendo branches out to mobile gaming


Cody Bennett

Mario Kart Tour released on Mobile devices in late September, a new step for Nintendo

Cody Bennett, Sports Director | STRIV Executive Producer

One of my first video games ever played was Mario Kart, a single video game title that features a cast of 20+ different characters racing against each other to get first place. The concept of sitting down and racing against friends and family at your disposal drew me in. I even was able to hold a world record for the fastest timed competition of a single track.

Fast forward about a decade and a Japanese game company, Nintendo, released a total of 14 different versions of the game for all people to enjoy. Mobile Mario Kart Tour was put on markets on Sept. 25, and surprisingly, it blew up quite fast.

The vibe of the game has not changed one bit, it’s still has a very silly and cartoonish feel to it. Except this time, it’s on mobile devices. 

Mario Kart Tour  takes place in many different maps and destinations that are under different “cup” names. Something new to the series is brought up right at the beginning, players are not given every single character available in the game yet. Users are able to unlock different characters through “pipes” that spew out different in game items using “rubies” that are also new to the series. 

Which brings me to my first and biggest complaint about this game. Parts of the game are blocked by a paywall. Because of this, extra fees are required to get multiple advantages and unlock new features in the game. The fastest speed mode in the game, “200 cc,” is blocked by a $5 monthly subscription. If the player happens to buy the $5 “Gold Pass,” you will unlock the mode as well as an exclusive character, and two very powerful carts to race with. 

Multiplayer is also unavailable at the launch of the game, saying “Inbound” over the multiplayer tab. I get that it’s hard to connect people to play with at launch, but the launch of the first Mario Kart game, Super Mario Kart, released with screen-share multiplayer. The rumor though, is the developers putting another paywall on multiplayer, which would cripple the games popularity, and is not the way to move forward with the game.  

While already having a crucial element of the game stripped from the players grasp, multiplayer would be an insult to injury of the player that has to pay for both of the things that should already be free for them to play.

With that out of the way, Mario Kart Tour introduces a new system for progression throughout the game. It’s a new taste for the franchise that, instead of getting first in all of the different speeds, the player needs to have a cumulative score in order to get different “stars” to progress. The more stars the player has, the more tracks and gifts the player gets. This system seemed to work like a charm early on in the different cups. Different combos were created by players all across the globe in order to help each other complete the game in the fastest time possible.

This also leads me into my next point, the different carts, racers and gliders that help the player reach the cumulative score are blocked and can be unlocked by buying pipes with rubies. Essentially, if the player doesn’t have enough rubies, or doesn’t purchase any, then it’s very hard to progress past the last 3 cups. With the 200cc mode being jailed, which gives you a 2,900 point boost for a first place finish, as well as different carts that give the player point boosts for combos, makes it very hard to fully complete the game without paying up some kind of money. 

Mario Kart Tour gave me and others a blast from the past, a very good game besides the amount of paywalls and “pay to play” demeanor the game puts out. The gameplay is very solid, giving the player a choice of “drift-driving,” which gives the player a visible arrow to indicate which way they’re turning, or just a “drift” mode, which doesn’t allow the player to turn, rather, gives them the ability to freely drift.

All in all, this game is great and I highly recommend a play through. Yes, the paywalls and restrictions on progression do make it a hassle to keep playing, but the amount of fun racing my friends and family at my will off my smart device makes me smile every time, that is if they don’t put a paywall over multiplayer.