Mario Kart Tour: Mobile racing just a tap away


Andrew Morris

Being one of Nintendo's most popular franchises, it's no surprise that Mario Kart Tour has caught the attention of players around the world. With the controls only needing one finger, the game is easy for new players to learn and master.

Andrew Morris, Writer

With millions of downloads worldwide on just the first day, Nintendo’s new mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, has soared up the charts with high ratings and positive reviews. While it appeals to many due to the established franchise, the mobile game has significant differences compared to previous Mario Kart versions on consoles like the Nintendo Switch. Potential users want to know: What is so great about this app?

Mario Kart Tour is a racing app in which players can choose a character and customize their vehicle to race seven AI’s, or computer bots, on a variety of courses. Each race grants stars to players depending on the amount of points collected based on many factors that occur during the race. The more stars collected, the more courses a player can race on. 

While the game starts out fast-paced with courses easy to unlock, it slows down not long after. Courses and items take longer to obtain, requiring players to invest more time into the game to unlock all the content. Freshman Theo Harsha enjoys the game, and he agrees about the pace of the app. 

“It feels kind of slow and it takes a lot of time to get one thing,” Harsha said. 

Despite these complaints, the app got over 10 million downloads worldwide on its launch day, according to Apptopia, overtaking the 6.7 million downloads Pokemon Go, another app that gained popularity off of its established franchise, earned on its launch day. This makes Mario Kart Tour one of Nintendo’s most popular apps, beating out others such as Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. 

The controls unique to the app version involve the player using the touchscreen to make a character drift and turn, along with swiping to use items picked up during the race. Junior James Crowley, who has played Mario Kart on other platforms like the Nintendo Wii, has his own opinions about the new controls. 

“A more complex control scheme would be better,” Crowley said.

However, this version of the game has mechanics that make it user-friendly, like preventing players from falling off the course and allowing players to move forward automatically. 

“I thought it was a lot easier than other versions,” senior Claire Jones said.

For a free-to-play game, Mario Kart Tour has two ways of earning revenue: a monthly subscription, which allows for more items to be earned when progressing through the story and faster race speeds, and buying in-game currency to spend in the gacha system. A gacha system involves players spending money in order to obtain  random items in-game, usually involving a group of game play-affecting objects with each one having different chances of being chosen. In Mario Kart Tour, players can use rubies, an in-game currency, to get an item from the gacha to obtain most of the characters and vehicle customizations currently available in the game. Rubies are gained either from spending real currency or earning them from objectives in the game. This system has received mixed opinions from players.

“I think it’s kind of annoying because I just want to play with the characters I haven’t unlocked,” Jones said. 

Despite this, Mario Kart has become a very popular free-to-play app since its launch, attracting people new to the franchise along with players like Harsha who have enjoyed the game on older platforms. The popularity is supported by the 4.8 out of 5 stars the app has earned on the App Store and over 700,000 reviews from users. The accessibility of the game compared to needing a console is definitely a positive for many people like Crowley.

“They did a fairly good job on it,” Crowley said. “The ability to carry it around and play it anytime made it better than the other games.”

Andrew Morris
Being one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, it’s no surprise that Mario Kart Tour has caught the attention of players around the world. With the controls only needing one finger, the game is easy for new players to learn and master.