Mario Kart Tour mobile game takes off! Is it staying on-track?

Posted on May 24, 2019

3… 2… 1… Go! The beta period for the Mario Kart Tour mobile game has now begun, and impressions from those who’ve been able to participate are beginning to appear online. Let’s take a look at what this miniaturised offering has going for it during its initial test-drive, which has finally arrived after over a year from its original announcement.

The title is currently under an embargo, meaning no images or video can be shared. This being the internet however, footage has inevitably cropped up in various places, so I’ll be breaking down some of the info that’s available, without any actual visuals. Just picture Mario Kart, but smaller!

Mario Kart phones have come a long way

I can’t show you Mario Kart on a phone, so here’s a phone on a Mario Kart!

Mario Kart Tour: It’s small but makes a hell of a noise!

So for starters, the controls. The game is played vertically, with a single finger being used to guide your kart along the track. Items are used with a tap. From the looks of it, things like doing stunts from a ramp are now automatic, requiring you to steer into the path of it and gain a boost. Pretty straight-forward so far. That’s one point for Mario Kart Tour!

In terms of gameplay, it’s mostly what one would expect, with coins to collect and items to use. One addition to note here is that due to the PvP nature of the game, you now receive small pop-ups to notify you of a successful hit on another racer. Actions like these earn you points that can level up your racer, their kart, and their glider. I’ve yet to determine what these levelling mechanics do.

She's playing Mario Kart Tour, I swear

She’s definitely enjoying the game in question, and not checking whatever website I got this from

As for levels, they appear to draw from a variety of past courses from the mainline games, such as the original Mario Circuit on Super Nintendo. Visuals-wise, the game looks great, with the courses and characters having plenty of colour to them to help everything stand out. The overall product looks and sounds great.

Gotta keep gas in the tank!

Now of course, since we’re talking about a mobile game, people have been worried about the paid mechanics. These do exist in the game, unfortunately, a necessary evil for such games, but how pervasive does it get?

Well, one thing that jumped out at me right away is the fact that there now appear to be tiers for the characters, karts, and gliders. Higher tiered karts receive a speed boost, while characters can hold more items at a given time. These could possibly be earned in-game through the aforementioned points, but I can’t confirm that either way.

In addition, there appears to be a gacha-like system¬† in play that can provide new karts via “emeralds.” I’ve yet to see how these are acquired, but from what I’ve seen, no purchases can be made at all right now.

Mario says "Shut up and take-a my money!"

I can’t help but feel he has the advantage¬†here

I give it a 7 out of 11!

With all this being said, I have to reiterate that I’m only going off of footage that’s been shared online, and have not been able to participate myself. Personally I think that Mario Kart Tour looks to be a faithful recreation of the series, and I’ll certainly be giving it a go when the title is officially released. For those who are hesitant based on current impressions, keep in mind that, as a beta, things are subject to change, and the final result could turn out to be different.

Be sure to keep an eye on Nintendo of America’s Twitter for any updates. Official ones, at that.