Mario Kart Tour

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Mario Kart Tour
Mario Kart Tour 2.9.2 app icon.png
Icon of the game featuring Mario, as of version 2.9.2
Developer(s)Nintendo EPD[a]
Publisher(s)Nintendo
Director(s)Kosuke Yabuki
Yugo Hayashi
Shinya Fujiwara[1]
Producer(s)Hideki Konno
Programmer(s)Erika Abe[2]
SeriesMario Kart
EngineUnity
Platform(s)Android, iOS
ReleaseSeptember 25, 2019
Genre(s)Kart racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Mario Kart Tour[b] is a 2019 kart racing mobile game, the fourteenth in the franchise in the Mario Kart series, developed and published by Nintendo for iOS and Android devices. The game was announced in January 2018 and was released on September 25, 2019, on Apple App Store and Google Play.

This game features biweekly, downloadable themed tours with different cups, each of which has three courses and a bonus challenge. In addition to courses which already appeared in the Mario Kart series, Mario Kart Tour includes courses located in world cities (New York, Tokyo, Paris, London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Berlin, Sydney).

Gameplay[edit]

The game deviates from the traditional gameplay of the Mario Kart series, where the objective is to reach the finish line in first; this game utilizes a point-based system. There are four options of speed: 50cc (namely "leisurely"), 100cc ("fast"), 150cc ("very fast") and 200cc ("too fast"; Gold Pass only). Unlike previous installments in the series, much of the driving (notably acceleration, jump boosts) is performed automatically. Mario Kart Tour includes features from previous Mario Kart games, such as underwater racing and hang gliding from Mario Kart 7. This game introduces a new Frenzy mode, which occurs when a driver gets three identical items from an item box.[3] Each character can get a unique item (also known as "Special Skill") from item boxes.

Mario Kart Tour logo
In-game screenshot of Mario racing alongside Toadette in Mario Circuit 1 from Super Mario Kart

Mario Kart Tour introduces a new format called "Tours". Tours are named after cities in the real world, Mario series characters, Mario series games, or other themes.[4] Each tour lasts for two weeks, beginning on Wednesday at 1.00 a.m. EST. In a tour, players can compete in twelve to eighteen cups and collect drivers, karts and gliders which represent the corresponding cities or themes. There are also spotlight drivers, karts, and gliders while a tour lasts for two weeks. Each Cup consists of three courses and a bonus challenge. Courses from previous cups may be reused for subsequent cups. Most races have two laps, while most bonus challenges are done in one lap. The cups are also named after some of the drivers in the game instead of the usual items in the Mario franchise.

After the player finishes a race, the player is awarded Grand Stars to unlock tour gifts, coins and experience points for the used character, kart, and glider. If the player finishes in the top three, they will earn some player points for their level. If the player finishes in 5th place or below, the level-gauge will decrease. When the player fills the gauge all the way, they will level-up to get a reward. Each course also has an experience point limit. Currently, the max player-level is 150.

Each day the player can gain up to 450 experience points for each character, kart, and glider and 300 coins from racing (900 experience points and 600 coins if the player is subscribed to the Gold Pass). Once those limits are reached, the player cannot get any more experience points for the characters, karts, and gliders, or collect any more coins from racing daily until the next morning at 1:00 a.m. EST. To continue earning more experience points or collecting coins, the player can play Coin Rush to get more coins or use point-boost tickets for the characters, karts, and gliders.

On the bonus challenge for each cup, the player must do the requirement to complete the cup. The character shown on the picture of the bonus challenge is always selected, even if the player does not have them yet. Completing a bonus challenge awards three Grand Stars instead of five. Some challenges also allow the player to choose any character, kart and glider.

Each week, a tour's cup is a tournament. 20 players are placed on a leaderboard based on the overall score for the cup. By the following Wednesday, Lakitu announces how well the player did. The player will increase in tier, and earn some rewards if their end position is near the top, but they will lose one or two tiers if they finish poorly. The player also gets a reward if the player and their friends' score reaches a certain amount.

This game includes races against AI-controlled opponents with usernames designed to make players think they are playing against other human players.[5][6][7] In addition, a beta test for the multiplayer function of this game began from "approximately 2:00 p.m. EST on December 19, 2019 to 0:59 p.m. EST on December 27, 2019" and was only available for subscribers to the Gold Pass. From January 23, 2020, to January 29, 2020, there was a multiplayer test for all players of the game.

At 11 p.m. EST on March 8, 2020, multiplayer function in Mario Kart Tour was officially launched. All players "can race against up to seven other players, whether they're registered as in-game friends, nearby to your location, or even scattered around the world." In the meantime, "Gold Races are available exclusively to subscribers of the Mario Kart Tour Gold Pass."[8] One of the main differences between the Standard Races (for players without the Gold Pass) and the Gold Races is the selection of speed: only 100cc is available in the Standard Races while 150cc and 200cc are available in the Gold Races. There is a multiplayer rank (ranging from F to A, S to S+6 if subscribed to the Gold Pass) for each player. A percentage for the rank will increase when a player wins in a multiplayer race, but will decrease or remain unchanged during a loss.

The game originally could only be played in portrait mode; however, on July 21, 2020, the game received an update that allowed the players to play the game in landscape mode too.[9]

Development[edit]

In January 2018, Nintendo announced a mobile version of the Mario Kart series for iOS and Android.[10][11] Nintendo announced in April 2019 that they would be holding a closed beta for the game, exclusively for Android users, which took place from late May to early June.[12] Initially expected to be released by March 2019, the game was released on September 25, 2019.[13][14] As of September 26, a day after Mario Kart Tour's release, there had been over ten million downloads of the game.[15]

To celebrate the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary, the game was updated to include two new characters: SNES Mario and Donkey Kong Jr., who had not appeared in the series since Super Mario Kart.[16][17]

Reception[edit]

On its first day, Mario Kart Tour was available for download in 58 markets, including the Japanese and American markets. Revenue-wise, it placed #19 for iPhone apps in the United States. This was a significant debut improvement compared to Dr. Mario World, a match-three mobile game also developed by Nintendo and released on July 9, 2019, which placed #503 during its debut. Another game published by Nintendo on February 2, 2019, Fire Emblem Heroes, placed #17 on the top iPhone revenue app during its debut.[27]

Mario Kart Tour received 90.1 million downloads in its first week of availability according to Sensor Tower, the highest number of first-week downloads for a Nintendo mobile game, surpassing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp's 14.3 million downloads. It also made $12.7 million in first-week player spending, the 3rd-highest for a Nintendo mobile game behind Fire Emblem Heroes ($28.2 million) and Super Mario Run ($16.1 million).[28] Total downloads reached 123.9 million in the first month of release, generating $37.4 million in player spending.[29] In April 2021, Sensortower released an information about Mario Kart Tour surpassing 200 million downloads and 200 million for revenue, making it the second biggest mobile game in revenue for Nintendo, only behind Fire Emblem Heroes.[30]

The game received "mixed or average reviews" according to review aggregator Metacritic.[18] While critics praised the graphics and simple controls, they criticized Mario Kart Tour's gacha element, as well as its monthly $4.99 Gold Pass feature, which is required to use the game's 200cc feature, to get more items and in-game achievements, the constant need for a stable internet connection, and the only way to unlock things like karts and gold badges in the game requires money.[31] Many journalists noted that the monthly charge for the subscription service was the same as that of Apple Arcade, which launched a few days prior to the release of Mario Kart Tour, claiming that the former provides subscribers with more content for the same price and is thus more worth purchasing.[32][33][34] The game was also criticized for player selection multiplayer functionality and not having characters at launch like Luigi who had been available in trailers, tutorials and the beta testing stage of the game.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

Accolades[edit]

The game won the award for "Racing Game of the Year" at the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards,[42] and was nominated for "Favorite Video Game" at the 2020 Kids' Choice Awards.[43]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Additional work by DeNA, SRD and Bandai Namco Studios
  2. ^ Japanese: マリオカート ツアー, Hepburn: Mario Kāto Tsuā

References[edit]

  1. ^ "D.I.C.E. Awards by Video Game Details".
  2. ^ "仕事を読み解くキーワード:新しいことにワクワクしたい|採用情報|任天堂".
  3. ^ "How to Activate Frenzy Mode in Mario Kart Tour". GameRevolution. September 24, 2019. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "Mario Kart Tour's next circuit is a culinary themed delight". Nintendo Wire. May 29, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  5. ^ Tylwalk, Nick (October 2, 2019). "Does Mario Kart Tour have multiplayer?". iMore. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  6. ^ O'Rourke, Patrick (September 30, 2019). "Mario Kart Tour hopes you think its bots are people". Mobile Syrup. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  7. ^ McWhertor, Michael (September 27, 2019). "Mario Kart Tour review: Mario Kart just doesn't feel right on a phone". Polygon. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  8. ^ "Multiplayer is up and running!".
  9. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Is Getting A Landscape Mode And A New Control Layout". Nintendo Life. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  10. ^ Plunkett, Luke (January 31, 2018). "Mario Kart is coming to smartphones". Kotaku. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  11. ^ MUDHAR, RAJU (June 15, 2018). "E3 interview with Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aimé: What's so special about Canadian videogamers?". The Star. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Porter, Jon (April 25, 2019). "Nintendo opens beta signups for Mario Kart Tour". The Verge. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  13. ^ Bankhurst, Adam (August 26, 2019). "Mario Kart Tour Release Date Announced". IGN. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  14. ^ Dayus, Oscar (January 31, 2019). "Mario Kart Tour Delayed, Nintendo Confirms". GameSpot. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  15. ^ "Mario Kart Tour – Apps on Google Play". play.google.com. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  16. ^ Liam Doolan (September 4, 2020). ""Super" Mario Kart Tour Event Starts Next Week, Get Ready To Welcome Back Two Familiar Faces". Nintendo Life. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Mikhail Madnani (September 3, 2020). "'Mario Kart Tour' Is Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros with a Super Mario Kart Tour Featuring Mario and Donkey Kong Jr next Week". TouchArcade. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Mario Kart Tour for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "Test: Mario Kart Tour (Rennspiel)". 4Players.de. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  20. ^ "Review: Mario Kart Tour". Destructoid. September 29, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  21. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Review | Surprising innovation spoiled by microtransactions - GameRevolution". Game Revolution. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  22. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Review: The Best Nintendo Mobile Game Yet?". Gamezebo. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  23. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Review". IGN. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  24. ^ "Test : Mario Kart Tour : Sur l'autel du free-to-play, Nintendo abat ses karts". Jeuxvideo.com. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Review (Mobile)". Nintendo Life. September 26, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  26. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Review - "Good kart, greedy gacha" | Articles | Pocket Gamer". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  27. ^ Minotti, Mike (September 25, 2019). "Sensor Tower: Mario Kart Tour's first day laps Dr. Mario World's". VentureBeat.
  28. ^ "Mario Kart Tour breaks Nintendo mobile records and it isn't even close". October 3, 2019.
  29. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Has a Rocket Start with 123.9 Million Downloads in Its First Month".
  30. ^ "Mario Kart Tour Surpasses 200 Million Downloads and $200 Million in Lifetime Revenue".
  31. ^ "Should players get the Mario Kart Tour Gold Pass?". iMore. September 25, 2019. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  32. ^ "'Mario Kart Tour' Has a Bad Subscription Model That Costs as Much as Apple Arcade".
  33. ^ "Mario Kart Tour's Microtransactions Feel Gross in a Post-Apple Arcade World".
  34. ^ "Mario Kart Tour is too cynical to be fun". September 26, 2019.
  35. ^ Phillips, Tom (September 25, 2019). "Mario Kart Tour has £4.99 monthly subscription option". Eurogamer.
  36. ^ Fahey, Mike. "IMPRESSIONS Mario Kart Tour's Microtransactions Feel Gross In A Post-Apple Arcade World". Kotaku.
  37. ^ Tassi, Paul. "'Mario Kart Tour' Has A Bad Subscription Model That Costs As Much As Apple Arcade". Forbes.
  38. ^ Webster, Andrew (September 26, 2019). "Mario Kart Tour is too cynical to be fun". The Verge.
  39. ^ Summers, Nick. "'Mario Kart Tour' is a simple racer surrounded by free-to-play complexity". Engadget.
  40. ^ Carter, Chris (September 26, 2019). "As expected, the Mario Kart Tour gacha gambling drop rates are comically bad". Destructoid.
  41. ^ Power, Tom (September 27, 2019). "Why isn't Luigi in Mario Kart Tour?". Game Revolution.
  42. ^ Van Allen, Eric (February 14, 2020). "Untitled Goose Game Wins Top Bill at the 2020 D.I.C.E. Awards". USgamer.
  43. ^ Willis, Jackie (February 13, 2020). "Kids' Choice Awards 2020 Nominations: Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie and More". Entertainment Tonight.

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