Mario Kart Tour
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|Mario Kart Tour|
|Release||September 25, 2019|
Mario Kart Tour[b] is a kart racing mobile game, the fourteenth in the franchise and a spin-off in the Mario Kart series, developed and published by Nintendo for Android and iOS devices. The game was announced in January 2018, and was released on September 25, 2019, on the App Store and Play Store.
The game deviates from the traditional gameplay of the Mario Kart series, where the objective was to reach the finish in first; this game utilizes a point-based system. The game includes four different difficulties, being 50cc (leisurely), 100cc (fast), 150cc (very fast), and 200cc (extremely fast). Unlike previous installments in the series, much of the driving is performed automatically, such as the acceleration and the jump boosts. Mario Kart Tour includes features from past games, such as underwater racing and hang gliding from Mario Kart 7. The game also introduces a new Frenzy feature, which occurs when a player gets a three of the same item from an item box. Each character can receive a unique item from item boxes, a concept that was revisited from Double Dash!!.
Mario Kart Tour introduces a new mechanic called "Tours". Tours are usually named after famous cities in the world, and each tour lasts two weeks. In each tour, the player can complete a series of 16 cups, and adds new drivers, karts, and gliders for the player to collect. Each cup consists of racing on three tracks and a bonus challenge. Tracks from previous cups are reused for subsequent cups, and all races lasting two laps. The cups are also named after Mario characters instead of the usual items in the Mario franchise. As of October 23, 2019, the game currently does not have a multiplayer feature, but is scheduled to be available soon. The game also introduces Challenges to accompany each tour, which are similar to Mario Kart DS's challenges.
In January 2018, Nintendo announced a mobile version of the Mario Kart series for iOS and Android. 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. Initially expected to be released by March 2019, the game was released on September 25, 2019. As of September 26, a day after Mario Kart Tour's release, there has been over ten million downloads of the game.
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.
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). Total downloads reached 123.9 million in the first month of release, generating $37.4 million in player spending.
Despite this, the game received "mixed or average reviews" according to review aggregator Metacritic. 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, 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. 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, opining that the latter provides subscribers with more content for the same price and is thus more worth purchasing. The game was also criticized for player selection multiplayer functionality and not having characters like Luigi who had been available in trailers, tutorials and the beta testing stage of the game.
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