Mario Kart Tour
|Mario Kart Tour|
|Release||September 25, 2019|
Mario Kart Tour[b] is a 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 Mario Kart series, Mario Kart Tour includes courses located in cities in the real world (e.g. New York, Tokyo, Paris, London, Vancouver).
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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"). 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. Each character can get a unique item (also known as "Special Skill") from item boxes.
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 (such as cuisine and holidays). Each tour lasts for two weeks, beginning on Wednesday at 6 a.m. UTC. In a tour, players can compete in nine 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 (except for 3DS Rainbow Road which has three sections), while most bonus challenges have to be done in one lap (except for Ready, Set, Rocket Start, which allows the driver to perform a rocket start at the start of the race). 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 with Grand Stars to unlock tour gifts, experience points for the used character, kart, and glider and coins. 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. However, there might be a technical problem with the game in which some players do not receive coins or rubies when advancing to the next player level. Also, each course has an experience point limit. If the player continues to race on the same course by finishing in the three top spots, they will earn less and less experience points until the cap is reached. The cap for the course is never reset, and is carried on to later tours, so the player must race in new courses featured later in the game to keep earning experience points and leveling up. 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 tomorrow morning at 6:00 UTC. 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 move on to the next cup. The character shown on the picture of the bonus challenge is always selected, even if the player does not have them yet, and is always given the Pipe Frame kart and Super Glider. Completing a bonus challenge awards three Grand Stars instead of five. Some challenges, such as reverse and vs. mega opponent races, allows the player to choose any character, kart, and glider.
Each week, a tour's cup is a tournament. All 20 players are placed on a leaderboard based on the overall score for the cup. By next Wednesday, Lakitu announces how well the player did. The player will increase in tier, and earn some rewards if the end position is within near the top, but they will lose one or two tiers if they finish poorly from tier 21 and higher. Starting with the Cooking Tour, tier 25 and beyond include points-cap tickets for the top positions. Also, since the Baby Rosalina Tour, 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. In addition, a beta test for the multiplayer function of this game began from "approximately 11:00 PM PT on December 18, 2019 to 9:59 PM PT on December 26, 2019" and was only available for subscribers to the Mario Kart Tour Gold Pass. From January 22, 2020 to January 28, 2020, there was a multiplayer test for all players of the game.
At 8 PM PT 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." 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. Otherwise the percentage will decrease or remain unchanged. Other results of losing percentage from the rank includes quitting in the middle of a race, being the only human player, or being disconnected due to internet problems. When moving up a grade, the gauge starts at 20% and going back a grade makes the gauge start at 80%. If the player plays Standard Races while their grade is at an S or above, they will neither gain or lose percentage on their grade gauge after finishing a race, or when they exit or get disconnected.
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 had 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.
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, 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. 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. 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.
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