Mario Kart Tour Gets 2nd Anniversary Event, Still No Sign of Mario Kart 9
Mario Kart is a series that any gamer can get behind. Even if they’re not normally someone who enjoys video games, playing Mario Kart with family and friends is a good way for players to enjoy the wonders of video games with others. However, with around four years of the Switch under their belt, another Mario Kart title still hasn’t been. Instead, players have seen a surge of popularity in the Mario Kart series with its mobile release: Mario Kart Tour.
Mario Kart Tour is the mobile version of the Mario Kart series, with players racing against AI opponents through old and new levels made for the mobile game. The title is more akin to Mario Kart 7 than Mario Kart 8, with the latter’s antigravity mechanics not available in the game’s mobile version. Instead, gliders and underwater sections are brought in from the 3DS version of the game and incorporated into the tracks.
How Mario Kart Tour Is Improving the Series
Mario Kart Tour also finds itself adding more Mario characters to the roster and adding characters that players have been asking for, such as Kamek the Magikoopa. This character was shown for the first time in a Mario Kart game as a possible addition to the roster of Mario Kart 64. However, they weren’t added to any games since that singular screenshot. Now, they’re playable in the Mario Kart series.
This is also the first time players have seen characters like Pauline make their debut outside of Super Mario Odyssey. Another thing that the game is doing is the main gimmick of the title, Mario Kart Tour. This is the game’s form of seasons, with the original eight tours taking place in real locations in the world. Tracks like New York Minute, London Loop, Los Angeles Laps, and Berlin Byways, fill the game’s world with a sense of unity, taking interesting locations from other countries and turning them into Mario Kart tracks. Combined with these tours are cultural skins for characters, with Yoshi dressing up as a kangaroo, Mario sporting the musician’s suit from Odyssey, and even Princess Peach wearing a kimono. This also brought in many new characters to try out, all with their special item. Also included in this game is the return of Mario Kart DS’ beloved mission mode, with each in-game cup having a special mission at the end of three races.
On top of this, Mario Kart Tour is getting a whole new event for the title’s second anniversary, adding all the city stages back into the game, and bringing back some of the fan-favorite character skins like Luigi’s mansion’s rendition of King Boo. Players can experience some of the content they’ve missed out on while celebrating the game’s success as well as participating in the game’s two promotional campaigns, which will net players coins to spend in the game’s store. While this sounds like a fantastic idea for the Mario Kart series, adding more characters and remaking fan-favorite tracks and mechanics, some things are holding the game back and that’s the fact that the game is on mobile.
The “Catch” of Mario Kart Tour
With the game being on mobile devices, Nintendo has decided to enact the game’s dreaded “free-to-play” model. This means that players can play the game for free. Still, they’re going to be locked out of content. While DLC may seem like the least of players’ worries, with Super Mario Run being made paid after a short demo session, many players have with the game is the title’s monetization model.
Mario Kart Tour is a Gacha game. Those who don’t know, Gacha games are free to play titles, with aspects of the game, like characters being hidden behind a random drop chance, like loot boxes from days gone. Now, this mechanic has been incorporated into the world of Mario Kart Tour. Some of the characters shown in the game are extremely hard to come by. On top of this, having the right characters and the right karts on a level is the difference from coming out on top with other players.
Picking the right character and kart for specific tracks will net the player up to three-item boxes to finish the race with. This means that players will have to spend money on the premium subscription or the game’s secondary currency if they expect to get the character they want for a specific track. Even if the player spends enough money, there’s still a small chance that they’re going to be unable to get the character they’re trying for. Having one single version of Mario isn’t going to cover all tracks. Sometimes, players will need Mario in different outfits if they want that elusive three-item boxes.
Mario Kart Tour and the Next Console Title
While all of these ideas for Mario Kart sound bad on paper for longtime fans of the game, it’s no shocker that Mario Kart Tour is printing money for Nintendo. Otherwise, they’d can the game like Dr. Mario World and Miitomo. However, with the ongoing success of the title, there’s a good chance this game isn’t going to be disappearing soon.
With all this in mind, players are wondering what the future of Mario Kart is going to be. With all the massive amounts of content in the game, there’s no way a console release will top the number of things to do in the mobile game, even if players aren’t able to experience all of it.
Many players even blame the game’s success because a new Mario Kart title hasn’t come out yet, stating that Nintendo is neglecting the series to focus on the mobile game. From the perspective of a consumer, this does seem to be the case. However, it’s not Mario Kart Tours fault alone. The pure success of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch is also the reason that there’s not another Mario Kart title coming out for the Nintendo Switch. However, with the DLC for Mario Kart 8 factored in, there’s a chance a new series could spawn out of Mario Kart 8.
Many other players have seen this, too, with the possibility of a “Nintendo Kart” of sorts coming out for the Switch or next console. With the fact that characters like Link, Isabelle, Villager, and the Inklings gearing up to race against the Mario cast, there’s a chance that the next “Mario Kart” might contain more characters like Captain Falcon, Kirby, Samus, and possibly more. However, this is only going off of Nintendo’s actions with the previous console Mario Kart. Whether or not another console game is coming is yet to be seen. However, the announcement of a Nintendo Direct could give players some closure on the future of the Mario series, seeing that the plumber has been missing a new mainline game from Nintendo’s lineup since the release of Mario Odyssey.