I’d be convinced that you were living under a rock if you haven’t heard about Nintendo’s newest release: the Mario Kart Tour app. I downloaded it as soon as it hit the App Store and have honestly yet to stop playing it. But, I do have some comments about the performance of the game and how it fell short of expectations in a few different ways.
I’m sure my generation is very much aware of the role the world of Mario has had on our childhood. I remember playing Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart with my brother and sister on our Wii for hours until our thumbs were calloused and our eyes strained. The game then made its first steps towards going mobile when it came out as a DS game. C’mon now people, we all had those little DS’s and would play them on the bus on the way to elementary school, lets not lie to ourselves. Personally, I had a baby pink DS and decided to cover it with stickers of Buckeye leaves, such a Columbus native thing to do. I played games on that thing religiously so you can only imagine how excited I was when I heard that Mario Kart was coming out as an app.
Before we get to all the negatives of the game, it would be rude of me to disregard the obvious successes of the app. First, the graphics are insane. They’re certainly comparable to the Nintendo Switch version and I’ve personally only experienced lagging when I’m connected to poor WiFi, despite playing live with players all across the world.
The added complexities of the game also give a new element of interest. Some randomly selected tours (or groups of races) are ranked nationally and you can race to get the highest collective score and are awarded at the end of every week with coins or gems. There’s also an in-game storefront where you can purchase characters, cars and gliders with coins or rubies that you earn in the game.
Another aspect of the game that could be seen as both a pro and a con is that the creators seem to still be actively writing the game. Throughout each tour you earn stars according to your points and placement at the end of each race. As you continue to collect stars, you unlock more tours. But, even with all the tours unlocked, new tours open every few days because they claim to be “under construction” until then. Personally I kinda like that not everything is available right off the bat. It forces people to continue to come back to the game day-after-day and increases anticipation for the newest tour to open.
On the other hand, a major downfall of the app is that there aren’t new race locations with each tour. The app contains a handful of race locations that they just rotate through and each tour just offers a different combination of those same race locations. But, as I’ve ventured further into the game, I have noticed that despite using the same locations repeatedly, there are some added ramps/jumps, quick turns and other mid-race distractors, but the locations remain the same.
Another con to the app is that the feature to play with your friends is yet to be unlocked. Out of all the aspects of the game, I feel that people were most excited to be able to race their friends, and we can’t. You can add friends on the app but the ability to actually play with them isn’t available. I read online that that feature is still “under construction” as well, but wouldn’t it make sense to release that feature with the release of the app?
At the end of the day, the game is highly addictive. So much so, that a few of my friends refuse to download it, knowing that it’ll ultimately distract them from doing their work. I can personally say that it does, in fact, successfully distract you, so do with that information what you will. I would highly recommend downloading the app, even if you aren’t a long time fan of Mario Kart. The app itself is free to download (another surprising added bonus) and it’s a great game and seems to me like it’s only getting better.