Mario Kart Tour, the worst Mario Kart in history - The Happy Android

Last week one of the most anticipated mobile games for Nintendo fans was released, Mario Kart Tour. A game for Android and iOS based on a model free-to-play with many more shadows than lights. After a few days playing the title, the feeling that we have is quite bittersweet, and it is a shame, since it seems that the developers have "loosed their hair" in the worst sense of the word.

Is Mario Kart Tour a bad game? We could say that it is simple in terms of pure and simple gameplay, although it is everything that surrounds the game that makes this title very far from what it could have been if Nintendo had approached it from a less aggressive perspective. Above all, considering that we are facing a franchise with a player base that largely thrives on children and minors.

Start the game and we already find the first surprise

Mario Kart Tour picks up the worst vices of the current mobile games industry, and even allows himself the luxury of adding an extra “shot”. Right from the start, in order to even start playing it is necessary sign in with a Nintendo account. If we have a Switch this may not be a problem for us, but otherwise we are obliged to register and leave our data for a game that, make no mistake, we will probably uninstall in a couple of weeks or less.

Bad start ...

Vertical layout

When Nintendo launched Super Mario Run they wanted to put a lot of emphasis on the need for their games to be playable vertically and with one hand. Something that would allow us to have a few games while we are going on the subway or the bus: something to keep in mind if we think that the Japanese spend a large number of hours traveling by public transport. A rule that Nintendo has followed in all its mobile games.

Here, however, we are talking about a racing game, and the fact that the screen is limited to the vertical format makes it visibility on the runway is extremely limited. If there is any game that requires a landscape view, those are the driving games, and in Mario Kart Tour it was presented more as a necessity than as a style option. Of course, this also translates into much more simplified and less rough routes, which in the end takes a lot out of the game when it comes to gameplay.

Simplified gameplay

But not everything is bad in Mario Kart Tour. As in Super Mario Run, the graphics conform perfectly to the established canon, and it seems that we are playing a Switch or Wii U title. The music is also up to par and if we are fans of the saga we will undoubtedly recognize some that another classic tune.

However, although the wrapping paper used for this packaging is the most attractive, the "content of the package" leaves much more to be desired. The gameplay is reduced to its minimum expression, which in practice means that we only have 2 controls: left-right to turn the kart, and up-down to launch objects. Everything else goes on automatic (the car moves by itself, does not let you get off the track and accelerates automatically in certain sections). In the settings menu we have the possibility to activate the manual skid, but it is not something that involves a significant enough change either. In the end, you are left with the feeling that driving your kart is almost the least important thing in the game.

The famous pipes

The mythical green pipes of Mario's world have always been synonymous with surprises and new worlds to discover. In Mario Kart Tour, however, they have taken this concept and turned it into a cannon that shoots all kinds of prizes. Basically, what has been a "loot box" or slot machine.

Before even starting with the first race, the game already presents us with a pipe that we must "open" and in which we will find a character, accessories or a kart. All unlocks are made through the famous pipelines, which we can buy with in-game coins or with rubies (the game's premium currency). The circuits and characters are so expensive to unlock with the standard currency of the game that in the end we do not know if we are playing to open pipes, or opening pipes to play. In either case, the gaming experience is tremendously resentful, leading to premature boredom that is almost inevitable.

Microtransactions and season passes

Of course, all of this is perfectly seasoned with micropayments of all kinds. On the one hand, we have the possibility of buying rubies, in packages ranging from almost 3 euros to almost 75 euros (to be able to make 2 runs of pipe we need to spend € 6.99).

But the thing does not stop there, since there is also what is known as "Golden Pass" which is nothing more than a monthly subscription of 5 euros (the same as the entire Google Play Pass catalog), with which we will have access to Exclusive rewards, own challenges and the possibility of unlocking the most difficult game mode (the 200cc). That is, if we want the cars to go a little faster we will have to go to the cashier and pay.

All this would not be so serious if it weren't for the fact that a large part of Nintendo's target is minors, and this type of activity only encourages forms of play that are unhealthy at least. And we are not going to talk about the multiplayer online mode, something that was announced from the beginning as a great novelty and that in the end has not arrived (at least out of the box). Of course, to be able to play this Mario Kart it is mandatory to have an internet connection, so we can now say goodbye to our data as we have a serious hooked on this game.

In any case, it does not seem that all these "details" are going to tarnish the new success of Nintendo. Just 1 week after its launch, it has already surpassed Pokémon GO and is the most successful mobile game of the Japanese company. I do not think it is a game that lives up to the great legacy of Nintendo in the video game market, and the truth is that I am a bit sad to see how they have jumped on the bandwagon of "anything goes" assuming their own World's worst mobile gaming practices.

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