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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

REVERSE Away From Mario Kart Tour

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Wait, there's no reverse gear? THAT'S why it's auto-acceleration...

Unlike the previous Mario-sponsored Nintendo mobile game, Dr. Mario World, Mario Kart Tour doesn't have a deep, disturbing conspiracy under the hood. (I don't count Toad labour as deep, disturbing, or a conspiracy.)

It's just standard mobile fare of a subpar, diluted game experience combined with predatory pricing models.

Not that I follow the mobile space, but it certainly seems abnormal that Mario Kart Tour not only has gacha mechanics (a lottery funded by limited in-app currency or unlimited real currency where you hope to get new characters, gliders, and karts but are more likely to get ones you already have), but ALSO a monthly $5 subscription—the Gold Pass, which nobody even knew about before the game was released last night—that doesn't actually lessen the game's gacha. The Gold Pass just enhances the rewards from it. Oh, and there's the whole 200CC mode locked behind it, but why would you want to drive at an even higher speed with wonky touch controls?

Mario Kart Tour control scheme one hand slide steer items

(Theory: The Gold Pass exists to frame a Nintendo Switch Online subscription as less bad. If you're not convinced about that, by the way, you can join the KoopaTV Nintendo Switch Online Family Group by winning the September–October round of the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program. There's an optional e-mail subscription that can help you win that, but it's free and purely beneficial.) 

You start Mario Kart Tour playing as Toad or Toadette. You need to spend money (in-app currency... or real money if you want to get anywhere while you still have an attention span dedicated to the game) to be able to play as the likes of Mario, Baby Mario, Metal Mario, Mario (Musician), Peach, Baby Peach, or Peachette. Luigi's not in the game (yet). Neither am I, though I was in the game's beta version. Guess I'll be a future release to try to keep people playing.

Personally, I don't want to be used as a gacha incentive.

Remember when the news (but not KoopaTV) was discussing that Nintendo wanted their mobile partners, such as Cygames (remember Dragalia Lost? I don't), to limit the micro-transactions in their games so as to not exploit players? And everyone was commenting great things about Nintendo and how they're so different and better than their rivals?

What happened to that?

Not only is there gacha and lots of micro-transactions, but there's time-limited events with time-limited gacha rewards. That means it's not just gacha mechanics at your own pace, but there's fear-of-missing-out involved as well. Quite manipulative.

I do like that the game brings back character-specific items from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, but I dislike the circumstances around how characters are otherwise distinguished. More rare characters have better stats, as well as more/deeper favoured courses. Favoured courses is a new mechanic where you'll get more items from an item box if you're using a certain character on a certain course. This is why you'll want to try to get (pay for) many characters, to be able to do the best—and later on, actually be able to win—on many courses.

Reminder that Mario Kart 8 is the top-selling game on both the Wii U AND Nintendo Switch. If you want a legitimate Mario Kart experience, just join the many millions of people with that. You can play with a controller on a wide monitor, instead of touch controls on a tiny portrait smartphone. Oh, and with MULTIPLAYER. Mario Kart Tour has pretend-multiplayer, but it's really just AI with real-people screen names. Not good enough.

Ludwig made the automatic acceleration remark in the header as a joke to continue off the article title—his favourite “racing” game, Kirby Air Ride, has automatic acceleration, so in no way is he bashing that. Ludwig also wanted to write “flavoured courses” instead of “favoured courses” and apparently misses courses such as Cookie Land and Sweet Sweet Canyon.

Ludwig is going to be in the game, so he writes another article bashing it.


  1. Gacha AND a subscription to get better gacha?? That sounds like an awful combination. Can you at least play entirely with the free characters, or are Toad/Toadette the worst racers?

    1. Toad and Toadette are "super" class, which is a step up from "normal" class and a step below "rare".

      There's also some "free pulls".

    2. Hmm... I guess that's a little better, then. I'm still not crazy about the model.

    3. You're not gonna be able to win much with Toadette, and it turns out that they don't have much in the way of favoured courses.

      Right now there's a timed event (Oct 8 and then it presumably doesn't return for a while, or ever) with a New York course and Pauline, and for Pauline you may have to invest in a bit to actually get.

    4. Bleh, typical free-to-play gacha tricks.

    5. Some people have noted that if you get bad picks at the beginning, you can wipe out the save file and restart it to try to get better ones.


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