Mario Kart Tour Review: It's All Fun And Games Until The Microtransactions Start

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Beware of micro-transactions. Nintendo

Nintendo recently launched the newest addition to its lineup which is Mario Kart Tour. Since it was first released, the game has reached the top in terms of downloads, beating the likes of Super Mario Run and even Pokémon Go. So what can you expect from this game?

Well for starters, it is safe to say that the game takes full advantage of nostalgia. The basic gameplay is pretty much like the previous versions in the franchise. You do what you can to get to first place. This can be done by racing well or hindering the progress of the other racers by using items that are available in item boxes.

One interesting aspect to the game is that vehicles now auto-accelerate. This makes it both simple and practical considering that everything is handled with touch controls. In addition, since this is a mobile game, the control method has been modified. The game gives you two ways to drive. For those new to Mario Kart, they can opt for the Simple method which only requires players to slide fingers left or right. For the more advanced players, they can instead choose to use the Drift mode. All players need to do is slide their fingers left or right in order to drift. This particular option is also good for those who want to fine-tune their steering. Another mechanic is the points system. Depending on what you do within the game, you get points. Your point total at the end of the race earns Grand Stars and increases your level.

Overall in terms of gameplay, Mario Kart Tour delivers. It's fun for new players and it brings up nice memories to old fans.

The big problem, however, is in the microtransactions. Nintendo released Mario Kart Tour under the "freemium" model. This means that you can download and play for free, but if you want to get new content, you have to pay for it. This includes new karts, gliders, and even characters.

That may not be an issue for some players who are accustomed to such models. However, in a surprise twist, Nintendo decided to lock many of the interesting items under a $5 per month paywall. That's right, if you want to get new content, you need to subscribe to Mario Kart Tour. This alone made a lot of players rather frustrated. For example, several players expressed their intention to play the 200cc mode, considered by the game as the expert difficulty level. The problem is that access to this is limited to monthly subscribers. What makes this even more surprising is the fact that a subscription to Apple Arcade also costs $5 per month. This begs the question of which would you want, a racing game or access to a bundle of games with no additional purchases needed?

Indeed, Mario Kart Tour is a good game if all you're doing is simply racing and not caring what happens next. However, for those who want their character to move forward, they need to have access to good items which is only available under the monthly subscription. For now Mario Kart Tour is a good racing game. In the next few months we'll see just how long this business model Nintendo has can last.

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