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Mario Kart Tour is a mobile game in the Mario Kart series. First announced during a financial briefing on January 31, 2018, it is the third Mario mobile game overall, following Super Mario Run and Dr. Mario World, and the 16th installment in the Mario Kart series.

Like Super Mario Run, it is free-to-start from the App Store and Google Play. Unlike Super Mario Run and similar to that of Dr. Mario World, the game more heavily incorporates a free-to-play microtransaction mechanic, where players have restrictions and timers unless they spend some of the various types of currencies in-game, as well as having loot boxes in the form of items being launched out of pipes.

The game reuses many assets from Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, and Mario Kart 8, as well as returning gameplay mechanics such as gliding and character specific special items. In addition, the game introduces some features new to the Mario Kart franchise such as reverse tracks and ability to deploy a large amount of any item during a race, including Spiny Shells and Bullet Bills.

On April 23, 2019, Nintendo opened applications for participating in a closed beta test of the game to Android users in North America and Japan, which began on May 22, 2019 and ended on June 4, 2019.

The game officially launched for both iOS and Android devices on September 25, 2019 in 163 territories, which covers nearly the same roster of availability as Super Mario Run, with the exceptions of Belgium and Vietnam, the former of which banned games with loot boxes in 2019. Users who pre-registered acquired the game a day early.

Gameplay

The mobile iteration of Mario Kart sticks to the series' formula of characters racing each other on tracks and using items to their advantage. What's new though is the control mechanic designed for the touch-screen mobile devices - the character drives in auto-pilot and all the player has to do is to stroke the screen left or right to steer, and simply tap the items to use them.

The game features a more simplified cast of the most popular characters of the Super Mario franchise, in contrast to the extravagant roster of Mario Kart 8 Deluxethere are three new additions though which are PaulinePeachette, and a musician costume for Mario. Each character have their own dedicated cup and favourite tracks, and their special items (a mechanism revived from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!).

Mario Kart Tour 1

Other principal elements of Mario Kart such as item boxes are featured along with tricks and gliding mechanics. Cups are also included but have been modified in this edition of Mario Kart; they're now named after each of the characters instead of classic Super Mario items, and there are 16 of them altogether with each featuring three. A new innovation is featured called a 'Frenzy', where drivers become invincible and can use multiple dosages of their favoured item for a short time.[1][2][3]

Mario Kart Tour Frenzy

Mario getting frenzy with Green Shells.

As is customary with Mario Kart series, the game features a range of different difficulty tiers (50cc, 100cc, 150cc plus 200cc); with each tier the speed of the karts rises. The game begins with 50cc but the other tiers are unlocked later in the gameplay - except for 200cc, which has to be bought with real money.

The game comes included with its own currency in the form of rubies and Grand Stars, which are gathered from the end of races in order to unlock more cars, characters and vehicles which are randomly shot up from the green pipe. This system is operated on a loot box model, much like the other mobile games. 

Characters

New York Tour (Launch)

Tokyo Tour

Halloween Tour

Paris Tour

Courses

New York Tour
(September 25, 2019 - October 9, 2019)

Mario Cup Donkey Kong Cup Yoshi Cup Koopa Troopa Cup
New York Minute T GCN Dino Dino Jungle GCN Yoshi Circuit N64 Koopa Troopa Beach
3DS Cheep Cheep Lagoon 3DS Toad Circuit 3DS Daisy Hills New York Minute
SNES Mario Circuit 1 3DS Rock Rock Mountain 3DS Cheep Cheep Lagoon 3DS Rock Rock Mountain R
Ready, Set, Rocket Start Ring Race Do Jump Boosts Big Reverse Race
Toad Cup Peach Cup Bowser Cup Dry Bones Cup
3DS Toad Circuit SNES Mario Circuit 1R GBA Bowser's Castle 1 3DS Cheep Cheep Lagoon T
3DS Shy Guy Bazaar GCN Yoshi Circuit GCN Dino Dino Jungle SNES Mario Circuit 1
GCN Yoshi Circuit R 3DS Daisy Hills T New York Minute R 3DS Rock Rock Mountain T
Goomba Takedown Older Challenge Do Jump Boosts Steer Clear of Obstacles
Toadette Cup Daisy Cup Diddy Kong Cup Baby Mario Cup
3DS Toad Circuit T 3DS Daisy Hills N64 Koopa Troopa Beach R SNES Mario Circuit 1 T
New York Minute R GCN Dino Dino Jungle R GBA Bowser's Castle 1 3DS Cheep Cheep Lagoon R
GCN Dino Dino Jungle T 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar T New York Minute 3DS Rock Rock Mountain
Vs. Mega Bowser Ring Race Smash Small Dry Bones Goomba Takedown
Shy Guy Cup Baby Peach Cup Dry Bowser Cup Metal Mario Cup
3DS Shy Guy Bazaar 3DS Daisy Hills R GBA Bowser's Castle 1R GCN Yoshi Circuit T
New York Minute R/T 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar R N64 Koopa Troopa Beach T 3DS Toad Circuit R
GBA Bowser's Castle 1 T N64 Koopa Troopa Beach New York Minute T New York Minute R/T
Steer Clear of Obstacles Break Item Boxes Ring Race Vs. Mega Donkey Kong

Tokyo Tour
(October 9, 2019 - October 23, 2019)

Rosalina Cup Lakitu Cup Toad Cup Peach Cup
Tokyo Blur T 3DS Neo Bowser City 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar GCN Yoshi Circuit R
3DS Mario Circuit SNES Mario Circuit 2 3DS Toad Circuit SNES Rainbow Road
SNES Rainbow Road GCN Yoshi Circuit SNES Choco Island 2 3DS Mario Circuit
Ready, Set, Rocket Start Ring Race Do Jump Boosts Break Items Boxes
Bowser Jr. Cup Mario Cup Baby Daisy Cup Ludwig Cup
N64 Kalimari Desert SNES Mario Circuit 2R N64 Kalimari Desert T 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar R
Tokyo Blur GCN Yoshi Circuit 3DS Toad Circuit 3DS Neo Bowser City
3DS Neo Bowser City R Tokyo Blur R 3DS Mario Circuit R N64 Kalimari Desert R
Big Reverse Race Goomba Takedown Do Jump Boosts vs. Mega Ludwig
Toadette Cup Larry Cup Baby Rosalina Cup Wendy Cup
SNES Mario Circuit 2T 3DS Rock Rock Mountain T SNES Rainbow Road T 3DS Rock Rock Mountain
Tokyo Blur R N64 Kalimari Desert SNES Mario Circuit 2 SNES Choco Island 2
3DS Toad Circuit T SNES Choco Island 2R Tokyo Blur 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar T
Ring Race Steer Clear of Obstacles Smash Small Dry Bones Break Item Boxes
Wario Cup Daisy Cup Dry Bowser Cup Peachette Cup
SNES Choco Island 2T 3DS Mario Circuit T 3DS Neo Bowser City T 3DS Toad Circuit R
Tokyo Blur R/T 3DS Rock Rock Mountain Tokyo Blur T SNES Rainbow Road R
3DS Shy Guy Bazaar GCN Yoshi Circuit T 3DS Rock Rock Mountain R Tokyo Blur R/T
Glider Challenge Goomba Takedown Vs. Mega Dry Bowser Do Jump Boosts

Kart Parts

The game includes a wide variety of kart parts divided between the karts and gliders and categorized in terms of rarity; Normal, Super and High-End. The higher rarity parts are worth more points and tend to have better stats. Some of the kart parts are exclusive to spotlight banners during each tour. The parts have built-in stat bonuses with karts affecting things the driver does while the glider improves the chance of certain items from item boxes. Each part also has a bonus depending on the course and tour with the spotlight parts having many more than the regular parts.

Development

Mario Kart Tour was announced in January 2018 by Nintendo's president and CEO, Tatsumi Kimishima, during an investor meeting. The game was later announced to have been delayed to summer 2019 during the January 2019 financial report.

In late April 2019, Nintendo launched beta signups for the game with a closed beta happening from May 22 to June 4. The beta is limited to Android devices for users in the United States and Japan with Nintendo Accounts linked to their Gmail account.

Reception

Initial impressions of the beta have been mixed. Journalists have praised the gameplay and graphics, but have criticized the free-to-play gacha elements of the game. Sam Machkovech of Ars Technica has compared the game's in-app purchases to Spiny Shells, blowing up the classic Mario Kart experience. He has suggested that "the developers pick a side: attach an annoying economy to a deeper control scheme and more legitimate online options, or make it cheaper and less obnoxious to watch Mario drive himself".[4] Ethan Gach of Kotaku has also stated that the game is "a mostly faithful but stripped-down recreation of Mario Kart decked out with all the microtransactions and lottery mechanics mobile games are infamous for" and also lamenting the lack of a multiplayer mode.[5] Steven Asarch of Newsweek has complained about the game's "freemium greed" and that it is "ruined by microtransactions".[6]

Pre-release and unused content

The beta version of the game saw multiple changes in the final game. The stamina element was removed, and the timers restricting access to certain cups can be sped up using quick tickets. Additionally, rubies were originally emeralds.

References to other games

  • Super Mario Kart - Mario Circuit 1, Choco Island 2, and Rainbow Road appear as returning courses.
  • Mario Kart 64 - Koopa Troopa Beach and Kalimari Desert appear as returning courses. The results theme is an arrangement of the winning results theme from this game.
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit - Bowser Castle 1 appears as a returning course.
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - Special Items return. Yoshi Circuit and Dino Dino Jungle appear as returning courses. The Turbo Yoshi, Koopa Dasher, and Bullet Blaster return as karts.
  • Mario Kart DS - Waluigi Pinball and DK Pass appear as returning courses. The Mushmellow and Royale return as karts. Challenges with unique objectives return as the fourth and final races in every cup.
  • Mario Kart Wii - The Daytripper, Super Blooper, and Flame Flyer return as karts.
  • Mario Kart 7 - Toad Circuit, Daisy Hills, Cheep Cheep Lagoon, Shy Guy Bazaar, Mario Circuit, and Rock Rock Mountain appear as returning courses. The Birthday Girl and Soda Jet return as karts, and the Barrel Train retains its design from this game. The Swooper returns as a glider. The Lucky Seven appears as a Special Item.
  • Mario Kart 8/Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Many characters' animations are reused from this game. The Mach 8, Badwagon, and Prancer return as karts, and the B Dasher retains its design from this game. The Parafoil, Peach Parasol, and Flower Glider return as gliders, retaining their design from this game. The Boomerang Flower and Super Horn return as items.
  • Super Mario Odyssey - Musician Mario is derived from Mario's Musician outfit from this game. The Yellow Taxi is based on the taxis from this game. Pauline's voice clips reference her singing from this game.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - Peachette appears as a playable character.

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