Despite a somewhat inconsistent record with smartphone games, Nintendo is continuing to add to its roster, revealing that its next effort will be a mobile Mario Kart.
First announced as in-development in February 2018, Mario Kart Tour is still something of a mystery as Nintendo didn’t proffer any details on its gameplay, pricing model or even a firm release date.
Following the failure of Miitomo, Mario Kart Tour is a good sign that Nintendo is going to be investing in mobile adaptations of its more popular IPs, rather than trying anything more weird or new any time soon.
While we don’t know too much about the game thus far, this is everything we do know, and we’ll keep updating this page as more details are revealed.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Mario Kart on mobile!
- When can I play it? It'll be released any time between April 2018 and March 2019
- What can I play it on? Nothing confirmed but it's likely to be iOS and Android
Mario Kart Tour – when can I play it?
Mario Kart Tour's exact release date is yet to be revealed, with Nintendo giving us a pretty wide window. We know the game will be coming in the next fiscal year but that means it could launch any time between the start of April 2018 and the end of March 2019.
Though we don’t want to be overly negative, we’re inclined to say it’s more likely that we’ll see the game towards the end of 2018, into early 2019. Nintendo’s mobile titles have historically been subject to delays, and given the fact that Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp are relatively recent releases and still undergoing updates, we’re not sure the time is right to push another big IP title out there just yet.
Mario Kart Tour – how much will it cost?
Going on Nintendo’s past mobile releases, it's difficult to tell whether Mario Kart Tour will be a free-to-play title with microtransactions, or a one-time purchase game with no paid extras.
A recent report from the Wall Street Journal has said that the game will be ‘free-to-start’. While this is a little unclear, Super Mario Run is also a free-to-start game which does give us some idea as to how the model could translate to Mario Kart Tour.
DeNA CEO said "Mario Kart Tour," a Nintendo-DeNA smartphone game planned for FY18, will be free-to-start.February 8, 2018
For Mario Kart Tour we imagine the game will – like Super Mario Run – be released as a free trial which gives access to one or two tracks and a limited number of characters and cards. After players have gone through this trial, they’ll then be able to purchase the full game for around $10/£10 and get access to all of the game’s features as well as free updates at later stages.
This would make it slightly different from the free-to-play titles like Animal Crossing Pocket Camp which is free to download but has certain content which can only be accessed for a fee. Although this is a model that would also work for Mario Kart Tour; we could quite easily see the game being free to download with certain tracks, characters and cars requiring an additional purchase.
Mario Kart Tour – which platforms will it be on?
Though Nintendo hasn’t confirmed anything here just yet, we think it’s safe to assume that Mario Kart Tour will be released on both iOS and Android as other mobile titles have been.
Mario Kart Tour – how will it play?
Unfortunately, Nintendo hasn’t released any details on how Mario Kart Tour will actually play, but given it’s based on the popular Mario Kart IP, it’ll naturally be a streamlined version of the console games.
How that will actually play out is hard to determine because Mario Kart is a game with control complexities that could be hard to condense into a touchscreen format.
In the way that Super Mario Run had Mario running on his own while the player controlled his jumping, Mario Kart Tour could have the cars driving on their own, while the player controls their direction and which items are used with various swiping and tapping motions.
There’s even room in this kind of control system for motion controls, whereby players turn their phone onto its side and turn the screen like they would a steering wheel.
How the multiplayer element will come into the game has yet to be confirmed, too.
Nintendo’s mobile games usually require that the player be online but whether they’ll face off in live races or simply race around an AI populated track and try to establish themselves on a variety of leaderboards is currently unclear.
A big part of the fun in Mario Kart is the unpredictability of facing-off against real opponents, so we’d definitely like to see live races rather than a leaderboard system.
While details are limited just now, keep checking back because we'll keep updating as we hear more about Mario Kart Tour!
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