Game Review: Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart Tour Artwork

I started playing this game last year on the recommendation from someone at Game Centre, a now defunct retail store focusing on selling computer games and various other gaming paraphernalia. Tori B Bearly and I downloaded it immediately and just got sucked into it.

It’s easily the equal of its sister games such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and in fact might have an edge over other Mario Kart games because this game is 100% free to play whereas 8 Deluxe despite being released in 2017 is still selling for over £30 at most online retailers.

It’s one of those games that just kinda sucks you in, you get a reward for logging in, and each day the shop refreshes with new things you can buy, making it worth you while to pop on even if you’ve completed all the races. You can earn tickets which can improve either your racers, your Karts or Gilders. Doing so allows you increase your chance of frenzying, boosting your bonus for points earned during a race or increases your combo bonus and the length of time you have to do another thing to keep a combo going.

You can race with up to 7 other people, usually you’ll be racing against AI-controlled players but as of March 8th 2020 all players have the choice of playing online multiplayer matches against real players, these have massively increased the difficulty as real players add an element of unpredictability to the rounds and also they can choose the right moment to smash you with a red shell and steal victory out from under you. That being said they are still a bit glitchy and sometimes you get knocked out off a match or it only populated it with a two or three other racers rather than the full eight, and once it only added me so I raced solo, which was good for boosting my stats but was obviously a bit boring. 

Something else I really like about multiplayer mode is that as well as being able to play with players all across the world you can also do a local multiplayer mode in which you can set the race conditions and players can enter a room code to make it more exclusive. Also while you’re waiting to be put into a match you can passively earn up to 100 gold coins per day. 

Something else I really like that adds an element of fun to things are the daily challenges and the overall your challenges, these are small things like ‘Do 5 Rocket Starts’ or ‘Land three Hits with a Green Shell’ and completion of these earns you either earn rubies which can be exchanged for characters or money (by spending it on the Coin Rush) or Stars which you accumulate to win prizes such as the aforementioned tickets or rubies or new characters. 

The races themselves are fun, there’s a decent diversity in courses and each Cup, has three races and a bonus challenge, my personal favourite of which is Combo Attack or Do Jump Boost where you either try to keep a Combo going from start to finish or do as many jump boosts as possible respectively. My least favours bonus challenge is by far Smash Small Dry Bones which is just infuriating.

So I’ve talked a lot about the elements of the game, the features that make it up, but I now let’s talk about the pros and cons. 

Pros, the games are relatively quick and are great for occupying time. It’s also fun to replay cups and courses to beat your own score. They also have a variety of challenges as mentioned above to make it more interesting. The controls are simple and easy to control, but you can also become incredibly skilled within the confines of the game mechanics, for example I’m not particularly good at drifting but for players who see they can edge you out in points or overtake players taking the corners in a clunkier fashion with ease. 

Cons, the game is rigid, you could conceivably put your device down and just let it play itself, you most likely won’t win but it’s kind of demoralising that you as the player aren’t vital to the gameplay. While it doesn’t force it on you, there’s a distinct pay mechanic that dominates the game, items you cannot get without a gold pass (which you need to pay real money for) tours and of course you cannot get full stars on because you don’t have the characters who can frenzy. It’s not shoved down your throat as I said above but it’s noticeable and as such makes it fun. But since you can and I have played the game entirely free since I first downloaded it, it’s not a massive issue. 

If you want to grab it for yourself you can on either Android or iOS and make sure and visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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