Mario Kart Tour

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Mario Kart Tour Logo.jpg

Mario Kart Tour is Mario Kart series' first smartphone entry. The game was first announced on January 31, 2018 and was set to release during Summer 2019 for iOS and Android. The game has been released worldwide in September 25, 2019. Unlike other Nintendo smartphone games, this game requires a Nintendo Account to play.

Basically a Mario Kart lite, this game takes the usual franchise's Wacky Racing shenanigans and puts them in smartphones. Controls are adjusted to reflect this: Racers accelerate and perform tricks automatically, and swipes are used to steer, drift, and throw items. Each racer has their own special items like in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and their own item inventory limit depending on their track compatibility. Other than the usual cups, the game even includes Bonus Challenges similar to Mario Kart DS's Mission Mode. Opponents use racer data from other players, even though they remain AI-controlled. Because of this, competition is measured in points gathered in races which depend on race position, character and vehicle setup, and general performance like drifting and item use. This plays a role in the weekly Ranked Cups, which pit the player against randomly-selected 19 others. Top 10 placers will be able to obtain the game's premium currency, rubies.

As the game is free-to-start, Microtransactions are involved, of course. Aside from the usual "buy premium currency with real money", the game also includes a gacha system which costs emeralds but can reward players with characters, karts, and gliders. Aside from that, the game has its own in-game shop where the player can spend their common currency (Coins) for drivers, vehicle parts, and upgrade Tickets.

Tropes used in Mario Kart Tour include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: This game is basically a simplified Mario Kart 7 with touch controls, each track is limited to 2 laps, and competition is purely based on points gathered weekly instead of proper Player Versus Player.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game will try to keep players from driving off-track by automatically steering away from such unless the player forces themselves through using a Mushroom (note that this is helpful for reaching off-road ramps, so this aspect may not be welcomed by the player if they really need to go off-road). Tracks with bottomless pits are even blocked off by Invisible Walls unless they are part of the route the racers can take (thus racers can still fall off). Note that turning Smart Steering off in this game only weakens its influence.
    • If the first-place player gets a targeted by a Spiny Shell just as an opponent drives past them (thus dropping in position), the Spiny Shell will rethink this and fly straight to said opponent.
  • Anti-Grinding:
    • The player can only earn a limited amount of driver/kart/glider EXP per day. Though the player is not stopped from trying to reach higher scores on a track as many attempts as they can (important for Ranked Cups, see above).
    • Up to 300 Coins can be collected per day outside of Coin Rush.
  • Anti-Poopsocking: The stamina system, but only during its beta run. Partaking in races consumes Hearts. Hearts can be recovered by using premium currency or leveling up. The final release does not have it.
  • Big Applesauce: The very first Tour event is centered around New York, featuring Pauline, the Yellow Taxi, and the Fare Flier. The first original track in this game, New York Minute, also takes place at the eponymous city filled with Donkey Kong imagery a la Super Mario Odyssey's New Donk City.
  • The Bus Came Back: Diddy Kong, who last appeared in Mario Kart Wii, reappears in this game as Super-tier driver.
  • Character Select Forcing: Each character, kart, and glider has their own preferred track. Using the matching parts in a specific track will grant bonuses ranging from point boost to increased Frenzy Time period for characters and from the also-basic point boost to Speed boost for vehicle parts.
  • Christmas Episode: The Winter Tour, featuring the Santa version of Mario. Decorated trees can also be spotted in all tracks, not just the featured DS DK Pass.
  • Easy Mode Mockery: Played subtly with the gameplay in lower cc. Since the game runs on Scoring Points, playing it slow and casual will only net the player less points than playing at a higher cc. Played straight with the score obtained upon reaching the top 3, which is displayed before the player begins the race, certain Bonus Challenges requiring 150cc to get all the Grand Stars, and certain (achievement) Challenges requiring high cc to complete.
  • Freemium: The game is free-to-start, but it runs on Microtransactions and has its own monthly subscription program in the form of the Gold Pass. Gold Pass players can get Gold Gifts from races, obtain badges from Gold Challenges, and race in 200cc.
  • Giant Mook: Mega versions of certain characters are some of the unique opponents in the Bonus Challenge. Only applies to "vs. Mega (racer)" challenges.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Gold Mario and his Gold Standard kart are only playable in Coin Rush, the game's take on exchanging premium currency for regular ones. There are also gold Texture Swaps of past karts.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: There are loads of drivers, karts, and gliders, with more coming every Tour update, so get collecting!
  • Halloween Episode: Near the end of October, of course. Unlike the other Tours so far, this Tour is not themed after a particular real-life country/city. The debut of this Tour in October 2019 also marks the debut of Luigi in this game.
  • Invisible Wall: See Anti-Frustration Features above. As this is a very casual Mario Kart game, no need to worry about falling off too easily on certain tracks like Rainbow Road.
  • Level Grinding: Player level. The player is free to do this as often as they like. Justified, as higher player levels will unlock more features and raise more points obtained from crossing the finish line.
  • Loading Screen: When the game was booted for the first time, as expected for modern smartphone games, there will be some additional data downloads after the tutorial. The player can either wait in its own loading screen or practice the game's controls as Toad/Toadette. The same also applies whenever a major update occurs.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Seems to be heading this way, considering the game's gacha nature. Also helps that alternate skins like the Musician and Hakama variations of Mario count as separate characters.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Loads of them, as expected for a gacha game. Spotlight events only last around 10 days while the player is faced with 100 possible items per Spotlight event, certain Challenges rely on luck to clear, and then there are the classic Mario Kart luck-based shenanigans like the items and the opponents the player is facing thanks to the use of Special items. Even scoring is luck-based depending on the various circumstances during the race.
  • Microtransactions: The game's business model.
  • No-Damage Run: To get all three Grand Stars in a "Steer Clear of Obstacles" challenges, the player pretty much has to invoke this.
  • Nostalgia Level: The game features tracks from previous Mario Kart games, specifically from Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Kart DS, and Mario Kart 7. The "R" variant of these tracks makes the player race the track backwards, with additional track structures as to make them playable, while the "T" variant add more ramps, allowing easy boosts and chaining combos.
  • Pass Through the Rings: One of the Bonus Challenge types is called "Ring Race". The player has to drive through as many rings as they can, with a certain minimum number required to obtain one Grand Star.
  • Play Every Day: Players can get daily rewards and the in-game shop's items rotate daily. The player can also complete Daily Challenges for some extra Grand Stars.
  • Random Drop: The gacha system, but with a twist. Whenever a new Spotlight begins, the gacha's Pipe will always start out with a finite number of 100 items, guaranteeing the player everything offered if they have enough rubies to pull them all. However, obtaining character duplicates is helpful in raising a character's Skill Level, so to aid in this, the gacha's pool can be reset by the player to have another go.
  • Refitted for Sequel: The "R" tracks were originally the planned Reverse Cup mechanic from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
  • Rule of Three: Drivers with the best track match will be able to obtain three items per Item Box. If all three are the same item, this activates Frenzy Mode that renders the driver invincible and allows him/her to easily spam said items.
  • Scoring Points: The whole point of the game. Simply getting first place is not enough, as score is also determined from driver-kart-glider combo and actions performed (tricks, gliding, items, etc.).
  • Squashed Flat: While a normal occurrence in Mario Kart games, squashing as many tiny racers as the player can is one of the Bonus Challenges that can be encountered.
  • Texture Swap: While normal for the starting Pipe Frame and Super Glider as their coloring matches the driver, other karts with alternate colors count as individual karts (so the Blue Biddybuggy is separate from the default red Biddybuggy), having their own point level and Skill Level progression and even their own track preferences. Some karts even have new recolors that are introduced to this game for the first time, like the Warship (a darker-themed Landship).
  • This Looks Like a Job For Aquaman: The Gyro Handling (if the player's device supports it) shines better in Glider Challenges due to how much easier it is to control the gliding driver with it compared to touch controls. It is otherwise not really reliable due to its high sensitivity.
  • Time Trial: One of the Bonus Challenges. Beating the fastest time set by the game allows the player to claim all three Grand Stars.
  • Timed Mission: Every Tour event. To obtain all the offered rewards, the player has to race in all Cups and claim all the rewards between them. A Spotlight is also limited by time. Meanwhile, Ranked Cups last a week, so players have to compete for the highest score in the designated Cup before the week ends.
  • Wacky Racing: As expected for a Mario Kart title.