The Bashening, Honest Review: ‘Mario Kart Tour’

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The Bashening, Honest Review: ‘Mario Kart Tour’

Ray Gill, Student Writer

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“Mario Kart” is a game well-known and beloved. Anyone may remember running over to their friend’s house to compete with each other for first place in the game. With the increased success from console-to-console with each new generation, the recent rendition for the mobile was highly anticipated from Nintendo. Unfortunately, this version seems to have fallen short.

Courtesy of Flicker
“Mario Kart Tour” falls short in its anticipation.

Anticipation Killer  

For anyone who doesn’t know, “Mario Kart” is a racing game that takes you to different tracks while playing a variety of characters from the “Mario” universe. Over the years, the game has evolved from simple aesthetics of driving a kart around a track to more strategic drivers with power ups, track obstacles, and variations in karts. Karts are based on their driver, and more recently, its car parts. So, it should be assumed that any new release would bring about new advances. The issue is, with almost any mobile game, you will see a decrease in features because of a phone’s processing ability which is lower compared to most gaming consoles depending upon its generation. 

Keeping this in mind, some differences in the game would not be too much of an issue as long as the base game is generally the same. The developers of the mobile “Mario Kart,” apparently, never took more than a passing glance at the game’s precursors since it barely resembles anything about a “Mario Kart” game. 

 

What Hasn’t Changed

“Mario Kart” had always attained an absolute stylistic beauty. Even though, the game doesn’t necessarily have cutting edge or realistic graphics, it has its own art style which easily stands out among the crowd. With this new mobile version, it had kept this style in everything down to user menus. Characters still look and act the same as those in recent versions of the game. These are to be expected. Anything less would lead to outrage from fans. 

Monetization systems in games are a common aspect these days. Luckily, these were limited in the new “Mario Kart” to in-game skins that do not directly affect a characters’ playability. What is upsetting about the game is it entirety.

 

Looks and Feels Like “Mario Kart,” Doesn’t Play Like it

“Mario Kart Tour” is the name of this game — and as the name alludes to — is that it is only about tour racing. The game is bluntly, a tier based racing system. You only need to finish the last section with a certain amount of points in order to continue on to the next section. Though this system is common in many racing games, the problem is that it is the only gameplay option. 

As stated earlier, nostalgia lies in picking up a controller while racing friends to victory. In this version, this is not an option. “Mario Kart Tour” fails to offer any local racing, practice runs or single player versus computer racing that are prominent in the “Mario Kart” franchise. Every time you jump into a racing “tour,” you can only play against random players worldwide. The fact that the game doesn’t base race participants off of skill is the issue with the randomization. Those who are most available for a track on a specific tour will be chosen to race. This means that you could pick up the game for the first time and be playing against someone who has already mastered each and every track.

 

Lack of Reasonable Controls

A built-in tutorial system would easily combat the randomization failure, but this also isn’t a failure in itself. When you first launch the game, you are pulled into a welcome screen which  shows mechanics and game controls. Normally, “Mario Kart” players know how to drive normally while drifting around tight corners. In “Mario Kart Tour,” however, you can only choose one or the other. There is no sense in not implementing a way for toggling drift. To add onto the poor production of the game, those who prefer inverted controls are not even given the option. To some, any driving game played with inverted controls are a must since many individuals’ brains process movement of the characters and karts in an opposing fashion.

Another annoyance comes with the failure in allowing rotation of the screen. Most mobile games are played in landscape position. “Mario Kart” is usually played with several players sharing a screen. So the limitation to portrait mode makes utterly no sense. This is not the “Mario Kart” we know.

 

Verdict 2/5

Most have been excited for a mobile kart racer which “Mario Kart Tour” was supposed to be the answer. The game was beautiful with a familiar art style, but that is all that is reminiscent of the “Mario Kart” series. “Mario Kart Tour” has a lot of potential and almost met the community expectations. Key gameplay mechanics cannot even keep those playing for the nostalgia stay. All we can hope is that Nintendo notes these mistakes and repairs them in order to make a great mobile game before it becomes the new “Duke Nukem Forever.”

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