Mario Kart Tour: A waste of time and money

Mario Kart Tour might be the laziest way a AAA game publisher has ever tried to squeeze as much money from its consumers as possible. Household name developer Nintendo has made a plethora of successful mobile games resulting in events like the Pokemon Go craze in 2016. However, Mario Kart Tour is a cheap excuse of a game for such a successful company.

When it comes to the Mario franchise, Nintendo apps have a track record of producing half-baked time wasters. These apps only exist to profit from their consumers as much as they can before buyers get wise and stop supporting their garbage app — at which time Nintendo will unceremoniously drop it. My main issue with Mario Kart Tour is its sub-par gameplay partnered with its downright aggressive monetization.

I consider myself a bit of a gamer; I like all types of video games and truly believe that there are masterpieces across all gaming platforms. I say this because there is such a thing as a truly good app and Mario Kart Tour is not that. It quite frankly isn’t worth your time and there are better things to play with friends. Each race feels the same, since your cart accelerates on its own. The tracking of your character seems to never let you go out of bounds, making it very hard to make any sort of mistake whatsoever; not helping that fact is that the cart constantly feels as if you have some sort of speed boost over the other bots causing you to never lose a game. Mario Kart Tour feels less like a finished app and more like one long unskippable cutscene that asks you for $5 after it’s finished.

Part of the fun and allure of Mario Kart is getting the edge on your opponent with skillful use of items, drifting, and a little bit of randomness. Mario Kart Tour, on the other hand, feels like the end screen in Mario Kart 8 with the player having no control over the character, except for this time it’s loaded to the brim with egregious microtransactions.

In early September 2018, Nintendo released Nintendo Online, a selection of 20 classic NES games for a relatively low price of $20 a year. Paying for Mario Kart Tour’s $4.99 a month Gold Pass for a year will cost you $59.88. Nintendo locked its 200cc or “hard” mode behind a $4.99 paywall as well as an aggressive loot box mechanic to roll for new karts, characters, and gliders. On top of all of this, the game doesn’t have any multiplayer, yet the bots are programmed with human-sounding names like “Wilson95” or “Jake28.” Why is this a bad thing? some may ask. Disregarding the fact that it’s a Mario Kart game without multiplayer which should be self-explanatory, I have experienced first hand why they give the bots human names. I was explaining to my sister why she was wrong for supporting the game when all of a sudden she stopped me. She had won a match, finishing in 1st place. She was thrilled, but once I explained to her that Mario Kart Tour isn’t an online game she grew visibly sad. She looked at her phone and pointed to the screen, saying something to the effect of, “The other racers have people names, so they can’t be computers.” I couldn’t bring myself to further explain that the illusion of competition was exactly what Nintendo wanted her to experience, to think that she was doing well against real people so she could be more inclined to spend money on the app, so I let my twin be blissfully unaware of her hollow accomplishment, because that’s what Nintendo wanted her to think.

It all funnels back to money. They either coax you to spend money because you aren’t doing well — or because you are.

To be blunt, the app isn’t worth your time; it probably wasn’t worth the time it took to write this article as it’s just a bad app with good names attached to it. Mario Kart Tour feels like a movie tie-in game except there is no movie and the only tie in is the money and time I lost playing the game.