Mario Kart Tour
Mario Kart Tour is a racing game and an entry in the Mario Kart series for iOS and Android, developed and published by Nintendo on September 25, 2019.
Why It Sucks
- The game's monetization system is very egregious much like Dr. Mario World, even for a mobile game and especially Nintendo standards with an insulting inclusion of loot boxes.
- Rubies, the game's main currency, take too long to obtain. You cannot use them to buy characters, karts, or gliders. Instead, the only thing you can buy with them is pipes, which randomly unlocks one of the three aforementioned things.
- To make matters a lot worse, there's a very high chance of getting something you already have, to the point that you'll only get something new once in a blue moon.
- 200cc and many parts of the game are locked behind a $4.99 a month "Gold Pass", which is incredibly lacking. Yes, this is actually more expensive than the $4 one-month Nintendo Switch Online membership and the same price as Apple Arcade, both of which have a lot more features than this Gold Pass.
- Trying to steer with a touchscreen device is very clunky and awkward.
- Drifting is automatic by default, which means that you'll always drift when you turn, even if you don't need to drift.
- You only start as Toad or Toadette (or in extremely rare cases, Peachette; you will also gain either Peach or Bowser after the tutorial.) The rest of the characters are locked through the loot box system and the chances to get those characters are very low. And yes, this includes Mario and Luigi themselves.
- To add insult-to-injury, some characters are locked behind overpriced paywalls, with the most infamous example being Diddy Kong, who can cost about $40, which is almost as much as a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Though, the microtransactions in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes aren't that major.
- Lack of other vehicles from the previous games like bikes and ATV's.
- Wheel customization is also missing.
- You are normally unable to drive off road, something of which you can do in every other Mario Kart game. This takes away some challenges as a result because driving off the road would normally slow down your kart. The only way to end up driving off the road is by getting hit by an item while in mid-air or getting unlucky with gliding while in a Bubble.
- This, along with the fact that you automatically accelerate, makes it possible to win races by doing absolutely nothing.
- Like with most free-to-play titles, it has always-online DRM, so an internet connection is required to play the game. While a good idea, you'll race against CPUs most of the time, similar to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Plants vs. Zombies 2's Battlez mode, making the point of always needing to be online feel redundant here.
- With that said, you can't pause normally during a race. Fortunately, it works by bringing either the notification center or the control center if you're playing on iOS.
- One of the two leading characters of the Mario franchise, Luigi, wasn't added into the game until October 23, 2019, which was nearly a month after it was released (due to attempting to release him in time for Luigi's Mansion 3). To make matters worse, Luigi was in the title screen before he was even in the game.
- The beta version of the game had a stamina system, forcing players to complete tasks and level up quickly or they will be unable to play for a while unless they pay for more stamina. Fortunately, it was removed in the final release.
- However, there is a daily cap on how many coins a player can get each day, acting very similar to it.
- There are no tracks from Mario Kart 8.
- For some reason, there are no losing animations for getting 5th or below, even though you lose experience if you get 5th or below. This makes the characters look like they're okay with losing rewards.
- The Coin item is still in the game. While it could be acceptable if it is only collected on the track, you still gain them from item boxes. Making this worse is that coins here do not have any effect on the kart's speed, so getting a Coin in an item box is a complete dud. Speaking of which, while you usually only get around 10-20 coins per race (and can only get 300 coins maximum a day via races and 100 more via waiting for online races), the cost of items in the shop range to at least 50 coins to 12,000 coins. In the tier shop, the price of items can range from 500-800 coins to as high as 20,000 coins. At one point, ex pipe locked items from the daily shop could go as high as 30,000 coins for Pauline.
- Speaking of items, the Triple Red Shell and Golden Mushroom, the former of which has been in every main series Mario Kart game since Mario Kart 64 while the latter was absent from Mario Kart: Super Circuit, are absent. While it's understandable to not have them due to the game having Frenzy mode, it's still a disappointment nonetheless. Not to mention that the Feather and Boo, which both returned in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, are also absent, as well as other items such as the Piranha Plant, Poison Mushroom, Super Leaf, and POW Block, which are only seen in Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 7, and Mario Kart Wii respectively.
- Some characters even have the same special items as others. Speaking of which, why do the Triple Green Shell, Triple Banana, Triple Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Boomerang Flower fall into this category? Those are items that everyone should be able to use.
- The Mega Mushroom has been severely nerfed in this game. Getting hit by any item will return the player to normal size, making this version of the item far inferior to its Mario Kart Wii counterpart. Not to mention that the Mega Mushroom user doesn't get any speed boost or off-road advantages.
- The Bubble, a new item in this game, is considered to be one of the worst items in the game, as it is a highly inferior Bullet Bill that has a very small speed boost and breaks in one hit, but the player cannot use any additional items in it, making it more hindering most of the time. Alongside, the player has almost no control while in the Bubble, and gliding with the Bubble is prone to be buggy and often get you out of bounds. The Chain Chomp from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, an item that is not in the game, is a far better item than the Bubble, despite it also being an inferior Bullet Bill.
- Similarly, the Banana Barrel, Mushroom Cannon, and Dash Ring are also nuisances to use, as the first item can straight up hurt the player like the Thunder Cloud from Mario Kart Wii does, while the last two can help the user's rivals like the Yoshi Egg does. Not to mention the Coin Box is a complete waste of an item slot.
- Even more clone characters in the form of characters like Musician Mario, Black Shy Guy, and Peachette. While most of them are not as insultingly bad as clones like Tanooki Mario, Baby Rosalina, and Pink Gold Peach (the first of whom is not in the game, but the last two are), they all still only serve as either roster fillers or seasonal characters.
- Besides in the first three tours (and the Holiday Tour), only clone characters have been added rather than characters such as Funky Kong (Who was just added in the Jungle Tour), Petey Piranha, Paratroopa, etc. who haven't appeared for multiple games or characters who haven't appeared in a Mario Kart title, but have potential, such as Nabbit (who was later added in the Wild West Tour) or Hammer Bro (who was later added in the Hammer Bro Tour).
- Virtually every update adds at least one new clone character. Speaking of which, Nintendo had the guts to completely recolor characters like Birdo, Yoshi, and Shy Guy and attempt to pass those off as additional characters. What's worse is that they share the same animations, sounds, and artwork.
- Even some of the clone characters have clone characters. The game added in characters like Cherub Baby Peach and Detective Baby Rosalina.
- In recent times, they even tried to pass off gold counterparts of some of the characters, karts and gliders in the game's roster. Examples include Gold Dry Bowser, Gold Clanky Kart, Gold Swooper, Gold King Boo, and Gold Shy Guy.
- You have to wait a while to get cups, which can range from 1-3 days unless you use a quick ticket.
- Prior to July 21, 2020, you could only play the game in portrait mode and with swipe gestures for steering. This is unacceptable for a mobile racing game, so don't expect to play it with a controller.
- The AI rubberbanding in this game is at its worst in the series. Getting hit just once in a race is often good enough to go from 1st to 8th and be at a point where the player will never catch up (compare to other games, where getting hit will often make the player lose a place or two instead of going instantly to last). The rubberbanding is most notable starting with the Mario Bros. Tour.
- There are no My Nintendo points to earn, making this app pointless for those that want them.
- Multiplayer support is about as bad as the multiplayer in Kirby Battle Royale:
- There tends to be a lot of problems when attempting to find a match. It can take dozens of communication errors before one gets into a match. Even then, starting a match can take a long time.
- Too many lag and connection issues; it is extremely easy to get disconnected. Especially, it can be easy to get into a "1 player race" and then shortly disconnect afterwards. Due to the lag, items you apparently hit on someone might not slow them down, and you may spin out for no reason.
- Multiplayer is ironically more luck-based than skill based at times because of lag as mentioned above, and due to the randomness of item boxes not being consistent. Often times, you may still get items you normally get in 1st place when you are in 6th place or below.
- Tracks are only selected from a cup of the running tour in order and are only rotated every 15 minutes.
- In the multiplayer beta, private lobbies lacked any customization options, so it's just the same as playing on quickplay with only members you choose to join.
- In the multiplayer beta, the player didn't get any rewards for a multiplayer match. A tier-ranking system was added on the final release, and the player can get rewards and experience, but disconnections do affect experience, so getting disconnected multiple times can result in losing lots of experience. You can even lose experience if you disconnect before the race even starts, which combined with the above lag and server problems, makes it very hard to rank up even with a strong internet connection.
- Even though there are rulesets that can force less than 3 item slots, it didn't make players pick a variety of characters on races, meaning that you can often see players use the same character on races. During races with 3 slots allowed, like most pay to win games, the real winner is the player who uses a character with 3 item slots, and thus will have an advantage over players who is only restricted to 1 item slot characters. On most maps, the only way to get 3 slot characters is to have a High End character on hand.
- As time would go on, the final scores to aim for on the first cup would become ridiculously high. In fact, it would get so high to the point where it just becomes unfair. It's understandable to keep it at maybe 1000 or maybe 1500 points in order to achieve a Grand Star, but how would you expect newcomers to achieve 7300 points on their first race? Fortunately, the final score limit was reverted due to negative feedback from players.
- The Baby Rosalina Tour. At this point, many fans have thought Nintendo ran out of ideas. While it can be excusable as majority of the tours starting from this point are considered "emergency tours", this led to many gamers questioning how the developer team didn't create the full tours in advance.
- Pauline and Hammer Bro. (who was originally intended to be playable for Mario Kart Wii) make their first playable debut in the Mario Kart franchise. Monty Mole (Until he became fully playable since the Wild West Tour), Dixie Kong, Nabbit, and King Bob-omb are also playable for a limited time.
- Despite having the clone characters as filling empty character slots The game arguably has the best roster in the Maio Kart series, (maybe even the best roster the whole Mario Franchise).
- The item balance is once again based on position rather than distance, due to criticism with Mario Kart 8's item balance.
- Some great items return here, such as Bowser's Shell and the Mega Mushroom, despite the latter being nerfed.
- It's also nice to see the Ice Flower as a new item.
- The Fake Item Box and Thunder Cloud aren't in the game, because the former is just a Banana that doesn't block items and looks nothing like a regular Item Box, and the latter just straight up hurts the user if they don't give it to another racer.
- Good graphics for a mobile game.
- Mission mode returns ever since Mario Kart Wii's tournament mode.
- Most of the aforementioned characters were added in future updates.
- At least the microtransactions aren't as extreme as the ones in CSR Racing 2 or Asphalt 8: Airborne (after Vivendi's hostile takeover of Gameloft) and doesn't restrict the grinding heavily unlike Dr. Mario World and Team Kirby Clash Deluxe.
- Diddy Kong, Birdo and Funky Kong (Who is also playable for a limited time) finally return since Mario Kart Wii.
- The Winter Tour updated added the option to steer without drifting.
- Multiplayer mode at least encourages victory over position instead of over points.
- The music is great (especially Vancourver Velocity, and Berlin Byways).
- As of July 21, 2020, Landscape mode has been added into the game.
- The tracks that make their debut in this game are fun to play through.
- At least, the game is more rewarding in recent times.
Mario Kart Tour was met with mostly mixed reception from critics and mostly negative reception from gamers. It is one of the lowest rated Mario games on Metacritic, as the game has a critic score of 58/100, and a user score of 3.8/10. Many consider it to be the worst Mario Kart game to date.
The Completionist listed the game, along with the other Nintendo mobile games released in 2019 as number three in his "Top 10 Worst Video Games of 2019" video. WatchMojo similarly featured the game on their list as number eight.
Despite the game's pitiful reception, Mario Kart Tour won the "Racing Game of the Year" award at the 2020 DICE Awards, beating out Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled.