A Review of “Mario Kart Tour”


Photo by Anthony Ashley on Pixabay.

Olivia Janicek, CEO

Early this morning, a new game graced the home screens of millions of phones. However, this game didn’t arrive from just anywhere. Its origins date back to the early days of our childhood. The days where we spent hours memorizing raceways and gathering characters. We attacked new courses with feverish excitement as we challenged our friends to merciless races. We would drive for hours, hankering for the triumphant “First Place”. As we aged, our memories and passions for the colorful racing game of “Mario Kart” never faded. Now, the game’s been re-birthed, as a mobile app.

Yet does Nintendo‘s long-awaited revival of “Mario Kart” measure up to the original?

In short… no. But it’s still a good mobile game.

I’ve been playing for a couple hours and I’m intrigued. Though not exactly the same, the game still captures the essence of the original “Mario Kart”. Races are visually stunning, artistically crafted with the familiar lively design and cartoon-esque worlds. Though, the courses are new, potentially placing earlier players (those who memorized the courses) at a disadvantage. Most of the characters are the same (aside from a few new faces).

The most interesting piece of the game’s evolution reserves itself to the game’s controls. When I opened the app for the first time, I found myself questioning how the original controls (of Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Switch, etc) would translate to a cell-phone. Would they be too complex? How would the interface adequately capture the same ‘feel’ of driving in “Mario Kart”? Though I’m not too fond of it, the steering on the app is quite simple. One simply presses their finger on the screen, and slides left or right to control the direction of their vehicle. It only takes a tap to launch items too. The controls are okay, yet lack a certain sense of fluidity. Hence, the reason I find myself missing the original steering technique where one would simply turn a remote or a controller to drive. I question why the game developers didn’t pursue a similar design. The interface could’ve been adjusted for the game to be played horizontally, allowing for a steering method comparable to the original. Currently, one plays the app vertically. It does feel more more accessible, more mobile as a vertically oriented application. However, at the beauty of convenience arrives a substantial cost: the game feels far less like the “Mario Kart” we all know and love.

Yet my distaste for the steering does not match my distaste for another feature- or lack thereof- of the app. The app does not have a multiplayer function (for now). I love the original “Mario Kart” for the competitive kinship it invokes. I can recount many summer afternoons spent racing my friends, laughing as we campaigned against one and other. I couldn’t wait to achieve the game’s closeness through the ease and accessibility of an app on my cell-phone. Yet as I logged in, I discovered something horrific. I tried to click on “multiplayer” (located on the game’s home screen) and was met with a notice. Multiplayer would arrive later in a future update. It gave no date specification. I audibly gasped. A massive portion of “Mario Kart”‘s success retains to its ability to spark convivial rivalries among friends. However in-game, one cannot connect with specific friends to challenge them in races. It’s mildly depressing, and deprives the app of the game’s social essence.

Yet even despite my complaints about the game’s functionality, I’d still advise others to download it. Why? It’s free (with optional in-app purchases available). Though I’m still exploring the app further, I find the game to be entertaining, funky, and easy to access. It’s not the original, yet it is a pleasant mobile adaptation. Viewed at face value, it’s pretty fun. Yet with further review, there’s definitely room for improvement. The steering needs some updating and it needs to add its most valuable feature: multiplayer gameplay. But, no one quite knows when the update is set to arrive.

“Mario Kart Tour” by Nintendo is now available for IOS and Android. 

NOTE: Upon further research, you can ‘add friends’ on “Mario Kart Tour”, yet you cannot compete against them.