The news that Mario Kart Tour broke all download records during the first few days after release are not surprising to anyone who has ever played a Mario Kart game. The racing franchise with Nintendo’s mascot behind the wheel has a kind of universal appeal that most mobile games can only dream of.

Mario Kart Tour is not just another mobile game. It is a free version of one of Nintendo’s most popular series ever. The game also makes a good first impression after a little awkward tampering with the touch controls. It all looks neatly finished and doesn’t just consist of recycled racers and tracks. Diddy Kong, who strangely lacked in Mario Kart 8, and newcomer Pauline are participating this time. There are also quite a few new parts that get inspiration from, among other things, Super Mario Odyssey. In addition, there is a huge selection of vehicles and parts that provide the necessary variation.

Although it seems like there are many options, thats a bit disappointing while racing. Obviously it’s all made a lot simpler.
Falling off the track is not possible and the races themselves are nowhere as chaotic and unpredictable as you might be used to from other Mario Kart games.
The driving itself feels somewhat unnatural in the beginning, because it has to be steared against the right direction. You’ll eventualy get used to that, but it never gets as good as drifting with a controller. Mario Kart Tour therefore comes across as a less tight-playing collection of what the last few Mario Karts managed to make so much fun for everyone.

Mario Kart Tour really shows its true face after the first four races. Quite typical of this type of free mobile games there are several types of currencies that each provide access to specific parts of the game. With the few coins on the track during the races, new characters, karts and kites can be purchased. They are a bit on the expensive side, so you cannot rob the whole store after having driven one whole cup and finishing in first place.

That is because gems are involved, providing access to a special race in which the entire track is covered with coins. However, the same gems can also be used for the loot boxes, or rather, loot tubes that contain unique and exclusive content. The chance that you actually unlock your favorite character in this way is very small. If you want to race Mario yourself, you really have to be patient, because the first few cups will be loaded with the characters below the rankings. To race quickly with the best characters, money must be spend or a considerable amount of time needs to be invested in the game.

Mario Kart Tour does not seem bother with it. The menus of the game are full of reminders to quickly buy extra gems  and a special monthly subscription is even recommended. For the meager price of 5.49 euros per month you get all kinds of bonuses with the Gold Pass, such as the 200cc mode. That offer feels extra stingy because of the slightly earlier launched Apple Arcade. For a few euro cents less you have quality games that do not constantly ask for money.

In addition, the fact that Mario Kart Tour does not always communicate clearly about the situation. The illusion is created that you are racing against other players, but in reality it are bots with the usernames of other drivers. It is nevertheless necessary to have an online connection, otherwise the race cannot be started at all. Real online races against other players are added later.

Because of this setup it is not surprising if you long for the simpler times of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This is therefore not a substitute for what from now on should be called the real Mario Kart. Tour especially cleverly anticipates your collection. The prospect of unlocking every part and every racer depends entirely on draining your wallet, but there’s a good chance that I will keep returning with millions of others. The attraction of Mario Kart is even in its diluted form too large to resist.

Mario Kart Tour is now available for iOS and Android.



– A bit on the simple side
– Feels extremely greedy

+ Exclusive new trail
+ Looks great