Nintendo today kicked off the beta for its mobile game Mario Kart Tour, limited to Android in Japan and the United States. Thanks to players starting to get their hands on the game, we now have a video and a few screenshots of Mario Kart Tour that provide a good idea of what you can expect from the mobile version of Mario Kart (via iGeneration).
Like the console versions of the franchise, Mario Kart Tour is a kart racer set in the Mushroom Kingdom, tasking players with surpassing their rivals by using drifts and items to gain an edge. Mario Kart Tour appears to use the same single-handed control scheme as Super Mario Run, allowing players to swipe with their thumb to control their karts (or choose motion controls), while the kart accelerates on its own.
Tracks are taken from previous iterations of Mario Kart, including the original Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and Mario Kart 7. There are Grand Prix cups as well that contain a collection of tracks to race through, but each track only includes two laps (instead of the typical three lap structure of most Mario Kart races).
The game’s default controls automatically cause karts to drift around corners, but anyone wanting more of a challenge can turn on manual mode. There are four levels of difficulty (50cc, 100cc, 150cc, and 200cc) and the same soundtrack used in previous games in the franchise.
In screenshots, many of the expected Mario characters can also be seen as playable: Luigi, Toad, Shy Guy, Waluigi, Peach, Toadette, and more. According to some beta testers, character unlocks will be the big in-app purchase for the game, with some drivers considered “rare” and coming with advantages during races like having unique items and track-specific bonuses.
Looks like Mario Kart Tour beta is pretty hardcore with regards to monetization.
Multi-level gacha for drivers, karts and gliders.
Rare drivers have advantages during races.
Stamina system limits races available on an hourly basis.
(Subject to change, this is a beta.)
— Dr. Serkan Toto 🔜 E3 2019 (@serkantoto) May 22, 2019
This is similar to other Nintendo mobile games, allowing players to download the game for free but encouraging in-app purchases to boost gameplay. Players in the beta can’t buy anything at this time, however, so it’s unclear what exactly will be for purchase when the final game launches.
As Mario Kart Tour gears up for a launch later in the summer, Nintendo has faced some issues for its current mobile titles in Belgium (via The Verge). Due to Belgium’s recent laws that categorize video game loot boxes as gambling, Nintendo is shutting down Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes in Belgium effective August 27, 2019.
After that date it will be impossible to play and download these games in the country, and in the future any Nintendo games with similar earnings models will not be released in Belgium. The controversy over loot boxes in gaming has been escalating over the past few years, and given the worldwide success of Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo’s decision to shut down the game completely in the country proves how big of an issue this is for Nintendo.
For Mario Kart Tour, the beta will last through June 4 on Android. The final release date for the game on iOS and Android will be sometime this summer.