What you need to know:
- Mario Kart Tour is the first entry in the series to appear on mobile devices.
- The game sparked controversy due to its randomized paid “gacha” mechanic, where players could pay in premium currency to acquire drivers and kart parts.
- Nintendo recently announced changes to the game, several years after its launch.
Mario Kart Tour, on paper, sounds like the dream — it’s the classic chaotic multiplayer experience of Mario Kart on a convenient mobile device. However, being free-to-play meant that it aimed to earn money through microtransactions in the form of loot boxes.
Players could use the premium currency, Rubies, to use a green pipe à la Mario Bros., and pull it down to make a new item shoot out. This item could be a random kart racer or random kart parts, emulating the “gacha” mechanic popularized by gachapon machines.
The random nature meant that players could inadvertently earn duplicates, which meant that getting your favorite racer could get quite expensive. The game features time-sensitive seasons as well, with unique limited characters that could be gone forever if players weren’t lucky enough to pull them. Gacha games are often magnets for controversy, and Nintendo’s otherwise player-friendly attitude seemed to clash with the money-hungry mechanics in the mobile version of one of their most popular franchises.
Nintendo recently announced via the official Mario Kart Tour Twitter account that significant changes are coming to the game, encouraging players to check their in-game notifications:
Here’s a peek at #MarioKartTour’s update coming late September! Battle mode will be added, along with a Spotlight Shop, where you can exchange rubies for drivers, karts, and gliders! Also, pipes you can fire by using rubies will be removed. See the notification for details. pic.twitter.com/brsI1tH8YDSeptember 2, 2022
A battle mode is planned for the game, similar to battle modes in mainline console versions of the games, where players try to pop all three balloons carried by other players. Surprisingly enough, Nintendo also announced that the gacha pipes will also be removed, being instead replaced by a shop in which players can spend Rubies to purchase racers and parts directly.
The changes are set to be implemented next month. Mario Kart Tour is available on iOS and Android.