“Mario Kart” is a staple of many childhoods, so when Nintendo revealed its plans to turn it into an app, there was obviously a lot of hype.
The game has always been simple— get to first place. There are other aspects that make it more interesting, like characters, items and karts, but for the most part the fun of the game rests in the competition.
A concept as simple as this should be easily translated into an app, right?
“Mario Kart Tour” was released on Sept. 25 and has blown up. The hype was fairly short lived, though. After users got their hands on the game, that excitement quickly dissipated.
The game is the same concept as the original. Users choose a character, kart and track and take off, gaining items to use against other players. The mechanics have undergone a massive amount of change in order to make them smartphone compatible, but the essence of the game remains.
The biggest changes come in outside of the races. The app is free to download, meaning in order to make any revenue without overloading the game with ads, there are going to be a ton of paid upgrades. To get players to want to buy these upgrades, there are limitations within the game.
The most immediate limitation is gaining new characters, karts and gliders. In most other Mario Kart games, these are gained through experience. The further you progress, the more you unlock. From there, whatever character you choose is a question of which you like
In “Mario Kart Tour,” some characters are unlocked as you progress through the levels, but most have to be purchased with coins in a “picks-of-the-day” style or rubies, with no choice of which character you receive.
These characters give you certain upgrades in each race and allow you to get more experience, helping you to unlock more races down the line. If you don’t earn enough experience, you can’t progress, and it’s much more difficult without having the correct character for each race.
Another factor in gaining experience is your character’s, kart’s and glider’s upgrade level. After completing a race with each item, it adds a few points to the level of the item, granting you more down the line. This is limited per day, however, so there’s only a certain amount you can boost in one sitting. To get your items to the new level after reaching the limit, you have to purchase tickets.
The app itself isn’t a complete bust, but it’s very obviously designed to put paid upgrades at the center. The concept itself is still addictive, and the nostalgia adds a nice touch.