With over 10 million first day downloads and a 4.8 star rating on the App Store, it is safe to say that Mario Kart Tour is a hit. Many are satisfied with the simple controls and well-designed graphics, while others are upset about the excessive microtransactions and lack of online competition.
In the game, Nintendo introduced a new concept called “Tours,” where individuals go through a set of three races and one challenge to gather stars and improve their player level. The only hint of online play is a friends ranking list designed for a specific Tour that players can participate in until they are satisfied. However, this is still an individual process, explaining why consumer ratings are so mixed as people gripe for improvements. Based on nineteen critic reviews, Metacritic gave the game a score of 58 out of 100.
Players can purchase in-game currency or the Gold Pass, which gives access to faster 200 CC races and a number of helpful items and customizations. The app also offers various deals and bundles for specific characters or carts, which tend to provide a nice bonus.
“Purchases limit the players’ experience,” said Andrew Song, an avid Mario Kart Tour player and Early College student.
Many other users have expressed similar stances. However, this displeasure is not hurting profits at all. According to SensorTower, an analytics website for apps and games, Nintendo made an astounding $12.7 million profit within the first week alone, with almost 75% coming from iOS users.
Some players actually encourage these purchases because Nintendo can use funds to upgrade the quality and content of Mario Kart Tour while also providing incentive to make future games.
“The money lets Nintendo improve and hopefully helps their multiplayer,” said Caden Alford, an Early College junior.
As of now, Mario Kart Tour is a single-player game where users are pitted head-to-head with AI that are given real player names. This caused many people to initially believe it was a multiplayer game. While players can still add friends through their Nintendo ID, this is merely a way for players to compare scores for the New York Tour Toad Cup, and for the app to store additional player names that can be used by AI in other races.
Nintendo has announced plans for a multiplayer feature to be added to the game in the future. However, no timeframe has been established for the update so users will just have to wait and hope for the best.
Despite what some critics have to say about Mario Kart Tour, it possesses a bright future that will likely still have in-app purchases and the addition of a multiplayer function. Although the game has only been on the market for ten days, it has shattered multiple Nintendo records and claimed the first day downloads record, beating out popular games like Pokémon Go and Clash Royale. This unusually high amount of success for a mobile game will not only help garner support and updates for Mario Kart Tour, but may provide Nintendo with some incentive to branch outside mobile phones and their own consoles to reach other platforms.
Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 2 of The Guilfordian on Oct. 11 2019.