Mario Kart Tour is the latest smartphone game announced by Nintendo. Following in the footsteps of Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, Mario Kart Tour will be a take on the existing franchise but built with the mobile platform in mind. Details are rather thin on the ground at the moment, but we do have info on the Mario Kart Tour release date, plus some thoughts on how the game itself will shape up.
Mario Kart Tour Release Date
Nintendo announced Mario Kart Tour, its smartphone app entry in the multi-million selling Mario Kart series, on January 31, 2018. While no firm Mario Kart Tour release date was given, Nintendo did reveal that the game will release before the end of March, 2019. Hopefully we won't have to wait until March, 2019, but we'll bring you news on a firm release window when Nintendo provides more details.
What Kind of Game Will Mario Kart Tour be?
Nintendo has said absolutely nothing about the game that Mario Kart Tour will be, but based on what the company has done with its other mobile games, we can make a few educated guesses.
The first question that needs to be answered about Mario Kart Tour is whether or not it is free-to-play or a premium purchase. Nintendo has previously dabbled with both: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes are free-to-play, while Super Mario Run is a premium game (although has a free to download trial). This choice will likely have a big impact on what Mario Kart Tour is.
Nintendo actually likes to call its free-to-play titles, like Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes, Free-to-Start games. According to Takashi Mochizuki, tech reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Mario Kart Tour will be Free-to-Start.
A free-to-play/free-to-start Mario Kart game will likely include numerous ways to spend real world money in order to make progress easier or to unlock new content. This could come in the form of spending cash on kart parts (building karts has been a part of the series for some time), characters, character customization items, and more. Locking tracks behind a paywall might not make great sense as it would discourage players from sticking with the game. A premium purchase app model for Mario Kart Tour would likely offer similar items to unlock, but getting them through general play would be far easier and require less grinding.
Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp are both stripped down, simplified versions of their console/handheld cousins, so the same is expected of Mario Kart Tour. Making their games control well on mobile is a high priority for Nintendo, so the firm might not be keen on a traditional touchscreen-controlled racing game. It may be that Nintendo goes down the Super Mario Run route, perhaps making the races on-rails (maybe something like Temple Run but with karts) or offering steering/weapon controls but with a simplified system for acceleration/breaking.
What Characters are in Mario Kart Tour?
Nintendo has a large roster of characters it can use in Mario Kart Tour, and we expect the roster will be largely similar to the line-up used in recent mainline Mario Kart entries. We'd be surprised if you don't get to play as Mario, Toad, Luigi, Peach, Wario, DK, Daisy, Bowser, and a number of others. It wouldn't be surprising to see a Mii-like character creation option, too.
With Mario Kart Tour probably not releasing for quite some time, we'll update this page with more details when Nintendo shares more info.