The free-to-play mobile Mario Kart Tour launches today, letting you lob red shells on the go. But while it is free, it carries a fair number of microtransactions, including a subscription that locks away one of Mario Kart's racing speed categories.
The Gold Pass for Mario Kart Tour costs $4.99 a month, and alongside some special karts and other rewards, it unlocks access to 200cc speed races. This is, as far as we can tell, the only gameplay mode behind a paywall, as the rest of the race categories are available regardless of investment.
Players seem generally unhappy with the gacha-style monetization scheme that's become standard for Nintendo's mobile games, including Fire Emblem Heroes and Dr. Mario World, but the 200cc category being paywalled off seems especially troublesome. Even though in my experience, 150cc is the common go-to, having a whole subset of race options in a sub pass is disappointing.
Other Nintendo mobile games like Dr. Mario World have been experimenting with different mobile monetization schemes like time meters, but it's not clear whether it's been effective. Fire Emblem Heroes still seems to be leading the pack for Nintendo, while The Pokemon Company is two-for-two with Pokemon Go and Pokemon Masters.
But with Apple Arcade changing the way we think about pricing a game, you have to wonder if Mario Kart Tour missed the mark in implementing a subscription service. It looks like if you want to go fast-200cc fast-you'll have to pick up the Gold Pass.