Now that Mario Kart Tour—the upcoming mobile version of the Nintendo classic, Mario Kart—has released its beta test to select Android players in Japan, fans are able to get their first look at the game via a thread on ResetERA for testers to discuss their first impressions. Some of the commenters have included screenshots and even video footage of the game, though Nintendo is quickly erasing any trace of the latter from the internet on the grounds of copyright infringement.
Overall, testers have noted the many similarities between Mario Kart Tour and its console predecessors. Players choose their racer, their kart, and their course, then race, per usual. However, a notable difference lies within the actual driving function of the game, as the racer will drive automatically, rather than depend on the player to hold a button down. Now, the player’s main focus is steering, which they do by dragging their finger left and right on the screen.
Some courses that have been confirmed for the mobile game so far include DS Luigi’s Mansion, 3DS Mario Circuit, and SNES Choco Island 2. The character roster is mostly the same, including classic characters like Mario and Luigi, in addition to side characters like Shy Guy and Toadette. However, characters are unlocked via a “gacha” system; rather than earn specific characters from achievements, players will have to save up enough in-game currency (emeralds) to unlock characters at random. Karts and gliders will also be unlocked via this method.
This appears to be connected to monetization in the game, as players can spend real-life money to increase their in-game currency, so they can try to unlock new characters more frequently. Additionally, there will be a stamina-like system that limits how many times players can race per hour, which could also be connected to monetization.
So far, this system has drawn mixed reactions from fans, with Eurogamer calling the monetization “aggressive” and one comment on the ResetERA thread speculating this could be the “first Nintendo mobile hit!”
It’s unclear how much will change in Mario Kart Tour between now and its eventual release, as anything is subject to change as long as it’s in beta testing. Nintendo has been extremely secretive about the game since announcing it in early 2018. The most concrete information we’ve received about the game since then was Nintendo delaying the release to summer 2019 from its initial March 2019 release date.