‘Mario Kart Tour’ Misses Mark

Ryan Stewart, Co-Editor-In-Chief

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“Mario Kart” has been a long standing game series from Nintendo, and one that instills nostalgia faster than any other. Recently, Nintendo decided that we needed a more accessible way to experience this timeless series. Enter “Mario Kart Tour.”

With DS-level graphics and a repetitive control scheme that can only be improved with the selection of manual drifting, which quickly gets just as mind-numbing as the auto-drift setting, “Mario Kart Tour” finds itself in a never-ending tunnel of bad game play and grating pay-to-win monotony.

You can only get so far each day without paying to unlock the next levels and it’s impossible to get a high enough score to get all five stars on each race without having the right character, kart and glider for the level.

I did cough up the five dollars to buy the gold pass, and they refunded it shortly after. The small gains you make with the pass are not worth the money, and terribly soured the experience further for me, after already being drained by the mechanics of the game itself.

You can’t see enough of the screen to make informed driving decisions; if you don’t have a character with all three item slots on that map, then you can’t adapt quick enough by substituting the sight-issues with luckier item drops. The “Frenzy” mechanic was simply poor design.

If you’re on a map with a character that has three item slots, you have a chance to pick up three of the same item and activate a mode called “Frenzy,” which gives you invincibility and allows you to use that item for the duration of the Frenzy.

The problem is that this lends an even greater amount of randomness and bad-feelings caused by random number generation, which gets in the way of being able to win through actual skill and not just luck.

“Mario Kart” has always straddled the line between using an appropriate amount of RNG and packing a game with so many luck-based mechanics that playing is the equivalent of tossing some dice in a cup and seeing who rolls the bigger number. And unfortunately for Nintendo, it straddled a lot of important lines on this title.

But it ended up on the wrong side of them.