Mario Kart Tour, the mobile version of Nintendo‘s famous kart racing game is currently in closed beta testing for Android users in the US, and while it seems to speak to the series on a broad level, some are saying its microtransactions are a little too much.
While those taking part in the beta have been told not to post anything from it, they very clearly are. In fact, YouTube is absolutely flooded with footage of the game, as well as opinions from content creators. The general consensus seems to be that Mario Kart Tour is kinda bland and that the microtransactions are there to nickel and dime players.
The game is free-to-play, so in that regard, you have to expect that microtransactions will make up some portion of the game, otherwise Nintendo isn’t making any money from it. A lot of this revolves around gems – Mario Kart Tour’s in-game currency – which can be earned through racing or be purchased directly. These can be used to purchase karts, courses, and other bits and pieces.
Perhaps the biggest gripe, though, is the game’s energy bar. According to players, you use energy when racing, and if it runs out, you’ll need to recharge it with hearts, and if you don’t have any hearts, you’ll either need to wait for them to regenerate or buy them with gems. According to Kotaku, each heart lasts for about 15 minutes, but the writer didn’t run into any cool down periods during his time with the game, so it’s unclear how big a pain in the ass this is going to be.
In terms of gameplay, it seems pretty simple. You can use your finger to control the kart as it accelerates automatically, or you can take advantage of your phone’s accelerometer if you’d like to steer with your entire phone like a weirdo.
You can see some footage from a race below.
Some folks think, overall, that the game is quite boring and even a little lonely. The same Kotaku recount says that while others are often racing around you, it feels more like you’re racing on your own to collect gems and other things used to progress.
It sure sounds as though Nintendo needs to reevaluate where it sets the goalposts in Mario Kart Tour. If the aim is to make money, sure, I guess that gameplay loop is an effective strategy, but it feels strange coming from them. I know it’s par for the course as far as mobile gaming in a broad sense is concerned, but Nintendo always strives to be better than that.
Either way, it’s important to remember that this is a beta and that the company will be paying close attention to fan feedback. I’d wager some changes will be made prior to a full release, so hopefully, that’ll alleviate any of these concerns.
But hey, if you’re just keen on whipping around a course as Toad on the way to work, then I’m sure this will serve you just fine.