Despite Nintendo having revealed practically nothing about it, the first mobile Mario Kart game is set to release later this year. Called Mario Kart Tour, it will bring the series’ unique brand of racing to mobile devices. It has a chance to not only broaden the reach of one of Nintendo’s marquee series, but also to give Nintendo the freedom to experiment more as expectations won’t be as high as a brand new console entry. With that in mind, check out the eight Mario Kart Tour features we want to see when it releases later this year.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – A focus on motion controls
The worst thing Mario Kart Tour could be is a watered down version of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. There would be simply no reason to play it if it was bested in all elements by its console brethren, so it’s important to make it play and feel differently while still retaining the core Mario Kart gameplay that has made the series such a huge success for Nintendo.
By focusing on motion controls, which has already been an option for the games since Mario Kart Wii, they would not only free up players’ thumbs to use items, but it would also feel distinctly different from using an analog stick to steer. Some might complain, but motion controls are natural for racing games on mobile, and there are plenty of other titles that have made this the norm on the platform.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – More crossover characters
Mario Kart 8 started a cool trend with its downloadable content by adding in characters from other Nintendo properties such as The Legend of Zelda‘s Link and Isabelle from Animal Crossing. Tour should double down on the crossover cast. Not only would it be a great way for Nintendo to advertise their current crop of Nintendo Switch titles, but it could also be used as an incentive for players to unlock new characters.
Who wouldn’t want to pilot a special kart that looks like an Arwing with Fox McCloud or have Captain Falcon drive a miniature Blue Falcon? There are plenty of cool possibilities here and it’s about time that Nintendo took the series down the Super Smash Bros. route of celebrating the company as a whole rather than just one series.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – Car customization akin to the canceled Mario Motors
Seaman creator Yoot Saito is known for his rather unique idea for gaming and his take on a Mario racing game was rather interesting. Called Mario Motors, this Nintendo DS game had players using the touchscreen to sculpt car engines. Differently shaped engines would feature separate stats and abilities, which made it quite the customizable experience. This feature would be a great choice to debut in Mario Kart Tour since it will be on platforms that feature touchscreens and it would help differentiate itself from its console offerings.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – A collection of retro courses
Retro courses have become a mainstay of the Mario Kart series. Not only is it cool from a fan perspective, as they get to see courses they fondly remember with updated graphics, but it’s also less work for Nintendo than designing courses from scratch as they already have a layout and art assets to work from. Tour should lean more into that direction and have players take a trip through memory lane throughout its Grand Prix mode. This would also allow Nintendo to save new course designs for a future console title rather than putting them in a mobile game that will be seen as an off-shoot by many.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – Back to basics driving
Recent Mario Kart games have added new types of racing such as going underwater, using gliders to fly, and anti-gravity sections that allow Mario and company to drive on walls. While that’s an awesome feature, Nintendo should go back to just basic on-ground driving for the mobile offering.
Leave the greater spectacle for the console version, and let the mobile game focus on the basic formula. This will only make players more impressed if they decide to seek out the Nintendo Switch version and might convince them to make the switch from mobile to console, which is one of Nintendo’s main goals with their phone titles.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – Online multiplayer and additional features
Mario Kart is always best played with friends and online multiplayer is a must for any entry in the series and this includes a mobile offering. Getting to compete online would give those that download the game even more reasons to continue coming back to it, and some additional online features (such as daily goals or tournaments) could help make Mario Kart Tour a title that players play on a daily basis rather than being just another mobile game they have downloaded.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – A non-invasive business model
While putting car parts and characters behind microtransactions and loot boxes has to be tempting for Nintendo, this hopefully won’t follow Fire Emblem Heroes in terms of business models. It should be like Super Mario Run where players can pay upfront if they want to experience the game unrestricted. Clearly not everyone is going to want to plunk down $10 or more on a mobile title, but it’s a good option to have available. Plus, Nintendo can always add in various forms of DLC such as additional characters that come after launch if they want to continue making bank.
Mario Kart Tour features we want to see – The return of mission mode
Arguably the best part of Mario Kart DS was its mission mode, a unique offering that had players accomplishing various goals while playing Mario Kart. These ranged from actual boss fights against Super Mario 64 baddies to collecting items in a short amount of time. It was a complete blast to play, but sadly the mode has not returned in any of the titles since then. It’s a travesty, and it would be smart if Mario Kart Tour was the title to bring it back. It’s a perfect fit for a mobile game and more missions could be sold down the line, if it proves to be a hit.