Hey waffles, Toast here. It may come as a shock to you wonderful people that we like games here. Heck one could probably say that we have a deep, unbreakable connection to gaming. One series that I have poured hundreds, if not thousands of hours into is Mario Kart. So when I say that the latest entry in the series is a wretched abomination, a disgusting husk of game masquerading as a Mario Kart game, it genuinely pains me. Grab a 1-up mushroom, things are going to get spicy.
Mario Kart Tour is an illusion, a falsity that is designed to allure and decieve you into thinking you are actually playing a game. You boot it up and upon hopping in a kart you will notice how good the game looks. It looks like Mario Kart. All the bright, colourful jazz Nintendo are known for. But like a wolf in sheeps clothing, Tour is not all that it seems.
When you start racing you get the option between two control methods. One allows you to drift, but never steer and the other lets you steer, but never drift. As you might imagine neither option ever feels quite right and frankly, it is clunky as all hell to play in either mode. That clunk becomes more apparent when you realise the tracks are covered in invisible walls. Going outside the boundaries of the road is var nigh impossible resulting in ungraceful ‘thuds’ whenever you so much as brush past the edges of the course.
With steering being awful, acceleration being automatic the only thing left is weaponry…which is a step down from other entries. Weapons are granted by breaking open weapon boxes, with previous games rewarding skilled players by allowing you to strategically break boxes to prevent other players from nabbing the swag. That’s all well and good, but Tour doesn’t break boxes. In fact I am fairly certain there is no way to even miss boxes. If there is a weapon to be had, you and everyone else will get one regardless. In short, even more depth is lost.
Insidious motivess become more apparent when you realise that you are actually playing alone, against bots. The game hides this by naming every bot in a race, giving the impression you’re putting you skills to the test against a human. You are not. Not that much skill is involved when you factor in the lack of gameplay involved thus far. You are then graciously escorted to the storefront and shown the games true, unfathomably bloated wolf-like form and it suddenly makes sense. Tour is not a game at all, it is a veil to cover up a malicious, money hungry system designed to hook the vulnerable and make megabucks. Of course we are talking about “surprise mechanics” or “lootboxes” – I like to call it what it is – gambling. Gambling that little 5 year old Timmy can enjoy.
When you want to gamble, you put in your bank details and then pull on the pipe. As if by magic, an invisible slot machine shoots out a random character, kart or glider and your get flooded with endorphins. You did the thing! Congratulations. This is made particularly malicious when you realise there is only a 0.1% – 0.5% chance to get anything even remotely worth while. Perfect for sucking as much money out of you as humanly possible.
But raking in all the money from children and the vulnerable who just want to play Mario Kart was not enough. It never is. For the low, low price of £5 a month you can enjoy the wonders of a subscription. This gives you more rewards whilst “playing” and a whole new speed setting amongst other pointless additions. Considering Nintendo’s Switch Online service costs around £2 a month and that gives you 40+ games plus extra gubbins, this feels especially slimy.
But surely, surely there is something redeeming right? Surely disguising childhood gambling behind the biggest videogame IP ever isnt the only thing this game has going for it? Well for those of you who actually enjoy the non-gameplay of Tour, there is plenty of content here. The game has a bunch of tracks and cups to compete in, although compete isn’t really the right word when bots are involved.
Mario Kart Tour is a travesty. Nintendo have a few F2P lootbox fueled money makers on mobile, but this one feels especially garish. The gameplay is awful, the “gatcha” fueled gambling is sickening and as a long time fan of the series, I am truely devastated that it has fallen so low. Avoid at all costs waffles.
Have you played Mario Kart Tour? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the Cooling Rack below.
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