Nintendo has released a mobile version of Mario Kart, and it’s every bit as fun as you remember. The game was originally released on the Super Nintendo but really hit its stride with the Nintendo 64 version that provided the building blocks still used today. Sure, the levels have grown by leaps and bounds– you can fly, glide, and even ride underwater– but the basics of gameplay remain the same. The mobile version labeled Mario Kart Tour takes a moment to get used to but once you do, you’re back on the track blasting turtle shells and sneaking shortcuts to give yourself that winning edge.
This is a Freemium game– free to download and play but with bonuses and enhancements available for purchase– so there are compromises. After the initial refresher course, you are awarded just a couple of driver choices and one type of Kart and glider. Others can be unlocked by leveling up, accruing in-game currency, and as previously mentioned, shelling out cold hard cash– no pun intended. But the starter Kart is more than capable of being all you need to enjoy the game. I played through multiple levels and had no problem staying at the top of the pack.
Controls are pretty basic. You keep your thumb on the screen to accelerate and steer by swiping slightly left and right. Phones with motion detection also have the option to control the kart by tilting the phone or tablet as you would a steering wheel and using weapons is as simple as a screen tap. The game has a great camera system and drift mechanic that make cornering and handling sharp turns easy– and even if you make a mistake or take an errant turn, you never feel so far out of the race that you don’t stand a chance of coming back. Right now, the game can only be played in vertical mode, but I hope they update it to be played in landscape mode for a more widescreen experience.
If you’re looking for something new to kill some time or maybe for a game the whole family can enjoy together, Mario Kart Tour is definitely worth a test drive.