Until now, it’s been unclear what kind of game Mario Kart Tour — Nintendo’s mobile take on its popular racing franchise — would be.
Now that the closed beta for the upcoming mobile title has launched on Android in Japan and the United States, footage of the game has appeared.
Just like the console version of the title, Mario Kart Tour is a kart racer set in the series’ recognizable Mushroom Kingdom. The game features a one-handed control scheme that is reminiscent of Super Mario Run, allowing players to swipe their thumb or use motion controls to control their kart. The kart itself accelerates automatically, which makes sense given the touchscreen control limitations featured in a mobile title.
As expected, tracks seem to be pulled from previous versions of Mario Kart games, including Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart 7, and Mario Kart: Double Dash, as well as other titles in the long-running series. Familiar Nintendo characters like Luigi, Mario, Peach, Toadette, Waluigi and more are also included in the game.
One significant change to the first mobile entry in the series is that each race only lasts two laps instead of the standard three.
Further, karts seem to drive automatically, though this can also be turned off if you’re looking for more of a challenge. There are also four levels of difficulty featured in the game: 50cc, 100cc, 150cc and 200cc.
Graphically, the game looks impressive and arguably pretty close to a downgraded version of the most recent entry in the series on the Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
It’s still unclear how monetization will work in the title, but as it stands, players in the beta currently can’t buy anything. However, we know that Mario Kart Tour will be free-to-play.
According to Kotaku, Tour will feature a lootbox-style ‘gacha’ system where players spend a virtual currency for the chance to unlock items that have different rarities. For example, five ‘green gems’ unlock the chance to win a new kart, driver or glider. The publication also says that there is a stamina system that features hearts. Once all of your hearts run out, you have to wait for them to replenish or pay to purchase more.
Mario Kart Tour’s beta is running until June 4th on Android. It’s unclear when the final version of the game will be released, though Nintendo has stated in the past that the title will drop on iOS and Android this summer.
Since sharing screenshots and footage of the game’s beta is a violation of a beta tester’s agreement with Nintendo, it’s unclear how much will really leak about the title given the Japanese gaming giant’s tendency to ‘lawyer-up’ in these situations. The first images of Mario Kart Tour were published by French publication iGeneration.
Update 5/22/2019: The story has been updated with more information regarding how microtransactions will work in Mario Kart Tour
Image credit: iGeneration