In Depth

Mario Kart Tour: what is the game and how much does it cost to play?

Nintendo’s mobile racer launches today

Nintendo fans are celebrating the arrival of the long-awaited Mario Kart Tour game for smartphone users. 

Available to download from today, the new mobile racing game is a spin-off of the Japanese game company’s mainline Mario Kart titles but will not be available on Switch console or the 3DS portable system.

Until 2016, Nintendo only launched games on its own consoles. But the firm changed tack to release mobile-only game Super Mario Run, which has been followed by a series of other Nintendo titles created for smartphones.  

The latest mobile game delivers an experience that’s as close to the console versions as possible, with players racing against characters including Mario, Luigi and Yoshi in a variety of weird and wonderful karts. 

But there some key differences, too. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Mario Kart Tour?

Like the current mainline racer Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the new mobile game combines circuit racing and battles with collecting power-ups.

But as Business Insider notes, there’s one major factor that marks out the newcomer from the console version: players don’t have to accelerate or brake.

Since there are a limited amount of buttons on smartphones, the game programme instead handles each kart’s accelerator and brake automatically. Players are required to steer left and right, however, as well as manage the items they collect during a race.

Another difference is that Mario Kart Tour is free to play, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe costs around £42 on Amazon. That said, Mario Kart Tour locks off most of the game’s content from the start, meaning players have to race their way through the game - or pay a fee - to unlock new content.

So how much does it cost?

Although everyone can download Mario Kart Tour for free, Nintendo has also created a subscription version, called Gold Pass, that costs £4.99 per month.

According to Eurogamer, subscribing to the Gold Pass will unlock the faster 200cc category and grant access to gold tier appearance items. 

But the subscription doesn’t give players access to new characters, karts or gliders, which are locked behind a “gacha-style system” - where gamers pay real-world money to unlock extra items. 

Rather than simply playing through the game at their own pace, gamers can buy “rubies” to unlock in-game items at a faster rate. Prices for rubies range from £1.99 for three to £64.99 for 135.

What devices are compatible with Mario Kart Tour?

Smartphones and tablets powered by Google’s Android mobile system or Apple’s iOS platform can run Mario Kart Tour.

Pocket-lint notes that the minimum software spec to run the game is version 4.4 on Android and 10.0 on iOS.  

What tracks are included?

As reported by gaming news site VGC, the track list for Mario Kart Tour is as follows:

  • Bowser’s Castle
  • Cheep Cheep Lagoon (3DS)
  • Daisy Hills
  • Dino Dino Jungle (GameCube)
  • Koopa Troopa Beach
  • Mario Circuit 1 (SNES)
  • New York Minute
  • Rock Rock Mountain
  • Shy Guy Bazaar
  • Toad Circuit (3DS)
  • Yoshi Circuit

And Nintendo will add a new track every two weeks. These circuits will be based on real-world locations such as London, Tokyo and Paris.

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