“Mario Kart Tour” is a blast from the past



First released in 1992, Mario Kart has been a childhood staple for years and is now getting revamped as a mobile app.

When I was in third grade, my brother and I got Mario Kart Wii for Christmas. While this led to more screaming matches in our living room than I’m willing to admit, it quickly became one of my favorite video games (which is saying something, because my brother is the gamer of the family, not me). Naturally, when I found out that Mario Kart Tour was coming out Sept. 25 as an app, the third grader inside of me was uncontrollably excited, and I downloaded it immediately.

My first concern with the app was that it would be difficult to use. Nothing screams ease of use for a driving game like holding a literal steering wheel like we did for Mario Kart Wii. However, the tap-to-drive controls were easy to learn and handled smoothly, leaving no room for complaint. For added help, the familiar Mario Kart referee (fun fact: his name is Lakitu) guides you through a tutorial race and explains the different aspects of the race. On top of ease of use, this game brought me back. The nostalgia I felt while racing, playing as Toad like I always used to, made even just downloading the app worth it. Staying true to its original look and play, Mario Kart Tour was a great blast from the past, and an app I will continue to use to avoid homework.

While the app was great in terms of usability and evocation of memories, it did have a few downsides. First, I had to create a Nintendo account in order to play, which, while not troublesome, was a bit time consuming. I also had to download large amounts of “latest data” before racing, which could be a problem for users with minimal storage on their device, and also took an unnecessarily long amount of time to download. Finally, there is an optional $4.99 “Gold Pass,” which gives users access to special rewards, or “Gold Gifts,” within the game. Not having this pass has not affected my gameplay yet, but could be annoying in the future if parts of the game are restricted because of in-app purchases that I don’t want to make. For me so far though, the fun I’ve had playing this game has outweighed the time spent on account-making and downloads.

After not playing any version of Mario Kart for a good six years, I was pleasantly surprised with how similar Mario Kart Tour was to the other versions I’ve played. With just the right balance of childhood memories and competitive spirit, Mario Kart Tour has me hooked, and after winning a few rounds, I’ve got to say: I’ve still got it (take that, older brother).