Mario Kart is an ever-present part of most gearheads’ gaming worlds. Whether your first exposure to it came from blowing dust from a Mario Kart 64 cartridge or alcohol-lubricated dorm-room throwdown races, the title’s tight, balanced, and accessible gameplay has achieved a timelessness to which other arcade racers can merely aspire. Now it’s the next generation’s turn to discover Mario Kart—and Nintendo is answering the call with Mario Kart Tour, a mobile version of the game coming to an Android or Apple smartphone near you next year.
The checkered flag has been raised and the finish line is near. A new mobile application is now in development: Mario Kart Tour! #MarioKartTour Releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019. pic.twitter.com/8GIyR7ZM4z
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 1, 2018
The overalls-wearing plumber has been playable on Apple and Android devices for more than a year now in Super Mario Run, a two-dimensional rerun of Nintendo’s Super Mario classic, and the faithful can also access mobile-optimized Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. (More recently, Mario Kart has gone mobile—although not on phones—via Nintendo’s clever Switch platform.) Following the popularity of those and other re-releases of classic Nintendo titles on mobile platforms over the past few years, it’s no wonder the Japanese gaming giant is bringing the Mario Kart franchise to the same space.
So far, there is no word on the implementation of Nintendo-favorite motion-based controls, although it’s safe to assume you’ll have more than one way to steer Mario’s buddies and their vehicles around a track if a cellphone steering wheel isn’t your jam. If Mario Kart Tour subscribes to a similar ethos as Nintendo’s previous mobile games, expect a free-to-play version to be available from launch, while in-app purchases will be necessary to unlock the full experience. Our only reservation? That smartphone games are, on the face of things, single-player focused—after all, the screen is also your controller. Here’s hoping there is some kind of networked multiplayer capability built in that would enable players to race their friends both near and far.