Nintendo's popular racing franchise Mario Kart is making its way to iOS and Android this September in the form of Mario Kart Tour.
The Japanese video game maker announced on Twitter that it is bringing the character-themed racer to mobile devices on Sept. 25.
The game was first revealed last year, with a tentative launch date of March 2019. However, this was later moved to summer of this year to let developers improve the quality of the game and expand its content following its launch. The latest announcement brings Mario Kart Tour's release date much closer to the end of summer.
Fans can sign up for the game ahead of its debut via the official pre-registration link.
Mario Kart Tour Beta
Earlier this year, some gamers of Nintendo's cart racer got their hands on Mario Kart Tour's closed beta release. However, it was only limited to players in Japan and the United States.
Details from beta showed that the game operates differently from other Mario Kart titles. The gameplay mechanics have been simplified to better match touchscreen controls. Instead of a virtual controller, players will have to swipe left and right to steer their kart racers. They can also use items, such as shells and mushrooms, by tapping the screen just below their characters.
Much like other entries in the Mario Kart universe, Mario Kart Tour will feature a wide array of iconic Nintendo characters. The game had 30 different drivers including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Rosalina, Toad, Bowser, and the Koopa kids. There were also variants on select characters available in the game, such as Metal Mario, Baby Peach, Dry Bowser, but these could only be accessed by unlocking each one.
Meanwhile, courses for the game include tracks from various Mario Kart games over the years. Players will get to race on Choco Island 2, Dino Dino Jungle, Koopa Troopa Beach, Luigi's Mansion, and the beautiful but perilous Rainbow Road. Races will start using 50cc speeds, but other speeds such as 100cc and 200cc can be unlocked later on.
Mario Kart Tour will also likely feature in-game purchasing and a "gacha" style gameplay, which is common in free-to-play mobile games.
Gacha entices players to use slot machines or roulette wheels for a chance to win hard-to-get or even ultra-rare items. These machines are often accessed using virtual currency, which can be obtained using real-world money.
In Mario Kart Tour, the slot machine is designed as a golden pipe that dispenses a random reward such as unlockable characters and character variants. However, each item has a rarity rating that influences how likely it will appear as a reward. For example, Luigi is considered a rare character to unlock, while King Boo and Dry Bowser are listed as ultra-rare.
The game also encourages players to master all the different drivers instead of just sticking to their favorite ones. For instance, gamers who will use Toad on the Toad Circuit track or Luigi on his eponymous mansion will benefit from additional item slots during the race.