Nintendo‘s latest foray into the world of mobile gaming, Mario Kart Tour, has now launched in beta. Whilst being closed to the public, available only to select Android users in Japan and America, we’ve already started to see some footage of the title leak online.
The footage looks pretty promising, adopting a simplified control scheme in comparison to the series’ main entries, similar to what we saw in 2016’s Super Mario Run. Namely, acceleration is handled by the game, with players only having to handle steering through swiping the screen.
Controversially though, the game appears to heavily feature a micro-transaction system; a loot box one at that. Kotaku reports that purchasable gems allow you the chance to unlock new characters and equipment or refill the new stamina system to allow play over extended periods.
Whilst this makes the more profitable for the big, with titles like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes (which encourage micro-transactions) severely outperforming the aforementioned plumber’s smartphone effort (a one time purchase venture), it may lend them in hot water in the future.
Micro-transactions are a fiercely debated topic at the moment, with worries over their legality as the systems are very similar to age-restricted gambling methods. Some countries are starting to ban such systems as a result, with even Nintendo themselves removing both of these popular titles from Belgium later this year. It is currently unclear whether Mario Kart Tour will even release in the country.
Of course, since the game is only in beta, this is all subject to change. Outside the drama, the game itself is set to feature the familiar Mushroom Kingdom cast, plus a selection of returning tracks ranging from the SNES, GameCube, DS, and 3DS entries.
Mario Kart Tour is set to release later this summer on both iOS and Android devices.