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Analyzing Mario Kart Tour’s Biggest Update

by Justin Berube - October 18, 2022, 7:34 pm EDT
Total comments: 1

Our own Mario Kart Tour addict shares his thoughts on the biggest update to the game yet.

The Battle Tour launched about two weeks ago in Mario Kart Tour and brought along with it a new mode, Higher Player Level caps, a completely new economic ecosystem that removes Gacha, and more. All of this comes after another major update in March that added a new system for Mii racers amongst other things. So is Mario Kart Tour better than ever? It’s complicated.

First let’s talk about some things that are clearly good for the health and longevity of Mario Kart Tour. Many different caps have been increased such as the Player Level cap, Competitive Weekly Ranked Cup Tiers, and the Multiplayer Grade cap. These all give players more to shoot for. The Player Level Cap will especially take a long time to hit, with my rough estimate being about a year or so of play. This ultimately depends on the rollout of new tracks and only the most insane hardcore grindly players should hit it in that time, but it’s proof that Tour has plenty of life left in it. Additionally, several items, including a few bad ones, have received changes and buffs too. Battle Mode has also been included in the update. All good news, but more on Battle later.

Then there are several things I’m a bit more iffy on. These are the types of things that may be good, might be bad, but it probably depends on what kind of player you are in the ecosystem. For example, the Points Cap Limit on items has been boosted to a fourth unlock. The good news is the cost of 12 Points-Cap Tickets isn’t nearly as bad as anyone anticipated. The bad news is I don’t think enough of these are given out, and could lead to some ridiculous scores. It’s probably only a good idea to boost this far on items with a ton of coverage in your personal roster. Sorry if I lost anyone here, but Mario Kart Tour is a pretty deep game with several systems. Less confusion ahead.

Next I want to touch on the single player Battle Mode that has been added in place of a few races. These can also be part of the weekly Ranked Cup where the goal is to score well on three tracks and compete against 20 other random players from around your Ranked Tier. In single player, getting a good score is key. This is done by a combination of having good Drivers, Karts, and Gliders in your roster for a track, having them leveled and experienced more, playing well, holding combos, and of course some luck when it comes to items and Frenzies.

My issue is, when Battle Mode gets thrown into this mix it gets a little weird. The game offers Bonus Points for completing a Battle fast, but that’s really not the best strategy. The best way to proceed is to stall hoping to hit the time limit (Which oddly isn’t displayed), hold a combo, and hope to get good items and Frenzies until it’s over. If you do this you have a good chance at a high score. It’s still fun, but may not be the best way to implement Battle in a single player environment. Also some character specific special items may have much higher score ceilings in this mode.

Now we have to talk about the biggest change of all in the history of Mario Kart Tour, the new economy. The Gacha elements that let players pull on pipes to obtain items are now gone. But is it really better? Really depends on who you ask. The Gacha pipes were hated by some players, though I feel as though many of these players left the game very early on. That said, almost all of them were somewhat fair and offered a promise of the Spotlight items if you pulled, at max, 100 items out of it. Doing so before would cost players, at the very least, 450 Rubies. Now the game has introduced a Spotlight Shop where High-End Drivers are offered for 150 Rubies, while High-End Karts and Gliders cost 100. There seem to be some items that stick around in honor of the current Tour’s theme which change weekly. In addition to this there are a good set of items that are pulled randomly from a pool that changes daily.

So what’s the issue? Many people think the cost may be a little bit high. Before players were able to possibly get these things for less (or with bad luck more) and along with it random other lower tier items. These lower tier items definitely help newer players, but over time become less important as the game is way more focused on High-End items. Though, with some of the changes, some lower tier items may have a bit of usage to fill some gaps while players scramble for resources to use on their more valuable High-End items. The good news about obtaining Normal and Super items is that there are a lot more pipes to be fired off now in each Tour. So players should be filling out their rosters a lot more as most of the items coming from them will fill those lesser categories.

My concern with the new Spotlight Shop is that, in a way, it’s more predatory than the random Gacha Pipes. This is because the Gacha Pipes really made many players think about if an item is really worth it for your account, which due to all the overlap in coverage provided by each will be completely different from player to player. Are you going to risk your Rubies to try and obtain that? Maybe you’ll just do it for a character you like. Now though, there is almost no element of caution. There are a ton of cool looking items right in your face daily and you can quickly drain your premium Ruby resource by buying them with a few simple clicks. It’s so easy, and that’s what they are hoping for especially with new premium currency pricing and packs!

My word of advice is to always be cautious on what you spend your currency and resources on in Mario Kart Tour. As mentioned, many items may not even benefit you no matter how cool they are. I highly recommend filling out community made tracker lists to really understand what kind of value each item could add to your account. Or maybe you just want to have fun and get stuff you like. It really depends on your goals and what enjoyment you can find in the game. There is no set answer for everyone.

I also need to discuss something that is undeniably bad this Tour. That is, the online Multiplayer was quickly taken down due some issues with players losing rank even if they won. For a Tour so focused on Battle it’s a shame that we haven’t even been able to try this new mode against other human players. This hurts the overall Tour in many ways. First, it’s not possible to complete all the challenges offered right now because some are Multiplayer focused. This could set some players back. There are also new Pipes that players can earn from playing Multiplayer, so those random item gains will be impossible to get. It’s a shame but I really do sympathize with the devs on this. The developers are being fair about the downtime though. They offered some free Star Tickets which can be spent to complete some of the Battle Tour’s specific challenges. Additionally, further compensation will be coming in the future. Multiplayer is slated to reopen in the Halloween Tours starting on October 19th.

The final thing I want to touch on is the rewards for players seem to be dropping a bit, more so for Free to Play players. It’s harder for all players to earn Rubies starting this Tour. Additionally, the Rubies in the Ranked Cup Rewards have come down slightly too. Overall I think this, amongst some other changes, is trying to push more players to pay the $5 a month fee for a Gold Pass subscription. Many won’t like this, but in my opinion it’s the best thing an active player can pay for as it provides the best value for your money. I also like to support the devs for the continued bi-weekly content updates. The only big negative I see from this is with less Rubies to bring in each tour more players will likely feel persuaded to purchase further Challenges to try and keep up. Additionally many players may feel the same about High End Tickets of all types with the new caps. My word of warning is to try to play smart as a big part of Mario Kart Tour is resource and team management.

Overall, it will still be some time before everyone can fully wrap their heads around all the changes that have hit Mario Kart Tour in its largest update yet. The changes will hit each player differently but I will say I’m still loving this game and think it may give some players who didn’t give it a chance to come back and take a second look now that the Gacha is gone. I still think this is the most interesting, deep, and fun Mario Kart game yet and there are many things the next console iteration should learn from it. Just please go in with an open mind and you may be surprised.



DrHydeNovember 02, 2022

I fully agree with everything you’ve said here, I’m a gold member anyway and agree it’s the best way to get the most out of the game, I think it’s pretty cheap…the price of a cup of coffee out per month. My biggest disappointment with this update is the tier and token shops, you just can’t get anything cool in there anymore and it kind of makes earning tokens and coins a little less fun and purposeful. In this autumn update (released today) there’s only like 6 things in the token shop and tbh I don’t really care what balloon I have in battle mode so that’s uninteresting already, the two level up tokens are for silver and gold karts on mine, which I really never use anymore as I’ve got plenty of high end ones. The rubies are ok and the pipe is kind of like a novelty fun item now too, but very disappointing compared to previous token shops. Then the tier shop is only ever level up or point boost tickets for me now, again, just a bit disappointing compared to previous tours. I definitely feel like this was a power move for Nintendo, all about getting players to spend actual money to get more rubies as that’s really the only way to get decent characters and cars and gliders anymore. I’m not mad about the spotlight shop, I actually think it’s kind of good as I know I can just save up and I will definitely get the item…sometimes I’d spend like 300rubies with very little to show for it (no high end characters) so it’s eliminated that…and I have been able to get 1 character each week without spending any more cash than my monthly subscription…
Anyway, not quite sure how to word this but I just feel like the game has sold out a little bit? It’s kind of lost its spark for me? I definitely feel hard done by now I only get 25 rubies for coming first, as apposed to the previous 40 I would get.. I think it’ll just take some getting used to as you said, and I won’t be turning my back on the game as I’ve invested time and money over the years and still enjoy it. I think I would be happy if there were more opportunities to earn rubies, or if the spotlight items were slightly cheaper so we could get more for our wins, especially as a gold pass player!
Thanks for the review anyway man, it’s nice to have someone else to geek out over this with 😂

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