You don’t have to wait for Mario Kart 9 to play this Ninja themed course!
Yes, there is a brand new course in the Mario Kart universe and it’s known as Ninja Hideaway. It comes in three different versions, you can play it right now, it’s free, and it’s currently only in Mario Kart Tour. In case you don’t know, that’s the amazing Mario Kart mobile game.
Since Mario Kart Tour launched a year and a half ago several new tracks have been added to the game’s lineup. Some of the new tracks include courses themed over real world cities such as New York Minute, Tokyo Blur, Berlin Byways 2, and Los Angeles Laps. Even a new track based on an N64 favorite has been added, Kalimari Desert 2, helping to give Mario Kart Tour the most robust stage list in the history of the series.
Ninja Hideaway is different though because it’s the most ambitious new track to hit Mario Kart Tour yet. The course has players driving through a Japanese Castle Ninja Dojo for the newly added Ninja Shy Guy character as part of the Ninja Tour. Ninja Hideaway has several branching paths, both horizontal and vertical, and it’s possible to swap between paths at several different times on the route. There is even a shortcut you can take if you use the right items.
The theme is amazing on this track as well. There are so many details thrown throughout the course to make it feel very in line with the Ninja Tour it’s meant to represent. Ninja Shy Guy will sometimes run through parts of the course, others will poof away and turn into bananas or appear in their place. Some Ninja Shy Guys can even get in your way while gliding by floating on paper kites. Paper walls of Mario villains such as Chain Chomp and Wiggler can also be seen.
There is tons of Japanese representation on the course as well. From cuisine, art, bamboo shoots, cherry blossoms, paper lanterns, shuriken spikes on dropping platforms, statues, candles, taiko drums, architecture, and more. Some of the artwork even appears to be of a certain card from a Nintendo hanafuda card deck. The amount of effort put into designing the set pieces for this course didn’t go unnoticed.
One more detail that’s important to note is that there are a ton of Wario references on this course. From his unmistakable mustache appearing on statues and above doors, to symbols and monuments of his beloved garlic, and the obvious Wario trademark W on various items. For some reason or another Wario is training a Ninja Shy Guy army here… or they just worship Wario. It’s kinda weird but that’s what Wario is about.
As previously mentioned the course comes in three varieties which is standard for tracks in Mario Kart Tour. The first is the classic Ninja Hideaway. Second is Ninja Hideaway T (Trick), which adds a bunch of ramps, boosts, and alters the course in other exciting ways. The final version is Ninja Hideaway R (Reverse) which lets you play the track backwards. While many tracks in Mario Kart Tour also have an RT (Reverse Trick) variant, this has yet to be seen for Ninja Hideaway. However a future release is possible.
In short, you should get over your fear of trying Nintendo’s best mobile game and download Mario Kart Tour. The Ninja Hideaway track is well worth checking out due to the fun course layout, great variety, excellent theming, and Mario references. Ninja Hideaway is a course that deserves to be in Mario Kart 9 no matter what platform it lands on in the future. Until then though, take a look at it while you still can as the bar has just been raised for what is possible in Mario Kart Tour!
Additional words from Xander Morningstar -
Justin has covered the new course here, in great detail. Before we decided to write about Ninja Hideaway, I had mentioned to the NWR crew, that it was worth checking out. I realize most of the staff, and likely many of our readers have moved on to other games. I can understand that, because I too had moved on till about two months ago when I decided to return and see how things had shaped up. Two months later, I can say there are some really high highs and low lows with this Mario Kart title. But by and large, Ninja Hideaway has been one of, if not my biggest highlight. I will go as far as to say that it may be one of the best tracks in the series, and is certainly one of the most creative. Tragically, Ninja Hideaway is not going to be available forever. In fact, as of this writing, it has mere days left. April 20th, 2021 will be the final day of the Ninja Tour, and with it, Ninja Hideaway will disappear as well. Fear not, because the tracks do rotate, so it is likely that it will return. But it may be several months. There’s no guarantee; it may be six months or even a year till this course returns.
Thankfully though, the barrier of entry to experience it is free. If you download the game right now, it is the very first track available, as it is the featured part of the Ninja Tour. You can experience all three versions of the course, the wonderful drums that are prominent in the soundtrack, and delve into all of the small secret routes right now, for free. Interestingly, I did not see any Ninji’s in the course, nor is Ninji a playable character. One would think that would be the spotlight character, but instead, Nintendo has opted for a Ninja-themed Shy Guy…complete with a small katana. But whilst this character is missing, the course itself is the best mobile game original track I have played. I have not been a big fan of how difficult it is to obtain the unique costumes and characters, but that is the nature of what this mobile game has to offer. But thankfully, there have been no premium racetracks (yet… but I wouldn’t put it past them for a moment).