Nintendo’s new free-to-play mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, launched on the app stores today along with a rather bizarre optional £4.99 monthly subscription.
The subscription will give you access to gold cosmetic items, as well as access to races in 200cc karts and that’s it, new characters are hidden behind other in-app purchases. What makes this bizarre is that for such a high price tag the offering is poor, especially considering you’ll have to spend even more to get hold of new characters (in the form of gems which you can get without paying, but as with most mobile games they are few and far between).
Nintendo has never striked me as the greedy type. Sure, they milk a lot of their titles and re-release games several times over but they’re not at, say, EA’s level of greed, so I can only assume more benefits are soon to be added to this £4.99 subscription.
The game itself is lacking a proper multiplayer mode at the moment. When you click to play multiplayer, you’re simply racing against ghost cars and this worries me, surely you’re not going to have to pay £4.99 to race against other players? Nintendo wouldn’t do that, would they?
Honestly I hope they don’t, and I can’t seem them doing that, but then I struggle to think of anything else that could possibly be added to the subscription to make it worthwhile. As mentioned previously, new karts, gliders, and characters are unlocked with an in-game currency, maybe they plan to add new tracks that will only be available for subscribers? Or new game modes? I guess only time will tell.
There is a two-week free trial available for the subscription, but I would suggest not using this yet just in case something big is walled behind the subscription in an update.
Regarding the other micro-transactions in the game, they’re using a ‘gacha’ type system where every now and then you’ll have the opportunity to shoot out a prize from the warp pipe, but only if you hand over some gems which can be earned in-game or purchased with real world money. You can buy these gems in various packs, including 3 rubies for £1.99, 10 for £5.99, 23 for £12.99, 48 for £25.99, 93 for £48.99 or 135 for £64.99.
As well as the standard packs, in typical mobile game fashion there’s a ‘limited-time’ pack which contains 45 rubies, five-star tickets, and the unlock of Mario as a racer. Obviously, all of these things are optional, with our limited time with the game so far there’s been no need to purchase any micro-transactions, so hopefully it stays that way.