For fans of Nintendo's Mario Kart franchise, the wait is almost over. Nintendo of America's Twitter account has confirmed the official release date of the next Mario game to hit mobile devices. Mario Kart Tour will be available on Android and iOS from September 25.
The free-to-play game is Nintendo's third major release on mobile, following on from the semi-successful debut of the Super Mario Run platformer and the more recent Dr. Mario World puzzle game. You can already pre-register your interest in Mario Kart Tour on the Google Play Store and pre-order it on the iOS App Store.
Mario Kart Tour will follow the 'freemium' model that dominates the mobile gaming industry. The game will be free to download and play, but some content will require microtransactions to unlock. The exact nature of what players will be able to purchase is still unknown. Typically, free-to-play games sell in-game items, boosters or ways to advance through the levels more quickly, for real money. This is often done via an in-game currency such as coins or stars.
Looking at the screenshots already released of the game, it is safe to assume that additional playable characters, vehicles and tracks will all be for sale for real-world cash. When Super Mario Run launched, the game was free to try, but users had to pay $9.99 to access content behind the opening few levels of the game. We still don't know if Nintendo will continue this approach of go for a more microtransactions-based model, but signs are pointing towards the later.
Nintendo says that tracks are inspired by real-world cities in addition to classic Mario Kart courses, and that destinations will be featured in tours that rotate every two weeks. There's also a new Frenzy mode, which gives payers an unlimited supply of a certain item and "makes you invincible".
In terms of gameplay, Mario Kart Tour follows a similar style to Super Mario Run. That means you'll have an always-on accelerator, and can swipe left and right to steer. Nintendo launched a closed beta for the game in the US and Japan back in April, and some users reported certain items being automatically triggered as soon as you pick them up, such as invincibility stars.
Finally, you will need a constant internet connection to play Mario Kart Tour, regardless of whether you are competing against other players or playing single-player races. You'll also have to sign up for a Nintendo Account, if you don't already have one. If you don't like the sound of that, you can always check out our list of the best offline Android games.
Are you excited for Mario Kart Tour on Android and iOS? Let us know!
Source: Nintendo of America