Mario Kart Tour has £4.99 monthly subscription and no multiplayer

Nintendo’s latest mobile game is already making a name for itself, in terms of its missing options and expensive microtransactions.

The first ever Mario Kart for mobile phones is out today and while it’s technically free-to-play the game does its level best to gouge as much money out of its players as possible.

The most obvious way is via a £4.99 monthly subscription, which opens up faster 200cc races and the ability to unlock gold cosmetic items and… that’s it.

You can get a free two-week trial subscription, but you’ll be automatically billed £4.99 after that if you don’t manually cancel.

The worst thing about the subscription is that ordinary items like new characters, karts, and gliders can only be obtained at random using in-game currency (which can also be bought separately using real money) and have nothing to do with the subscription.

You need five rubies to get one item, which costs around £3 depending on how many rubies you buy at once and how many goes at getting a random item you have.

It’s all extremely grubby and unpleasant, especially as there’s a limited edition launch pack that contains 45 rubies, five start tickets, and one character for £19.99.

And yet we’re not sure Nintendo is really to blame here.

When Super Mario Run first came out, they tried the much more reasonable approach of a one-off fee to access all the content, but ordinary smartphone users deemed it outrageously expensive and the game was only a mild success.

Subsequently, Nintendo has gone on to have much more success with traditional free-to-play games and random gacha mechanics, particularly in Fire Emblem Heroes.

What you can blame Nintendo for though is the fact that Mario Kart Tour has, inexplicably, launched without a multiplayer mode. One will be added later but at the moment all you can do is race the computer.

Considering Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch is only £50, you’re almost halfway there if you just buy the launch pack.

Of course, you’ll need a Switch console as well, but we hate to think how much more some people are going to end up spending giving the purposefully addictive gambling elements present in Mario Kart Tour and other gacha games.

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