I don't know why I'm so surprised, as familiar as I am with both the mobile games and F2P business model, that Mario Kart Tour is so grossly bloated with microtransactions and gatchapon style unlocks. For those that haven't played yet, the unlocks are sorted into
Each of which will give either a points multiplier or bonus items when used on certain tracks, so effectively; the more you have unlocked the more of an advantage you have when racing. You begin with only a couple of each, and then you're almost immediately dumped onto one of the (several) flashy store pages where you can buy "rubies" or item packs with real money.
It's also possible to simply buy certain racers or items with the reggo ingame gold coins, which can be obtained simply by picking them up as you drive about. There's a smaller shop which cycles a few items every day so you could potentially not buy any rubies at all and still obtain new items. I haven't done the math on how long that would realistically take to flesh out your collection without spending any real money, but considering how many items there are and how infrequently the shop rotates what's up for sale, we can safely say it would take a while.
There are two control types; always drifting or never drifting. Obviously we went for always drifting, and while it does feel very good when you nail that perfect drift, a lot of the time a drift feels like overkill. The game heavily punishes you for not exiting your drift in the optimal direction because there's no easy way to correct afterwards, and I think it's pretty telling that invisible walls have been placed on the edge of every track to prevent players constantly falling to their deaths. There were many occasions where I only needed a slight nudge to the left or right but instead my racer launched into an epic drift straight into the very object I was trying to avoid. I'm sure with time the community will invent new racing lines that perfectly optimise the constant drifting, but it's very frustrating when you're just trying to drive in a straight line and can't because your kart is constantly snaking from left to right.
Ultimate I was pretty disappointed with the first impression. The racing feels good when it clicks (I'm playing on a Galaxy Note 9 which has a big screen and it both looks and performs fine) but all the stuff in between is tacky and feels alien and perverted when wrapped up in the Mario framework, and especially gross and insidious when you consider that these games have traditionally been marketed to children. I appreciate there's a long precedent for this stuff but it still left an extremely bitter taste in my mouth.
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