Mario Kart Tour, as you likely know, is a Mario Kart phone game that first launched in late 2019. It falls under the common archetype of “gacha game,” which, in the simplest of terms, means it features microtransactions and random chance working in tandem. It is one of the greedier takes on the archetype as well, especially in comparison to its cousin, Dr. Mario World. With many enticing features locked behind a paid subscription service, in addition to rubies (the in-game currency) being decidedly pricey, Mario Kart Tour is the kind of game that very much wants you to spend more than you might have originally intended on it.
The game is certainly not without its merit, however, even if you choose not to give it a single penny. The Sonic Adventure 2-esque point-based scoring system is a very fresh concept for a Mario Kart game, and it offers an experience you won’t get from any other title in its series. All while preserving the traditional simplicity that makes Mario Kart appealing in the first place. That isn’t the focus of this article, though. What I instead wish to touch on is the game’s selection of characters.
Obtaining new characters works similarly to other gacha games. Everything is split up into three rarities; Normal, Super, and High-end, with the general desirability of the possible pulls rising with each rarity level. If you spend rubies to start the gacha, you will receive a random character from the pool. There will usually be a specific High-end pull or two in the spotlight at a given time, meaning that they will be a bit more common than usual. But otherwise, it is very unlikely that you will pull anything but Normals and Supers.
The selection of characters is enormous. Every character from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is in this game, barring most of the DLC from the first game. Yes, even the ones people like to meme about like Baby Rosalina and Pink Gold Peach are here. There are also many who didn’t appear in MK8D, whether they be veterans of the series like Birdo and Diddy Kong or new faces such as Pauline and Monty Mole. It’s a truly impressive lineup, and luckily, most of these regular characters are part of the Normal or Super pool, so they shouldn’t be too difficult to get your hands on.
Where things start to get crazy is in the High-end category. Nearly the entirety of this group is made up of variant drivers. Translation; characters dressed up in different outfits. This is a common tactic in gacha games to get people to spend. Something about seeing their favorite characters in new attire gets people excited, including me! I mean, what is there not to love about Reindeer Yoshi:
Or Pirate Bowser Jr.:
Or the countless versions of Mario and Peach they’ve added:
Well, okay, a few people are upset over that last one. Mario and Peach are some of the most recognizable characters, but it is still a tad absurd how many costumes they receive in comparison to everyone else. For goodness’ sake; Luigi, who is just as (if not more) well known as Peach, has only four costumes to his name. I suppose that’s the power of the waifu at work, though, isn’t it? Either way, the costumes themselves are all amazing and filled with life, so it’s no wonder that they garner so much attention from fans.
It’s a shame, then, that you most likely won’t get to play as any of them without paying. It costs 45 rubies to pull 10 things from the gacha. Whenever a High-end character is in the spotlight, they are given a 1% chance to appear with each pull. Buying the 45 rubies themselves will charge you $27. So for every $27, you get a roughly 10% chance of getting your desired character. And that’s IF they’re in the spotlight, if they aren’t, you’re looking at 0.0625% chance. You can earn rubies without paying on occasion, but it’s only enough to give you maybe one 10 pull every two weeks or so.
Although it’s been said time and time again, it bears repeating: it’s unfortunate that these wonderfully designed outfits are tied to a gacha mobile game. It would be lovely if they decided to include them as alternate costumes in the next mainline Mario Kart title, but that won’t happen. Great as they may be, they were designed with one singular purpose; get people to spend cash on the gacha. Adding them into another game would defeat the entire purpose. Thankfully, looking at them is free, so have another picture and enjoy seeing the Mario cast all dressed up for various holidays (and other events):