When Nintendo announced it was releasing a version of Mario Kart for iOS, we were excited. Anyone who played the frenetic kart racer in its 90s and 2000s heyday – or who owns the spectacular latest version for Nintendo Switch – knows how fun it is to drift around corners at breakneck speed while lining up a green shell like a missile to take out your opponents.
But when it finally launched in Fall 2019, we were disappointed. Though the game looked the part, and played better than we expected with touchscreen controls, it lacked the one thing that made Mario Kart so iconic: multiplayer. It still earned four stars in our initial review, but we lamented the lack of live multiplayer against other players:
“Perhaps the biggest omission here is multiplayer. Don’t be fooled by the real usernames that appear before each level – those aren’t actual humans you’re racing, but computer-controlled drivers. With multiplayer undoubtedly the best and most iconic part of Mario Kart, we’re sad to see it missing on launch – though the main menu assures us online multiplayer is coming soon.”
Well, that day has finally come, with Nintendo this week adding live multiplayer modes to Mario Kart Tour’s arsenal as part of a huge 2.0 update. If you’ve been holding off trying the game, now’s the time to dip in and give it a go. If you’re on the fence, check out the 30-second teaser for the update.
There are three ways to tackle the multiplayer in Mario Kart Tour. If you’ve got a bunch of friends around, armed with iPhones and iPads, you can engage in local multiplayer with your own custom ruleset – just like the old days! You can also engage in ‘Standard Races’ around the world against random players of a similar skill level, in order to increase your ranking. Finally, if you’re subscribed to the game’s somewhat pricey premium subscription, you’ll also qualify for ‘Gold Races’ with other mega-fans.
Mario Kart tour is free to download and play – but beware, it does feature optional loot boxes.