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Is Mario Kart Tour free to play? A Friendly, In-Depth Look at the Hit Mobile Racing Game

Hi friend! If you‘re interested in the hugely popular Mario Kart series and are wondering whether the mobile game Mario Kart Tour is free or not, you‘ve come to the right place. In this detailed guide, I‘ll give you a tour of Mario Kart Tour and answer the question “Is Mario Kart Tour free to play?” while also providing extra tips, research, and analysis to help you decide if it‘s worth downloading.

So let‘s-a-go!

The short answer: Yes, Mario Kart Tour is free to download and play on both iOS and Android devices. It is considered a "free-to-start" game, meaning the core game is free but optional in-app purchases exist to speed up progress. We‘ll dive into what exactly you can play for free and what requires real money purchases.

I‘ll also compare Mario Kart Tour to other Mario Kart console games, look at revenue and download statistics, evaluate if it‘s "worth it" for different types of gamers, and provide a final verdict after exploring all aspects of this massively successful mobile title.

What Can You Play For Free in Mario Kart Tour?

Even though it has in-app purchases, you may be surprised by how much content you can access in Mario Kart Tour without paying anything:

Tours – Tours are 2 week long events that offer new cups, challenges, characters, karts, badges, gifts, and more. You can fully participate in tours for free.

Standard Races – Race on real world city tracks as well as classic Mario locations across 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc speed classes.

Multiplayer – Online multiplayer unlocks at level 6, letting you race against others worldwide.

Challenges – Daily and tour-specific challenges with rewards help provide goals.

Gifts – Receive free gifts containing rubies and other goodies from friends.

Badges – Collect badges by completing challenges and fill up your badge collection.

Bonus Games – Bonus modes like Coin Rush can earn you extra coins.

For a mobile game, that‘s a good amount of free content! With skill and patience, it‘s possible to unlock new drivers, karts, gliders, and tours over time without paying real money. But what exactly can you get by paying?

What Do In-App Purchases Unlock in Mario Kart Tour?

The main in-game purchases in Mario Kart Tour revolve around rubies, the premium currency. Here‘s what rubies can buy:

  • Racers – New playable characters like Mario, Peach, Yoshi with special skills.

  • Karts – Faster karts with more hit points and racing bonuses.

  • Gliders – Stylish gliders give you longer air time and other benefits.

  • Challenges – Special challenges award rubies for completing tough tasks.

  • Gold Pass – Monthly subscription with 200cc mode, challenges, gifts, etc.

  • Bundles – Packs containing drivers, karts, gliders, tickets, rubies.

It‘s clear that paying gives you a big head start with quicker access to top characters, karts, and gear. The Gold Pass and bundles target players willing to spend regularly.

But don‘t despair if you don‘t want to pay! With some effort and discipline, you can unlock plenty by playing for free, even if it takes more time. Plus, skill matters more than high level gear in multiplayer mode. A Blue Shell can still take down whales!

Mario Kart Tour Revenue and Downloads

To understand Mario Kart Tour‘s success, let‘s look at some revenue and download numbers:

  • Over 140 million downloads worldwide since launch (Sensor Tower)

  • #1 most downloaded mobile game of 2019 in its launch month (Sensor Tower)

  • $106 million revenue in its first year – impressive for a free-to-play title!

  • Second highest earning Nintendo mobile game behind Fire Emblem Heroes

Clearly, Mario Kart Tour has been a huge hit as both a cultural phenomenon and financial success for Nintendo. This shows the massive appetite for Nintendo‘s popular franchises on mobile.

Tips for Succeeding as a Free Player

While in-app purchases can be tempting, here are some tips to progress for free:

  • Complete daily and tour challenges for stars
  • Watch ads to earn rubies
  • Max out race points on each track
  • Play daily to claim freebies
  • Save rubies only for items you really want
  • Add friends to receive free gifts
  • Link My Nintendo account for Platinum Points

With some effort, you can unlock tons of content over time without paying real money. I was able to unlock several rare drivers and gliders through pure persistence as a free player.

How Does Mario Kart Tour Compare to Other Mario Kart Games?

As a mobile version of a beloved console franchise, how does Mario Kart Tour stack up?

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch):

  • Full price console game at $59.99
  • Traditional precise controls
  • Much more content as a standalone title
  • Local and online multiplayer with friends
  • Superior HD graphics and visuals

Mario Kart Tour (Mobile):

  • Free-to-start mobile game
  • Touchscreen steering
  • Simplified maps and modes
  • Online matchmaking multiplayer only
  • Graphics adapted for mobile

While Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers the definitive console experience, Mario Kart Tour provides the unique ability to play Mario Kart on your phone or tablet anywhere. It succeeds at bringing the franchise to mobile in an accessible way.

Is Mario Kart Tour Worth Downloading and Playing?

So, is Mario Kart Tour ultimately worth it? Here‘s my verdict for different types of players:

For casual Mario Kart fans:

Absolutely! If you love Mario Kart but don‘t own a console, Mario Kart Tour is a no-brainer free download with lots of nostalgia. There‘s enough content to keep you entertained even without spending money.

For more serious Mario Kart fans:

Mario Kart Tour lacks the depth and controls of full Mario Kart console games. But as a mobile version, it‘s impressively addictive and fun. The core racing action is solid and it‘s cool to play Mario Kart on the go.

For free-to-play gamers:

A must-try as one of the biggest Nintendo free-to-play mobile games. Surprising amount of content available for free players willing to grind. Just be prepared for some repetitive grinding and difficulty competing with pay-to-win players.

For parents of young kids:

A good option for entertaining kids with Mario characters they love. Just monitor in-app purchases which can really add up. Set controls like disabling purchases.

For competitive multiplayer fans:

While online multiplayer exists, Mario Kart Tour has limited multiplayer options compared to console games. Consider for casual matches only, not serious competitive play against friends.

The Verdict? Mario Kart Tour is Worth Playing Despite Some Flaws

Mario Kart Tour perfectly adapts the Mario Kart formula to smartphones in a beautifully presented package. Drifting around corners and launching shells still feels great. While simplified and repetitive compared to console Mario Karts, Tour manages to capture a surprising amount of the fun, chaos, and excitement of the series.

With so much content available for free, it‘s absolutely worth downloading to try yourself, especially for casual racing fans. Just be wary of repetitive grind, pay-to-win mechanics, and limited multiplayer. Overall, Mario Kart Tour successfully brings Nintendo‘s beloved franchise to mobile devices for free and will delight fans.

So grab your banana peels, rev up your karts, and get ready to have a blast with Mario and friends anytime, anywhere. Now you know exactly what you can expect from Mario Kart Tour as a free or paying player. Time to start your engines!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.