Friday, January 15, 2021

What A Future Mario Kart Could Take from Mario Kart Tour

SuperPhillip Central continues this impromptu week featuring Mario by pondering about what could be in the works for the next Mario Kart. It seems that a theoretical Mario Kart 9 won't happen for a while--at least not until the Switch's successor, as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continues to burn rubber up the sales charts in utterly impressive fashion. After all, why cut off the legs (or in this case, slash the tires) of an evergreen title like Deluxe with a new entry while the old game is still selling immense amounts? Well, other than to satiate the thirst of players like myself who yearn for a new console-based entry in the series, of course!

While Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most recent console release for Nintendo venerable kart racing franchise, it's certainly not the latest in the series. No, that title goes to Mario Kart Tour, which despite my criticisms with the game as seen in my review, has improved substantially since launch. In fact, there are a fair number of things that I think a possible Mario Kart 9--or whatever the next entry is named--could borrow from Mario Kart Tour. And, no, I'm not talking about the horrid, aggressive and disgusting Gacha mechanics or micro-transactions like $40 for one character, kart, and glider. 

For one, Mario Kart Tour's roster of characters is the most fully featured yet. Now, obtaining all of the characters in the game is truly a challenging task unless you're a whale, but the size and scope of the roster are certainly amazing. For one, new characters that have never before appeared in the Mario Kart series are featured in Tour. These characters include Hammer Bros, Dixie Kong, Captain Toad, Monty Mole, Nabbit and King Bob-Omb, for starters. Just as notably though, from Mario Kart Tour is that several characters have alternate costumes. While they're listed as separate drivers entirely in Mario Kart Tour, in Mario Kart 9 they could function like the Mii racer costumes as seen in Mario Kart 8 and its Deluxe version on the Switch. Imagine Nintendo trotting out unlockable costumes for Mario and friends, such as Builder Mario, Penguin Luigi, Festive Yoshi, among many others. 

Moving on from characters to tracks, Mario Kart Tour possesses the most racetracks and circuits out of any other Mario Kart game, although in MKT these are rotated in and out with each biweekly tour. Regardless, my desire for the next Mario Kart game isn't so much for the game to have the most tracks of any Mario Kart game. Instead, I'd like the next game to utilize Mario Kart Tour's track variants. Plenty of tracks in Mario Kart Tour have four variants to them: the normal version of the track, the reverse version of the track where drivers race the track in the opposite direction, a trick version with multiple ramps and different paths to take off the normal version, and a combination of the reverse and trick variants. This adds a lot of variety in the tracks of Mario Kart Tour, and it would add the same to a future Mario Kart game. 

Another addition that Mario Kart Tour introduced to the series is an arcade-like points system for races. Upon performing tricks, collecting coins on the track, successfully hitting other players, and completing other actions, drivers gain points, and for each action they complete within a certain time frame, they achieve a combo multiplier. The multiplier increases for each action they perform. Grand Prix cups in traditional Mario Kart games usually don't have much replay value, other than aiming for three stars on each cup by winning first place in each and every race (and up until Mario Kart 8, doing so in a dominant fashion). 

Using this formula and foundation from Mario Kart Tour, a future Mario Kart could lift this points system and use it to not only serve as a means of replay value--to increase your high scores on each racetrack and each cup--but also perhaps serve as a method to unlock new content like kart parts from reaching certain point thresholds. Furthermore, high scores could be compared and contrasted with others in a competition-like setting, much like Mario Kart Tour has already, where weekly leaderboards show which players have the top scores for a given cup among friends and worldwide. 

Finally, speaking of modes like the Grand Prix, Mario Kart Tour reintroduced mission-like challenges as seen with Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii. Mario Kart 9 (or again, whatever the newest game would be called) needs to have a Mission Mode with clever challenges as seen in not only Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii, but also as seen in Mario Kart Tour. Such missions/challenges include keeping a combo going for as long as possible, steering clear of all enemies and obstacles, gliding as far as you can possibly glide, or running over as many small enemies as you can during one lap of a race, to name just a handful of ideas lifted from Tour. 

It's obvious what Mario Kart fans wouldn't and don't want from Mario Kart Tour, but hopefully we can all agree that these aforementioned additions to future Mario Kart games would be most welcome ones. What would you like to see in a future Mario Kart game? Is there anything from Mario Kart Tour that you would like a possible Mario Kart 9 to directly lift? Let the SPC community know in the comments section below!

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