Video games, even the most immersive ones, can really only offer approximations. Nowhere is that more evident than in the input controls, where a mouse click or button press makes your character swing a sword or jump. Some actions, however, do seem to map more closely to their in-game equivalents, like clicking with your finger to tap a gun’s trigger or tilting your controller to turn a car. The latter is finally coming to the mobile incarnation of the popular Mario Kart franchise, unfortunately perhaps a year too late to make much of a difference.
Mario Kart Tour launched on Android and iOS barely a year ago after much anticipation. Unfortunately, it didn’t leave up to expectations of the Mario Kart experience translated to mobile devices. Sure, it had the whimsical antics and crazy tracks that the series is known for but Nintendo’s attempt to make it mobile-friendly had the opposite effect.
Nintendo simplified Mario Kart Tour’s controls with the goal of making it playable even with one hand. That practically meant holding the phone in a portrait position and simply swiping left and right to steer and tapping to use items. In other words, it adopted the control style of the once-popular endless runner games for a car racing genre.
Easy? Yes. Satisfying? Probably not as it removed one of the ways the game let you feel like you were in the driver’s seat, almost literally. Now Nintendo has finally decided it’s time to let players choose which way to play, something they should have probably done event a few months after launch.
It might be too little too late for Mario Kart Tour, though, and Nintendo seems to know it. The gaming giant is reportedly scaling back its mobile gaming efforts after disappointing reception and profits. If Mario Kart Tour is any indication, it’s probably because Nintendo didn’t really know how to do mobile gaming in the first place.