Mario Kart Tour might be enjoying a veritable amount of success, having been downloaded more times than the amount of copies Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold, but one look at social media and in-depth feedback tells a different story. Both fans and critics have quickly condemned the mobile spin-off for a number of reasons, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing good to be found.
There are things many love (or even don't love) about Mario Kart Tour, but there's no doubting that what it does well, it does well. Some of the things everyone should actually be included in the inevitable next main installment of the series, whether it comes out on Switch or whatever potential new console Nintendo may come up with.
New Character & Costumes
This one's pretty much a given, but while Mario Kart Tour's initial roster has some odd omissions (no Luigi?), it did bring back Diddy Kong, who missed out on the last two games, as well as add some new fan-favorites like Pauline and Peachette. It only makes sense to bring them back for a mainline entry, and there are still plenty of Mushroom Kingdom residents who deserve a chance to get behind the wheel.
The series' roster may not be as hotly contested as Super Smash Bros.', but there are no doubt demands for the likes of Funky Kong to make a comeback and even for some of the RPG characters like Fawful and Prince Peasly to be included. How about adding a Goomba, just so it can get a win for once? Additional costumes would also be a nice touch and have been done before (i.e. Cat Mario and Cat Peach), but maybe next time Nintendo should make them alternate skins as opposed to making them separate characters.
Ever since Mario Kart 7, players could unlock new characters and kart pieces at random once a certain amount of coins were collected from races. While this method is perfectly harmless, it does remove that element of choice that a lot of players prefer to have. Mario Kart Tour includes an in-game store of its own, where players can pick and choose what they want to unlock with their hard-earned coins.
Some changes would have to be made, though. In Tour, what is in the store changes on a regular basis so maybe the next game could do away with the rotation of unlockables. Preferably, gathering coins wouldn't have any sort of handicap either, and the unlockables could be a tad cheaper (in Tour, players can only earn 300 coins a day and the cheapest items are worth 500). And, of course, no microtransactions or subscription services for the next Mario Kart.
While we wouldn't want to see the classic Mario Kart formula be replaced or anything, Tour's combo system could make for, at least, an interesting alternative. Not only must players compete for first, but must also be consecutively pulling off drifts, tricks, and smacking their opponents with items to rack up points. It would admittedly need some serious balancing and tweaking (don't have certain characters earn more points on certain courses, for example), with perhaps confined to an arena of sorts like the Battle modes. Mario Kart Tour's racing is fun, but some players may need something different to keep sessions with friends fresh.
Tour is admittedly lacking in terms of the number of courses at the moment, with all but one of them being ones from previous games. But, in an attempt to have some variety, they all have slight variations that completely change how players should race through them. Whether it be by adding a bunch of extra ramps or having players drive the other way around, it at least tries to spice things up by messing about with the layout. This could make certain courses more enjoyable or more challenging, as well as technically allow the developers to add more courses without needing to create entirely new assets.
Tour wasn't the first game to provide different challenges that weren't just racing for first (Mario Kart DS did that), but it's still kind of surprising that such an option has been lacking for so many games. Again, they'd make for a great alternative for when players have grown a bit tired from racing and want to compete at something else, whether it be knocking down Goombas or driving through rings.
It could even be the foundation of a single-player campaign, which is something Mario Kart hasn't really offered before, aside from the usual Grands Prix. Mario Kart DS even had boss battles so maybe intersperse it with some of those, and beating them makes the boss a playable character. It may ostensibly be a multiplayer series, but it's high time that it started to offer a bit more for the single-player.
Mario Kart Tour is available right now for mobile devices.