'Mario Kart Tour' Gold Pass benefits: Is it worth $5 per month?
Nintendo has once again swerved out of its lane and drifted into the mobile game market with Wednesday’s release of Mario Kart Tour. The smartphone version of the iconic racing series is available for iOS and Android and is free-to-play. But like many other FtP titles, there are premium features users can purchase with real-world cash.
Mario Kart Tour has opted for a paid subscription model for its “Gold Pass,” which will unlock a new race modes, unlock exclusive in-game items, and give subscribers a competitive edge. It costs $5 a month and first-time players have the chance to opt-in for a two-week free trial period to test it out.
Be aware: you will be charged for the Gold Pass subscription immediately after the the trial expires if you do the free trial, so set a reminder to cancel the payment if you don’t want to pay. Nintendo also notes “the subscription price is subject to change,” which could mean Mario Kart Tour will become more expensive or cheaper down the line.
But for the time being, here’s everything mobile gamers should expect from the $5 a month Gold Pass for Mario Kart Tour.
‘Mario Kart Tour’ Gold Pass: Premium game modes and items
Purchasing a Gold Pass will immediately unlock 200cc races, which gives players to the fastest rallies in the game… and the best rewards. These blazing races give out more coins and experience, meaning Gold Pass subscribers will level up faster than free players.
Gold Pass will also unlock Gold Challenges, which give out Gold Gifts for competing. These include exclusive characters (like Metal Mario), golden karts, and gold badges only available for subscribers. Challenges will only be unlocked once you’ve completed seven cups.
All of the rewards players earn with Gold Pass will remain on the account, even if they choose to cancel their subscription. That means gamers can pay for one month, cancel, and still keep all the rewards they earned from playing 200cc races.
‘Mario Kart Tour’ Gold Pass: A competitive edge
The main menu in Mario Kart Tour states that multiplayer will be “available in a future version” of the mobile game. For now, players will race against bots in the weekly rank-eligible cup and rack up points by achieving high scores in that cup’s races.
These scores are then added up into a cup ranking score, where you’ll be matched up against 20 other players of roughly the same skill. Better performances yield more points, and Gold Pass players get more points per race, so they’ll naturally be ranked higher than non-subscribers.
‘Mario Kart Tour’ Gold Pass: Transferring benefits to a new phone
It’s smartphone upgrade season, which means consumers might want to pick up the new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy Note. There are a few hoops iOS and Android users need to jump through to make sure they don’t lose their Gold Pass benefits if they get a new phone.
Nintendo suggest users upgrading their existing iPhone follow these two steps:
- Install Mario Kart Tour and use the Nintendo Account Linked to the Apple ID you used on your pervious device.
- Go to the Gold Pass purchase screen and tap Complete Purchase. Doing this will allow you to bring over Gold Pass and Gold Pass benefits without any additional cost.
Android users upgrading to another Android device should:
- Install Mario Kart Tour and use the Nintendo Account linked to the Google Account you used on your pervious device.
- Go to the Gold Pass purchase screen and tap Complete Purchase. Doing this will allow you to bring over your Gold Pass Gold Pass benefits without any additional cost.
If you’re switching from iOS to Android, or vice versa, you’ll need to cancel the Gold Pass subscription on your old device and repurchase a new Gold Pass on the new device. Don’t worry about losing any items, those will be transferred over using your Nintendo Account.
‘Mario Kart Tour’ Gold Pass: Fan reactions
Fans were not pleased by the $9.99 price tag for Nintendo’s Super Mario Run mobile game in 2016. Mario Kart Tour seems to have addressed those complaints by adopting the free-to-play model, but Gold Pass garnered mixed reviews on Reddit.
“As far as I see, this game has gacha mechanics so it’s really a no in my book. I will play this a little then uninstall,” wrote /u/KennHyd
Other Redditors weren’t ecstatic, but said this hasn’t been the “worst” mobile offering Nintendo has released.
“Subscription sucks but you keep the reward. So $5 for the rewards you want every once in a while. Could be worse,” wrote /u/Redigate.
‘Mario Kart Tour’ Gold Pass: Is it worth it?
Mario Kart Tour is sure to excite loyal franchise fans and anyone can get started for free. However, Gold Pass falls flat when its compared to the recent release of Apple Arcade.
Apple’s premium game service gives subscribers access to up to 100 exclusive mobile games for $5 per month, the same price as Gold Pass. Subscribers will get an infinitely better deal with Apple Arcade, but the gaming platform will not offer Mario Kart Tour as part of the bundle.
Apple Arcade is a much better bang for your buck, but diehard Mario Kart fans might want to flex on their friends with Gold Pass rewards. The choice will come down to individual preference, but it’s hard not to think that Nintendo is overcharging for what seems to be just a few skins and alternate game modes.
Mario Kart Tour is out now for iOS and Android devices.