It’s not quite Diddy Kong Racing, but Mario Kart Tour on iOS and Android is currently hosting a new limited-time pipe centering on the Donkey Kong family of characters.
For those unfamiliar, pipes in Mario Kart Tour are essentially loot boxes. An advertised pipe can be fired 50 times, each time doling out either a driver, cart, or glider. Firing something out of the pipe costs rubies, which can be collected for free in-game or purchased via microtransactions. Pipes sometimes have “spotlight” items that the player is guaranteed to get within the 50 firings, and users can reset the pipe they want a duplicate of the “spotlight” item they received.
This new pipe is available as part of the ongoing Bowser versus Donkey Kong Team Rally, where players choose a side and earn rewards. The Donkey Kong-related drivers available in this pipe are Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. (SNES), Pauline (Party Time), and Donkey Kong, though players who choose Team Kong will receive him automatically. Note that this pipe does not have any spotlight items, so none of these characters are guaranteed in the 50 pipe firings.
Naturally, there is a pipe for Team Bowser as well, which includes Princess Peach (Wedding), Bowser Jr. (Pirate), and King Bob-omb, along with Bowser’s many minions like Hammer Bros and Shy Guys. Choosing Team Bowser for the Rally will unlock Bowser as well. The winning faction at the end of the Team Rally will receive 15 rubies and 3,000 coins, while the losing team will get 10 rubies and 1,500 coins. The Team Rally is set to end on May 19.
While not talked about as much as its console sibling Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch, Mario Kart Tour is a certified hit in its own right. Mario Kart Tour has been downloaded over 200 million times and has made Nintendo a fair amount of money. That fact combined with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe being crowned the best-selling racing game in US history means Nintendo is pulling in a lot of coins with Mario Kart.
Few series inspire as much excitement in gamers from across every demographic as the Mario Kart games. While the games are heavily luck-based, they also have a strong skill-based component, especially on higher speeds. Even though the Mario Kart series has a huge number of entries at this point, it's succeeded in staying fresh thanks to the introduction of new gimmicks. Far from the creative stagnation and poor reception many franchises experience on their 8th entries, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the Switch's best-selling game. This is thanks in large part to the addition of gliding and diving from Mario Kart 7, and the addition of anti-gravity racing from Mario Kart 8.
Whenever Nintendo sees fit to release Mario Kart 9, it will need to find some way to give the game a fresh gameplay experience. Still, not all potential gimmicks are created equal. Gliding, diving, and anti-gravity shake up the racing experience and enable novel course designs, but how can future gimmicks build on these ideas without becoming annoying? In order to find an answer, it's probably best to look at why 7 and 8 succeed so well with implementing gimmicks - while also noting those gimmicks' shortcomings.
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