Soon, there will be absolutely no escaping the blue turtle shell. According to Nintendo, Mario Kart will soon travel in all of our pockets as their next mobile offering.
Nintendo has gotten pretty good about low-key announcements in recent years. They'll just sort of off-handedly say, "Oh yeah, before we forget, here's a pretty major bit of news we're going to tuck at the bottom of a press release." That was pretty much the case this week when, on Twitter, the Big N announced Mario Kart Tour will be coming to mobile devices.
Maybe we've just gotten used to a media culture that now offers actual teasers for trailers of upcoming games and movies, but we kind of love Nintendo for frequently cutting past the pomp and circumstance and just throwing out the facts.
Any other studio would have made a big deal out of a major franchise being brought to mobile, but Nintendo, without warning, made a major reveal via a simple tweet. Mario Kart is one of their biggest series, and now we know it's coming to mobile devices within the next year.
That's probably because Nintendo isn't keen on saying too much until they've actually got something to say. Unlike with games like Kingdom Hearts III and Red Dead Redemption II, we're not going to have to sit through a long series of "no, seriously, it's coming" announcements with work-in-progress trailers to serve as proof. In the tweet, Nintendo simply says that the "finish line is near" for their new mobile application. They say it's Mario Kart Tour, and then they tout a launch window of the fiscal year which will end in March 2019.
We're feeling pretty cautiously optimistic about this one. Nintendo has been on a pretty solid run following Miitomo, which is actually shutting down soon. Super Mario Run was a solid mobile experience, with both Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp managing to shrink down big experiences in a way that makes sense for mobile. Those games might not have the longest of legs, but they're definitely solid distractions for a while and, more importantly, sport a level of polish Nintendo has become known for over the years.
I think that's what has me most interested concerning Mario Kart Tour. My biggest gripe with the majority of mobile games is that they don't offer much that passes for gameplay, or what's there is extremely limited. If Nintendo figures out a way to offer fast and fun racing on your phone, that's the kind of experience that could keep players hooked for a very long time.
Then again, despite the Mario Kart name, we don't actually know what type of gameplay we should expect here. Nintendo's known to shake things up and surprise us, after all.
For now, we'll just sit tight and wait for that next announcement, likely to show up on the back of a cereal box sometime this spring.