Yesterday, Nintendo officially kicked off the Mario Kart Tour beta. Selected Android users in the United States and Japan are currently racing away, but perhaps not in the way they imagined. When you enter a race, the game makes you think you’re competing with players around the globe. A lobby fills up with screen names in English and Japanese, then it’s off to the finish. But it’s just an illusion. According to some research by GameXplain’s André Segers, the beta lacks true multiplayer.
A solo Mario Kart?
I played about an hour’s worth of the Mario Kart Tour beta yesterday, and I was shocked by how stable the races were. Switch games aren’t always known for their online stability. Could Nintendo really be delivering a superior experience on Android? André had similar thoughts, and he decided to put it to the test. As it turns out, races still handle like normal when all internet connections are turned off. He also tried keeping the internet on and exiting out of the app mid-race. When he returned, it was just like he never left. I would love to be able to recreate these tests and confirm for myself, but I haven’t been able to play today. The game just keeps crashing.
Although it looks like a multiplayer game at first glance, it never tells you that you’re playing online. Perhaps the CPU challengers are influenced by ghost data from real players (it’s unclear), but they’re not live. Will this still be the case when Mario Kart Tour launches in full later this summer? We’re not sure. This is just a beta, but if you’re not using it to test the online stability, what’s the point?