Watch the first gameplay video for the mobile version of Nintendo’s Mario Kart Tour

The official beta of Nintendo’s Mario Kart Tour for mobile has kicked off in Japan and the United States earlier this morning, as first spotted by, giving franchise fans a good early look of actual gameplay ahead of the game’s release later this year.

Co-developed for Nintendo by DeNA, the kart racer is set in the Mushroom Kingdom like its console counterpart. The racing game appears to take advantage of the simple gameplay mechanics we saw in Super Mario Run, with the kart accelerating automatically.

Check out the gameplay video embedded below.

If these clips are an indication, motion controls will also be supported. Other spotted features include drifting, Grand Prix cups and the familiar tracks, including the original Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash and Mario Kart 7.

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The game’s default controls automatically cause karts to drift around corners, but anyone wanting more of a challenge can turn on manual mode. There are four levels of difficulty (50cc, 100cc, 150cc and 200cc) and the same soundtrack used in previous games in the franchise.

In screenshots, many of the expected Mario characters can also be seen as playable: Luigi, Toad, Shy Guy, Waluigi, Peach, Toadette and more. According to some beta testers, character unlocks will be the big in-app purchase for the game, with some drivers considered ‘rare’ and coming with advantages during races like having unique items and track-specific bonuses.

The game will release sometime this summer.

Officially announced at the start of February last year, Super Mario Kart will be priced as “free-to-start” title when it launches on App Store later this year. It’s not very clear what “free-to-start” means but I’m guessing it’s a new form of the free-to-play scheme where we might be able to start a race or maybe play the game for a while before being asked to upgrade.

I’m as huge Mario Kart fan as anyone so I’ll b jumping with joy when Mario Kart Tour finally hits my iPhone. I enjoyed playing Nintendo’s Super Mario Run on my iPhone a lot so here’s hoping that Mario Kart Tour will be able to do the franchise justice.

Who’s excited to play the mobile Mario racing game?

Share your thoughts down below in the comments!