The highly anticipated Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo's newest free-to-play mobile game and the latest entry in the Mario Kart franchise, is officially out. In addition to racing on a New York-inspired course, gamers can also collect a brand new character in the Mario Kart universe - Mario's original damsel-in-distress, Pauline.
Today's gamers may know Pauline from her most recent appearance in 2017's Super Mario Odyssey when Mario encountered her in New Donk City. She also appears in the background of the New Donk City Hall stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But what people may not know is that before Princess Peach, Pauline was Mario's original love interest. She first made her appearance in 1981's Donkey Kong as one of the first damsel-in-distress video game characters. She remained Mario's love interest until Princess Peach was introduced in 1985's Super Mario Bros and the franchise swapped her out.
After Peach's introduction, Pauline's few appearances in Mario games were mostly as a background character, but since her stint as the Mayor of New Donk City, she's been quickly regaining her spotlight. In addition to her role in Odyssey, she's also a DLC character in Mario Tennis Aces, as well as a racer in the new Mario Kart Tour. This marks her debut in the Mario Kart franchise - a move that suggests she'll be back in the Mario franchise as a main character for good (or at least we hope).
Pauline is now available in Mario Kart Tour as part of the game's New York-tour, the first city-based event in the game. Each character has their own unique power, and Pauline has the ability to use the special "Lucky 7" item. Her favored course - or courses where characters will earn three items per collected Item Box - is the "New York Minute" course.
Players can get Pauline by trading in "rubies" (an in-game currency) for a chance to try their luck at the "pipe"; a gacha-style mechanic that "launches" out random content such as different karts, gliders, and characters. Players can get rubies through trading in coins (which are gained through racing different courses) or via microtransactions. The pipe is random, meaning there's no guarantee as to what players will get each launch. Each launch costs either five rubies for one launch, or forty-five rubies for ten launches.
Each city-based tour only lasts two weeks, and since Pauline is available as part of the game's New York Tour, unfortunately, she'll only be available at the pipe for the next couple of weeks. Players who are hoping to race with Mario's first flame will have to act quickly before she's gone for good.
Mario Kart Tour is available now for iOS and Android devices.