With the start of the Tokyo Tour in Nintendo's hit mobile game Mario Kart Tour, players have access to a recreation of the Rainbow Road first found in the original SNES game. It's fairly faithful in design, save for one problem: it's literally impossible to fall off.
The classic ultra-difficult level, complete with its wall-free paths overlooking an endless void, has transformed into a complete cakewalk in its transition to mobile devices.
The reason for the change is obvious: the controls for Mario Kart Tour are just flat-out bad, making it all but impossible to navigate tricky courses with any level of precision.
Anybody who played the game during its initial New York Tour could easily spot the ways that the game tried to make up for its terrible controls. The game prevented players from going off-road in most places, running into obstacles barely slowed drivers down, and the bots players race against barely put up a fight.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that Nintendo would tone down Rainbow Road's infamous difficulty for the casual platform. Unfortunately, the did far more than merely tone it down. None of the challenge remains. Even when driving straight-on towards the wall, players stay on the track. Rather than ever letting people plunge to their dooms, the game just gently nudges the karts in the right direction, hoping they learn from their mistakes without handing out any sort of punishment.
Longtime Mario Kart fans know that this is the exact opposite of how players normally experience the level.
Finishing the race in first place poses no challenge. In fact, it's possible to spend the almost the entire race trying and failing to fall off the course, and still get a five star ranking.
Mario Kart Tour will doubtless continue to be successful. Any game with a popular IP and addicting Gacha mechanics is almost guaranteed success. But Nintendo has made it clear that their racing game is not designed with serious players looking for a challenge in mind.