Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Mario Kart Tour' Outpacing 'Dr. Mario World'; 'Call of Duty's' Ambitious Visual Goals

Mario Kart Tour Game Still - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Nintendo

Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: a new version of Supergiant Games' 'Bastion' is coming to the App Store, and 'Lego Legacy: Heroes Unboxed' bows early in select markets.

Mobile Games Hotspot is a curated weekly roundup of the top stories in gaming on-the-go.

The debut of Nintendo's Mario Kart Tour on Wednesday reached a variety of milestones, including holding the No. 1 slot for free iPhone games within its first few hours of launch.

Although the company's latest mobile game did not meet the same success in day-one sales as  2017's Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo's top mobile grosser, it did outshine Dr. Mario World, its most recent offering, which generated just $1.4 million in player spending over its first 30 days following its July 10 launch.

Analytics firm Sensor Tower reports that Mario Kart Tour is off to a hot start, securing the No. 19 spot in iPhone revenue on its first day of launch in the U.S. and the No. 25 position in Japan, two of the App Store's most lucrative markets. That far outpaces Dr. Mario World, which currently sits at the No. 503 spot in the U.S., though Fire Emblem Heroes still edged out the newcomer at No. 17 stateside.

To coincide with the launch, Nintendo announced a Gold Pass subscription for Mario Kart Tour that gives players additional unlocks as in-game cups and tours are completed. Some of these extra rewards include new karts, small amounts of the new premium currency known as Rubies, and the Metal Mario character. The Gold Pass also gets you special in-game badges for completing Gold Challenges and access to the speedy 200cc mode. Subscribing to the Gold Pass will set you back $4.99 per month, but a two week free trial is available for first-time players.

Tours last two weeks and offer a different set of course cups, challenges and rewards. The initial tour brings a brand-new course based on New York City along with a playable Pauline character, her first inclusion in the Mario Kart series.

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games:

Call of Duty: Mobile Aims for Impressive Visuals

Call of Duty is making an ambitious return to phones next week with Call of Duty: Mobile, a multiplayer game with online support similar to that of the mainline titles in the first-person shooter franchise. The new game is targeting a frame rate of 57 to 60 per second on Android devices. To achieve this, Call of Duty: Mobile is using the Vulkan API which allows developers to make the most of a device's graphics chip to bring out the best in performance. iOS users, meanwhile, will continue to use Apple's proprietary Metal tech.

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls Sees Early Canadian Launch

Castlevania Grimoire of Souls has launched, but only in the Canadian App Store. Originally announced in April of 2018, Grimoire of Souls brings back characters from throughout the Castlevania series, each with a unique combat style, that can be used in both single-player and co-op modes. A Bounty Mode throws you and your friends into a competition where the goal is to defeat as many enemies as possible. A worldwide release is expected soon.

Bastion Reissue Incoming

Supergiant Games’ iconic first release is getting delisted from the App Store on iOS with a new and more compatible version of Bastion set to be made available soon after. Due to an expiring distribution agreement with Warner Bros., Supergiant Games will publish Bastion on their own in early November, which requires a new app, not just an upgrade to the existing one. Achievements, cloud saves and customer reviews will not carry over. Those that already own Bastion will be able to download the new version for free. To go along with Bastion's 10th anniversary, new players will be able to download the latest version of the game free of charge before the end of the year.

Lego Legacy Launches Early

Another mobile game saw an early release as Lego Legacy: Heroes Unboxed is currently available on the Google Play Store in the Philippines, Romania, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Netherlands, New Zealand and Malaysia. The game sees players collect heroes like the Hot Dog Man, the Chicken Suit Guy or Willa the Witch as they battle solo or online in RPG-like battles. No word on a release in other regions, but a worldwide launch is also expected.