Mario Kart Tour's subscription costs the same as Apple Arcade

You can pay $5 a month to get more speed and in-game items in Nintendo's iOS and Android racer, but it's currently lacking multiplayer.

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Sean Keane
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Toadette is hitting the track in Mario Kart Tour.

Érika García/CNET

The free-to-start Mario Kart Tour pulled up to the start line on iPhones and Android devices on Wednesday, bringing with it a pricey subscription option. The Gold Pass, which costs $4.99 a month, lets you access 200cc mode, extra in-game rewards for racing and exclusive bonus goals. It's also the same monthly price as Apple Arcade, which gives you access to a library of over 100 games, many of them exclusive.

You can give Mario Kart Tour's pass a go with a two-week free trial, after which you'll be charged the first $4.99 installment if you don't cancel. We can confirm that 200cc is blisteringly fast, much like it was in Mario Kart 8, but it's not immediately clear if the other bonuses make a huge difference to the game.

The game apparently had a record-breaking launch day too. It was downloaded 10.1 million times globally and took the No. 1 spot in the iOS App Store in 93 countries, data analyst Apptopia reported Thursday. Pokemon Go was the previous record holder, with about 6.7 million downloads at launch, it noted.

Watch this: Mario Kart Tour review: It's fine

The racer includes city courses inspired by real-life locations. These rotate every two weeks. The first is inspired by New York -- it's basically New Donk City from Super Mario Odyssey and is available until Oct. 9. You'll also be able to unlock Pauline from Donkey Kong and the dapper Musician Mario, along with a NY-themed cab kart and glider, during this time.

You unlock drivers, karts and gliders by using rubies, Mario Kart Tour's in-game currency, to fire a warp pipe -- this gets you a random reward. You can see the odds of getting specific unlocks in the menu, and rubies can be earned through gameplay or using real money. (It seems like you'll earn more if you have a Gold Pass too).

Mario Kart Tour is comparable to classic console Mario Karts, but it's hard to know how well the single-finger gameplay will hold your attention over time. You'll also need a Nintendo account to play. 

However, it's currently missing a key part of the Mario Kart experience -- multiplayer. It's sitting in the game's menu, grayed out.

"Available in a future version update," the message reads when you tap on the icon.

The $4.99 subscription is pretty pricey when you stack it up against Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. Nintendo Switch owners also have the option of that console's $20-a-year service, which gets you immediate access to a library of classic SNES games -- including the original Super Mario Kart.

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Originally published Sept. 25, 4:33 a.m. PT.
Update, Sept. 26, 7:13 a.m. PT: Adds report about launch day numbers.