Super Nintendo World delivers on the ultimate Mario Kart fantasy

Super Nintendo World delivers on the ultimate Mario Kart fantasy

Super Nintendo World, which opened Friday at Universal Studios Hollywood, is a deeply immersive and interactive simulation of the world of Mario. Walking through a Warp Pipe immediately transports visitors into the Mushroom Kingdom, a brightly colored ensemble that wraps around this section of the park to create the illusion of being inside a game. move back and forth along the green hills designed to look like classic Super Mario Bros. levels. Stacks of Goombas wobble back and forth, and large blocks Thwomp thwomp – albeit safely away from park visitors.

The crown jewel of the park is Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, a dark ride that uses augmented reality to immerse visitors in the classic racing game series. Universal Studios Hollywood’s only Super Nintendo World attraction, Bowser’s Challenge comes with a mayhem of competitor taunts, shells flying everywhere, and a vehicle that’s prone to a small tumble when it hits a obstacle.

During the ride, four people share a kart and zoom together on a track through a series of worlds that mimic Mario Kart’s most famous settings. A Pokey winds through a desert world, Ty-foos blasts the Riders as they fly through the skies, and things get a little twisted when the Riders discover Luigi’s haunted mansion. And no Mario Kart session would be complete without a trip to the looping Rainbow Road track.

These practical effects blend seamlessly with AR, which pilots experience through a Mario-themed visor and accompanying goggles. Peach, Toad, Yoshi and others are the competition, throwing shells and causing a ruckus. As the ride continues, players smash virtual multicolored question mark boxes to receive shells, which can be thrown at other riders and objects around you – like flying Koopas or Bullets Bills whistling in the sky – by clicking the buttons at the top of your steering wheel. Look around while wearing the AR glasses, as the path is full of objects to lob and enemies to aim for.

Various Mario Kart outfits for Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi and Toad in the Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge waiting room in Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Photo: NBC Universal

The technology itself is not difficult. The AR glasses are tethered to the steering module and magnetically snap into the visors riders receive while in the queue. Aiming feels natural, as you launch shells in the direction you are physically facing.

Just like in a multiplayer showdown on Switch, driving and shooting skills determine who wins the race. (Team Bowser roasted me every time I was on the ride, but since I tested it alone without the support of teammates, I plead innocent.) It also means that every time a visitor goes through Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, they’ll have a slightly different experience.

And every lap of Bowser’s Challenge, like much of the park, can be recorded in the Universal Studios Hollywood app. Pressing the park’s Power-Up strip on the Mario logo in the center of the steering wheel registers the final score on a park leaderboard, which displays daily and all-time high scores. There are also a ton of achievement-type stamps to unlock in the app, such as for performing shell throws or unique feats in the ride. During my two runs, I unlocked a few stamps for reaching hidden question blocks.

The entrance to Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood.  A large piece of scenery emulates the look of a Super Mario Bros. level, with lots of Coin Blocks, POW Blocks, and Thwomps speckled throughout.

Photo: NBC Universal

The wait for the ride will no doubt be long, as Super Nintendo World finally opens to the public in Los Angeles. But even the queue leading to the ride is filled with Easter eggs that will delight Nintendo fans. The first part of the line is set in a Yoshi-inspired world, with music and iconography from the Super Mario World series – though Universal Studios Hollywood’s park doesn’t have the Yoshi’s Adventure ride, as in Osaka, Japan. (A recently announced park port slated for construction at Universal’s Epic Universe Park in Orlando, Floridaexpected to expand LA footprint to match Japanese park offerings.)

The ride queue finally leads to Bowser’s Castle, which is equipped with a huge throne, a Bob-omb factory line, and tons of fun reference books on topics like Courting Princesses and caring for Piranha plants. Portraits and statues of the villain himself decorate the imposing monster. While a rider waits, they can also take a look at one of the best views in the park, right at the entrance to Bowser’s Castle – from the perch, all of Super Nintendo World is visible in all its glory .

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood opens to the public on February 17.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *