Super Nintendo World is giving fans a sneak peek at its Mario Kart ride and what is sure to be one of the park's biggest attractions.
Peel those bananas and polish your blue shells because Super Nintendo World's Mario Kart ride is revving its engines in anticipation. Once upon a time, the idea of a Nintendo-themed theme park might've seen like the stuff of fantasies, but then again, wouldn't you have said the same about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Cashing in on the house that Mario built, Super Nintendo World is preparing to open its doors at Universal Studios Japan.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic decimating the theme park industry around the globe, Super Nintendo World is still planning to welcome (COVID-secure) guests in February 2021. Alongside the Yoshi's Adventure ride, the other major attraction is Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge - which puts you and three other drivers behind the wheel of a Mario Kart vehicle to race against the clock and an enemy team led by big bad Bowser. It's a dream that some of us have had since the release of Super Mario Kart in 1992
Super Nintendo World Mario Kart Ride: What does it look like?
A new Japanese commercial shows off Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge in all its glory. Although it doesn't show the actual ride, the karts seem to be the ones used in Super Nintendo World. A new website outlines what you can expect and describes the Mario Kart ride as follows: "Race your way to victory! Iconic Mario Kart courses have been brought to life with cutting-edge technology. Challenge enemies with shells! Aim for the finish line with Mario and Peach! The world's first interactive Mario Kart theme park ride will leave you with a rush of adrenaline!"
Either way, the Super Nintendo World Mario Kart ride is enough to get us booking a ticket to Osaka. Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge works as an on-rails ride that mixes AR and projection mapping to trick you into thinking you're really zooming around the Mushroom Kingdom. What, no DK Mountain, Waluigi Pinball, or Rainbow Road? Riders have their own wheel and adorable VR headset in the shape of Mario's iconic hat.
Turning in time to a series of arrows will bag you a coin, and at the end of the five-minute race, you'll need to score a certain number of coins to secure victory. Added to this, you can pick green shells from item boxes and hurl them at enemies to earn extra coins. Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge has either good or bad endings depending on whether you hit the coin quota and topple Bowser's team, so you'd better get practicing.
Super Nintendo World: What else is there?
Elsewhere, Yoshi's Adventure is more in the vein of Disneyland's It's a Small World ride. Aimed at families with young children, you'll hop in a giant Yoshi and tour his wild world as you ride above the park. The ride encourages you to find Captain Toad's coloured eggs dotted around. In the park, you can part with your real-world cash to buy one of the Power Up Bands and tour the facilities. Here, you'll earn coins by completing challenges and climb the leaderboard. It just wouldn't be Mario without a boss battle.
Earning enough keys from completing the harder Key Challenges around the park will let you take on Bowser Jr. in a giant scrolling 2D Mario stage. Players are actually mapped onto the giant projection as they battle Bowser's tantrum-throwing son and hopefully knock him down a peg or two. There are gift shops and cafés flogging all the Mario-themed merch and food you could want, meaning Super Nintendo World looks like it's been pulled directly from the mind of that plucky plumber - wait, that's not his job any more.
It all looks great, albeit a little disappointing that you won't be racing against other humans in the Super Nintendo World Mario Kart ride. Also, where are the rest of the items? We'd expected you'd be able to launch bananas and blow Bowser to pieces with a blue shell. Still, it's sure to appeal to anyone who's ever picked up a controller to play one of the many Mario Kart titles.
Images via Super Nintendo World