Six years after its announcement, Super Nintendo World has finally – following considerable coronavirus related delays – opened its doors (albeit seemingly not quite officially) at Universal Studios Osaka. As a result, video footage of the park is starting to appear online – including a full, first look at its Mario Kart ride, which has remained something of a mystery until now.
We’ve known Super Nintendo World’s Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride would be squirrelled away inside the park’s imposing Bower’s Castle for quite some time, but virtually nothing has been seen of the experience that lies beyond the facade’s mighty stone jaws. Thanks to fan site Universal Parks News Today, however, those unable to visit the park in person can now enjoy an immensely thorough tour of the Mario Kart ride and it’s wonderfully detailed queue.
In fact, the bulk of the 20-minute video is spent exploring the winding line leading toward the Mario Kart ride proper, but it’s a fascinating trip all the same, jam-packed with easter eggs and iconic sights right from the start. It’s around the six-minute mark that things pick up considerably though, when the queue snakes into Bower’s gorgeously realised library where Mario’s arch-nemesis has been brushing up on his racing knowledge.
There are strategy sheets pinned to the walls, elaborate models of famous tracks, haunted paintings, even shelves stacked with book sporting comical names like “Sibling rivalries and how to exploit them”. And from there, we’re lead through a Bob-omb factory to witness a Mario Kart TV broadcast explaining the rules of the ride, and more.
Eventually, around about the 15:30 mark, it’s time to board the ride itself, and it’s an impressive bit of tech work, if nothing else, combining high-definition projections, physical sets, motion equipped karts, AR-enabled goggles capable of seamlessly projecting Mario and friends into the scene as they hurtle in and out of view – and it’s all tied together with a shell-tossing, points-scoring mechanic turning the ride into a fully fledged game.
Granted, its fairly pedestrian speed and claustrophobic sets are pretty much the opposite of the expansive adrenalin thrills I was envisaging when the ride was announced, but there’s no denying it’s been pulled off with remarkable style – and that Rainbow Road sequence is an absolute stunner. And if you’re curious about the rest Super Nintendo World, Universal Parks News Today has a wealth of additional material showcasing its other attractions.
Of course, those that can’t make it to Osaka needn’t feel too dejected. Additional Super Nintendo Worlds, each with different ride selections and layouts, are currently in development and will eventually open in Orlando, Hollywood, and Singapore – although there’s no firm word on when these other parks will be complete.