After many COVID-related hold ups, Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan is set to open this month and a video has come out from the soft opening of its Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride.
If you just want to see the ride itself (and/or feel like you're going to have a seizure), fast forward to 15:50. Everything until that point is footage of waiting in a line that weaves through different displays in Koopa/Bowser's Castle. It looks like the design team did a pretty great job with it & fans will appreciate the details keeping them distracted...
From there, Paste Magazine describes what happens when you finally get your turn:
Eventually you’ll make it to a short preshow hosted by Lakitu, the cloud-riding camera operator from the games. A short video presentation gives you the basics of how to aim your shells and “steer” your vehicle, and explains how you’re racing for Team Mario against the nefarious Team Koopa. A short walk through the Team Mario locker room offers a glimpse of the racing suits for Mario, Peach and the gang, and also raises some frightening thoughts about what those characters would look like in the real world. And then finally you board your kart vehicle and strap on your AR visor before the race starts.
Based on this video, Koopa’s Challenge is basically Mario’s Wild Ride with augmented reality animation placed over it.
As much as I love playing the game itself on Super Nintendo (missing the good ol' days of Gametime hangouts here) I feel like waiting more than 20 minutes for this particular experience would crush my soul, unless the castle had solid air conditioning inside and I was on a perfect dose of psychedelics. Once the ride experience begins it seems pretty slow & like you're probably just smashing buttons inside a strobe-light disco ball? I was hoping for more of a 'roller coaster on Rainbow Road' type deal, like the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney, but on steroids and with tossable bananas.
This is probably lame to say, but either way it doesn't seem like I'll have to worry much about it as the Super Nintendo Worlds in Hollywood, CA & Orlando, FL are in the works, but are both looking pretty delayed for at least a couple years. In the meantime we can always improvise.