The time is finally here and the Hollywood location for the new Super Nintendo World is now open and ready for the public to check out. This is the one that was hyped up at the Universal Parks location on the west coast that is the second location out there now. That way more of the Nintendo fans out there will be able to experience the park and what various things are offered up. Not to mention get some fun video game goodies and collectibles based on how much you interact with everything. All of which is something that the crew here had a chance to do just before it opened up to the public. Let us walk you through what we were able to see and experience in the mix of things while letting you know if it will be worth the trek and time to take it all in.
To start this all off, the new Super Nintendo World is available to anyone that enters the main park out there. Meaning that you do not need to pay for a specific park entrance to all of this, but worth noting that even if you only want to go into this area, you will have to pay for the whole park. Not a huge problem if you plan on spending a whole day out there and want just more to experience. Since you have to walk the whole park in the first place to get to the Super Nintendo World, it will help keep a bit of the pace in the mix so you can work backward. Even if it could take you a few hours in general to experience all that this new section has to offer up. Even without lines, it took us three to four hours, and still did not see everything this area had to offer up.
Entering into the Super Nintendo World takes us all through a fun little warp pipe to get into the world and then feel like you are fully transported into the world. Not only through the fun visuals and entrance from Peaches' Castle, but looking around at all of the set dressings out there, it is next to impossible to see anything else outside of the land. This adds in some fun extra immersion that many might overlook while taking in the various other elements from Nintendo that is out there. Even if it is more on the Mario side of things more than anything and not truly a full land of the various IPs that they have made popular over the years. That does leave room for expansions later, but those looking for Donkey Kong, Zelda, or any of the other characters, you might only get hints and nods but nothing deeper into those IPs.
Moving from the entrance of Super Nintendo World, we were then treated to the various experiences and games that are peppered around the area to give guests something beyond just the new ride, shopping, and eatery. There are actually four of these around the lands with a few shorter line areas in the mix. This is where one of the bigger holdups for the Super Nintendo World comes in as they are out there for all, but you cannot truly access them unless you shell out the $40 USD more for the Power-Up Band in the park. It is a nice little souvenir to have but feels like a bit of a paywall to truly experience everything the new park has to offer up. Given that you need to scan the band to activate the experience, it is unclear if one would still be able to access it unless they have one. Not to mention that you can miss out on one of the better experiences in the park if you do not have one since beating each challenge gives you digital prizes and you need three of them to open up a secret area.
Diving into the experiences for Super Nintendo World, there is a Goomba challenge that has you turning a crank to knock one off a platform, another that is a whack-a-mole style game to turn off alarm clocks for a sleeping Piranha Plant, one where you need to flip digital blocks over to keep a Thwomp Block from coming down, and another where you need to time an explosion to attack a Koopa Troopa. They are nothing overly complicated, at first, and fun ways to kill a little time when not collecting digital coins too. I mention at first, since beating them once will unlock a harder mode and shake things up. This will flip back to easy once beating it all again. With each challenge completed gaining you a digital key to unlock the door to face off with Bowser Jr. in a fun shadow boxing kind of game hidden in the world.
So, after spending some time collecting the various keys and digital content in Super Nintendo World with the Power-Up Band, you can head over to a giant locked door in the park. You will need to have at least three keys to open the door and enter the area, but this is something you can grind out on any of the experiences above and do not require them to be specific ones. You just need three. This will then let you walk into Bowser Jr.'s area of the park to take in the various sights and Easter Eggs hidden within. All to culminate in a twelve-person game where your shadow is scanned in and projected onto a screen with a minute-long game coming into play. Something akin to many of the Kinect titles that we had in the early stages of that technology but with us fighting Bowser Jr. and various other Nintendo-based elements in the mix.
It may sound odder here for Super Nintendo World, but this will have you jumping, ducking, throwing fireballs, and dodging Bullet Bills so you can reclaim the stole Golden Mushroom from the kid. It is worth noting that there are various teases to this throughout the park too with the digital portraits and graffiti in the land. A nice build-up to an experience that makes it feel like you are truly in a Nintendo game out there. Given that the technology works, when tall enough for it, and little things like our shadow shrinking and growing based on damage and mushrooms picked up. All so we can culminate in more coins to collect and take with us once we leave the park at the end of the day. Something that can be used with various video games on the Switch for those still wondering why we need to collect all of these beyond just having something to do.
Have a look at how the Bowser Jr.’s Shadow Showdown plays out in the mix. Even though anyone that finds the three keys in the park can come in, you can see how some of the smaller guests will have a vastly different experience from those that are taller and bigger. You can also see how some of those fun gameplay elements play out too.
Super Nintendo World — Bowser Jr.’s Shadow Showdown
Now that we have this big experience in Super Nintendo World out of the way, we were able to head off and check out the bigger experience that is going to be the bigger draw to the park. This would be the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge which is an AR ride with some game elements mixed in. Yes, they will place a helmet and AR goggles on you when you and three others enter the kart and set out for the rage in the mix. A race that you can actually lose depending on how well you and the team do by shooting the various other racers and elements that show up in the ride. It is a little hard to show what the whole experience has to offer up, but I will try to explain even with the sensory overload that this whole ride gave me. There was way too much going on that it will lead to being a confusing experience, but here we go…
To start off, the AR goggles do place a nice overlay of the various tracks that we all know and love from the Nintendo title from so long ago and recently. It does it so well that it is hard to tell what was an actual prop on the track or part of the digital experience overlayed on the ride. That is until the goggle starts forcing you to look in specific directions, sometimes the wrong one, so you can aim with the helmet and shoot with the buttons on the steering wheel of the kart. That wheel is nothing more than a Power-Up Band scanner and buttons to press before you think you will be able to actually drive the kart in the race. That will all be done and managed outside of your control, which does include the various times you will hit banana peels and hit by the shells from other racers. Again, a bit of a hectic thing as unless you are looking directly at the right time, there is no true indication of what is going on.
There are a few little sections that do let the technology shine a bit, though. There are a few times you will be hit with ink in the face and then have to have something wipe it away. It feels as real as it could without actually being hit in the face. Then there are the track overlays, specifically the Rainbow Road, that feel like you have been perfectly transferred to the world and race in the digital space. They are amazing but sadly plagued by forcing you to play the game more like a first-person shooter and staring down more than being able to take the world in. As a game, I can understand it all working well. As a ride and attraction that is supposed to capture the wonder, it feels like it needs a lot of tweaking. It was still a fun experience, but felt like the line leading up to the ride was the bigger attraction than the ride itself. You can see that whole walk just a bit lower down if you are interested.
To wrap up the day and experiences out at the new Super Nintendo World, we set off to the 1-Up Store and then Toadstool Cafe. The first is the main gift shop in the land and then the other is the themed restaurant to experience and take a break with. We'll dig into that in a moment, but it was interesting to note that the specific giftshop of the land seemed to have a lighter selection of items than the ones out in the main park. We were able to find a few things outside of Super Nintendo World that were not housed there, but this could have been due to the fact that Universal Parks wanted to be able to sell it to all and not just those in the area before it opened. That means that you may not need to worry about making it all the way back here to just grab one or two things, as it was all available outside of the main park too.
Moving from merchandise to the food options, we move into another mixed bag of things for this Nintendo land. As one would assume and can see from our photo gallery, everything was perfectly themed and of a higher quality than most of the other food in the park. Having been to the various other locations myself, none of what we had felt like it was just basic reheated stuff from a massive freeze. My Mario Burger had the mustache grilled in, felt like I could have had it to order, and was way more filling than expected. The same went for the ?-Block tiramisu that not only tasted great but was perfectly themed. This of course will lead it all to be on the pricier side, so take note, and with how much extra work goes into it all, the public will ruin it quickly. Many of the flashier elements, like bowls and toppers, feel like they will only be around for a shorter bit until theft runs rampant and it is no longer cost-effective. I mean, they have a soup that is delivered in a full Power-Up mushroom that humans will go out of their way to steal when given a chance.
With all of that said, did we enjoy the new Super Nintendo World out there and will it be worth it for everyone else out there? As with everything, that will depend. It is worth going to in general at least once for sure. Even if you do not want to spend the extra on the Power-Up Band, there is a lot to see and the ride can be fun. The true experience comes in when you can get a Power-Up Band for everyone in your group, which can get costly. For a family on a vacation and not someone that can go with a season pass, it feels like it will be a bit of a waste for a one-time trip. It could just be how I see it, but it does feel like it is a way to pull more money out of the pockets to get the full experience of Super Nintendo World. Given that a family of four, not the average would need to pay an extra $120 USD on top of the price of admission, that can be a massive turnoff that is not completely apparent until you are fully in the area. If you go in knowing that, you will be able to kill many hours in the mix. If not, you can also find yourself being hit with the FOMO by missing the best experience the park has to offer up too.
Super Nintendo World — Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge Line Walk
The new Super Nintendo World at Universal Parks opened up to the public on February 17th, 2023. The crew was invited out by Universal Parks and supplied with Power-Up Bands and treated to the various food in the park.