8 things to know about Super Nintendo World before heading to Universal Studios

Super Nintendo World has opened its doors (bending tube) at Universal Studios Hollywood, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the world of Mario, the Italian plumber with a heart of gold who appears to be battling a giant demonic turtle. time again.

The creative team at Universal Studios and the team at Nintendo worked together to create one of the most immersive theme park experiences yet – yes, more than Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and even Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Walking through Super Nintendo World feels like an authentic trip into the Mario video game franchise, which in reality is a lush, colorful, cartoon-looking world filled with ? blocks, piranha plants, giant mushrooms and even a Mario Kart ride.

“If you look at it, even when we create a movie or experience or anything else, we work with the filmmakers, we work with the actual actors, we work with the directors and writers and our feature film team, so authenticity is essential to everything. . we do because otherwise it’s kind of cheating,” Universal Creative Vice President Jon Corfino told GameSpot. And Super Nintendo World was no different. Rather than working with filmmakers, though, Universal collaborated directly with Nintendo to bring this world to life.

Before you jump in the pipe and head to the Mushroom Kingdom though, there are a few things you need to know about visiting Super Nintendo World – things that could greatly impact your trip, along with some tips and tricks to unlock an even better time when you walk through Peach’s castle into the world. Take a look below.

1. It’s a living video game

Something you should know by now that isn’t being talked about as much as it should is that Super Nintendo World is a living video game. What does that mean? While the Mario Kart ride is certainly the star of the land, there’s a lot more going on.

Throughout the land, there are a series of four different minigames built into their environment. They range from a touchscreen color-changing game, to specifically timing hitting POW blocks to getting a Koopa Troopa projectile into the right position. As you beat each challenge, you earn a key, and if you gather three of them, you can unlock Bowser Jr.’s castle door. to the final showdown – a boss stage.

This is very different from anything we’ve seen in theme parks so far. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has now incorporated bounty hunting into the Play Disney Parks app, which is a fun distraction. It’s nowhere near the level of what’s happening in Super Nintendo World, though. What’s more, this Mario-filled land has a level of replayability that makes it worth coming back for.

2. There is a hard mode

The first time around, the minigames aren’t that difficult. They are all physical but relatively easy. However, if you beat them, get ready for a challenge. All games – except the sleeping Piranha plant – come equipped with a hard mode. So the next time you play these games, whether on the same visit or in the future, you’ll be presented with a harder difficulty. For example, there’s a touchscreen game where you tap on multiple ? displayed blocks to change them from yellow to blue. In the hardest setting, Bowser Jr. throws some extra obstacles in your way, making the game more dramatic.

It’s touches like this that make Super Nintendo World such an interesting addition to today’s lineup of immersive theme park attractions. It’s asking you to go deeper, get more involved, and to put it simply, get well.

3. Yes, Power-Up bands are very important

How do you get good without tracking your score? While it’s easy to dismiss Super Nintendo World’s power-up bands as the Super Mario equivalent of Wizarding World’s magic wands, you shouldn’t. Each band connects to the Universal Studios app via a QR code, allowing you to track the coins and achievements you earn over time in Super Nintendo World.

Do you earn keys for winning games, coins for punching? blocks anywhere you see them (and defeating Bowser Jr.) and “stickers” to make just about anything around the earth. There’s a long list of achievements that award digital stickers for everything from meeting Mario and Luigi to getting the top score on the Mario Kart ride. While this won’t give you any prizes on earth, there are leaderboards on display for both teams and individuals. Plus, it’s honestly fun to compete with a friend to see who can gather the most coins and stickers.

And if that’s not enough, the bands also act as Amiibos for your Nintendo Switch. With them you can, for example, unlock special costumes in Mario Kart.

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4. The tour is the first of its kind

With the release of The Secret Life of Pets Unleashed, Universal Studios has struck back against criticism that the parks are too focused on screen-based “simulator” rides. With Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, a new type of ride is launched. Yes, it still has screens – like Transformers, it’s a dark ride with screens – however, it’s also filled with physical objects and, most notably, augmented reality. During the ride, you wear glasses that add animated characters and objects from the Mario Kart series, creating a real race. You can even throw items at your AR opponents in an attempt to vanquish them and save the Mushroom Kingdom. It might be the only real ride in Super Nintendo World (for now), but it’s a good one.

5. It’s a tight fit

Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to ride. Surely, you’ve seen the reports that the seats are quite restrictive for larger individuals, with 40-inch waistlines being stated as the limit. The good news is that everyone is different and even some people with a waist larger than 40 inches will be able to ride. The bad news is that everyone is different, so even some with a waist smaller than 40 inches may have trouble fitting in.

Fortunately, Universal Studios installed a test seat at the entrance to the ride, tucked away in a right-hand corner. The biggest problem, though, is that parks continue to design ride-on vehicles without the average American in mind, which is troubling. Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge and the aforementioned Secret Life of Pets Unleashed are both fairly slow and safe rides with seating that is more restrictive than many roller coasters – including Disney’s latest Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. There’s no need for seating to be so restrictive, and for many in the park, that will mean missing out on the two most promising glimpses of the park’s future.

6. Almost all food has mushrooms

Yes, there is a themed restaurant, the Toadstool Cafe, where Chef Toad and his mushroom kitchen prepare a variety of foods, from the most original for a theme park (cheeseburgers) to something unique (mushroom soup served in a mushroom power up from Mario’s world.) After tasting everything, we can say that there isn’t really a bad dish in the bunch, except possibly for the mushroom-shaped garlic knots, which were quite dry.

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What’s interesting about the food is the amount of thought put into including mushrooms in various dishes. Even the tomato soup (yes, this place has two different soups, which is weird in very hot California) has a slice of mushroom on top. It makes sense to include mushrooms in the menu, but it seems so non-standard for theme parks. Still, it works, and as it turns out, the mushroom soup is the best thing on the menu. And for dessert, don’t sleep on Mt. Beanpole cake, which is actually two pieces of Neapolitan cake with matcha frosting made to represent the end of a level in a Super Mario game – complete with a take-home plastic flagpole.

7. There are Easter eggs everywhere

Chances are, almost everything you see on earth is some kind of Easter egg. There are hidden spaces, characters, and items scattered throughout the land. Queuing for Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge takes you to King Koopa’s castle and his workshop to see how Bob-Ombs and Bullet Bills are made, along with a variety of other references to the game franchise. However, also keep an eye out for Pikmin scattered across the land.

8. Unfortunately, queues will detract from the experience

While the live video game of a theme park experience is awesome, it’s not huge either. Universal Studios Hollywood is already short on space due to it being built on a working film and TV studio. That said, as fun as the minigames were when we tried them out on press day, the land was sparsely populated and had no lines to speak of. Now that it’s open to the world, that’s no longer the case. Each of the minigames has a queue, just like the ride, and that’s after you’ve waited to arrive at your virtual queue reservation time. So even though it’s a smaller area, you’ll end up spending a lot of time in line. As long as you properly prepare to wait (bring a switch) you should be fine.

Super Nintendo World is now open at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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