Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge
Universal Studios Japan
AreaSuper Nintendo World
Coordinates34°40′05″N 135°25′50″E / 34.6679417°N 135.4305455°E / 34.6679417; 135.4305455
Soft opening dateFebruary 2, 2021 (2021-02-02)
Opening dateMarch 18, 2021 (2021-03-18)
Universal Studios Hollywood
AreaSuper Nintendo World
Soft opening dateJanuary 12, 2023 (2023-01-12)
Opening dateFebruary 17, 2023 (2023-02-17)[1]
Universal Epic Universe
AreaSuper Nintendo World
StatusUnder construction
Opening dateSummer 2025[2]
Ride statistics
Attraction typeAugmented Reality Dark Ride
ManufacturerMTS Systems Corporation
DesignerUniversal Creative
ThemeMario Kart 8
Vehicle typeBus-Bar Vehicle
Riders per vehicle4
Riders per row2
Height restriction40 in (102 cm)
Single rider line available
Must transfer from wheelchair

Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge (known in Japan as Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge[a]) is an augmented reality dark ride that serves as the anchor attraction of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood, with an upcoming version at Universal Epic Universe. The ride is primarily based on the Mario Kart 8 video game.


The layout and details of the attraction were revealed across several years worth of leaked photographs, patents, and construction.[3][4] Universal confirmed the attraction via the "We Are Born to Play" music video on January 13, 2020, but official details were still kept to a minimum.[5] The attraction was then formally unveiled on November 30, 2020.[6] The attraction opened alongside Universal Studios Japan's Super Nintendo World on March 18, 2021.[7][8]

The ride, alongside the rest of Universal Studios Japan, was temporarily closed on April 25, 2021, amid rising concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic;[9] the park reopened in June of the same year, maintaining enhanced health and safety protocols.[10][11]

The ride in Universal Studios Hollywood officially opened on February 17, 2023.[1] Another clone of the ride was announced for Universal Epic Universe scheduled to open in Summer 2025.[2]

Ride description[edit]


The ride's exterior and queue are modeled after Bowser's Castle. The queue gradually reveals that the ride's plot involves "Team Bowser" (Bowser and the Koopalings) challenging "Team Mario" (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Toad, and Yoshi) to the "Universal Cup."[12]


Guests are given the augmented reality's visors and enter the first pre-show room, which features Lakitu and Mii characters showing how to put on and adjust the visor. Guests then enter the second pre-show room, filled with replicas of Mii outfits from Mario Kart 8. Here, Lakitu explains the ride vehicles and the shooting gallery-esque gameplay:

The four-person vehicles (modeled after "karts" from Mario Kart 8) follow a set path on a railtrack. Guests attach the AR visors to the AR lenses in the vehicles, to view the Mario characters racing alongside them. Guests rotate their AR-wearing heads around to aim their Koopa Shell ammo, and press a button on their steering wheel to fire the shells at characters within the augmented reality. Guests accumulate points during the ride by successfully hitting the "Team Bowser" characters with their shells. If all four riders turn their wheels in unison at certain turns, they'll "drift" into the turn, earning more points.[12]


After leaving the boarding station, the ride vehicles turn into a corner where guests can practice aiming and firing in the augmented reality before heading to the starting line.

The ride then takes guests through a variety of locations from Mario Kart 8, including: N64 Royal Raceway, GBA Mario Circuit, 3DS Piranha Plant Slide, Dolphin Shoals, Twisted Mansion, Cloudtop Cruise, Wii Grumble Volcano, and N64 Rainbow Road.[13] If riders collectively earn 100 points, the ride ends with "Team Mario" winning the race. However, if riders don't accumulate enough points, they'll see an alternate ending where "Team Bowser" wins.

Point tallies are shown at the end of the ride, similar to Toy Story Mania.[14] If guests scan their Power-Up Band against the steering wheel, they can log and keep track of their high-score for the ride on the official Universal Studios smartphone applications.[12]


The ride has received mixed reception from critics. The attraction has been praised for its innovative technology, intricate theming, detailed sets, and special effects. However, it has also been criticized for moving at a slow pace, since the attraction is based on a high-speed racing franchise, and the AR lenses offering a narrow view of the characters.[15][16]


  1. ^ Japanese: マリオカート 〜クッパの挑戦状〜, Hepburn: Mario Kāto: Kuppa no Chōsenjō


  1. ^ a b Parker, Ryan (December 14, 2022). "Universal Studios Hollywood Announces Opening Date for Super Nintendo World". PEOPLE. Dotdash Meredith. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Stella, Alicia (January 2, 2023). "Everything We Know About Epic Universe: Super Nintendo Word". Theme Park Stop. Theme Park Stop LLC. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  3. ^ "Rumour: Super Nintendo World Rides And Layout Potentially Revealed In "Leaked" Images". Nintendo Life. July 8, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  4. ^ "Mario Kart- Articles". Orlando ParkStop. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  5. ^ Tuttle, Brittani (January 14, 2020). "Universal Studios Japan reveals new Super Nintendo World details". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  6. ^ Glenn, Brian. "Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan to open February 4, 2021". Inside Universal. Retrieved November 23, 2022.
  7. ^ Steen, Emma. "Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Japan today". Time Out Tokyo. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "Super Nintendo World opens in Japan after Covid delays". BBC News. March 18, 2021. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  9. ^ "Super Nintendo World Forced To Close Just One Month After Opening". Nintendo Life. April 23, 2021. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  10. ^ "Super Nintendo World In Japan Has Officially Reopened". Nintendo Life. June 8, 2021. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  11. ^ "Super Nintendo World Reopens Following COVID-19 Closure In April". ScreenRant. June 8, 2021. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Nilghe, Chris (January 4, 2023). "Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge Review at Super Nintendo World". TDR Explorer. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  13. ^ Carpenter, Nicole (November 30, 2020). "Super Nintendo World theme park opens Feb. 4 — see the new Mario Kart ride". Polygon. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  14. ^ Orland, Kyle (November 30, 2020). "AR Mario Kart anchors Universal's Super Nintendo World in February". Ars Technica. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  15. ^ Robson, Daniel (March 23, 2021). "Super Nintendo World Review". IGN. Retrieved December 25, 2022.
  16. ^ GameCentral (April 2, 2021). "Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge review - the biggest ride at Super Nintendo World". Metro. Retrieved December 25, 2022.

External links[edit]