Get ready to ride an interactive minecart coaster and shop at Funky Kong’s store.

Pretty much as soon as the Super Nintendo World area opened at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, everyone knew that future expansions were coming. The initial area was focused solely on Super Mario, and while it’s the game maker’s biggest franchise, the whole Super Nintendo World name implied that it was a question of when, not if, we’d see other Nintendo series represented as well.

This week, USJ gave us an answer, as it showed off the first concept images of Super Nintendo World’s upcoming Donkey Kong Country expansion, and also revealed some of what we can expect in terms of its attractions.

▼ Preview video for Donkey Kong Country at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan

The video suggests that we’ll be able to walk directly from the Mushroom Kingdom into Donkey Kong Country, which gels with the preliminary map that was shown when the expansion was first announced in 2021. On the right side as we enter the jungle nation in the teaser video, fans will spot a sign for Funky’s Fly ‘n’ Buy, a shop converted from a cargo plane that sells usable items in the Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze video game, but will probably sell souvenirs to visitors to USJ.

Also previewed in the video is Donkey Kong Country’s flagship attraction, a roller coaster based on the minecart levels from Donkey Kong Country and later installments in the series. According to USJ, this will be an interactive experience (like the Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride) in which riders/players will be chased by enemies trying to steal their bananas, which must be protected, and the video suggests that there will be both outdoor and indoor sections of the track.

USJ also announced that it will be adding Donkey Kong versions to the lineup of Power-Up Bands, the wristband devices used to interact with parts of the environment at Super Nintendo World. Looking at the preview video, there’s a line of drums prominently shown, and considering that there’s an entire series of Donkey Kong rhythm games about banging on conga drums (Donkey Konga), it seems like a given that Power Up-Band wearers can earn some sort of points from them, just like they can from punching the Question Mark Blocks in Super Nintendo World’s Mushroom Kingdom.

Donkey Kong Country will be slightly smaller than the Mushroom Kingdom, but their combined area will expand the size of Super Nintendo World by about 70 percent, so it’s not an insignificant expansion either. An exact grand opening date is yet to be announced, but Universal Studios Japan says Donkey Kong Country will be ready to receive guests in the spring of 2024, and with Japan’s Golden Week vacation season overlapping the end of April and start of May, it’s a safe bet that the goal is for the new area to be open by then.

Source: Jiji, IT Media
Top image: Universal Studios Japan
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