Challenge of the Mad Mage is an immersive attraction at Katmandu Park | Punta Cana, the Caribbean’s first world-class theme park. This 4D cinematic experience takes place inside ON!X Theater, a revolutionary attraction system that made its worldwide debut with the park’s opening in March 2023.
The guest’s journey begins in a dimly lit warehouse that’s dressed in Katmandu’s predominant steampunk aesthetic. Fully costumed staff greet visitors. Contained inside locked cages are rows of shipping crates, masks, board games, and miscellaneous spare mechanical parts that, together, paint a picture of something (or someone) that’s off-kilter.
Through a series of bilingual announcements, guests are introduced to the two main characters – Alvis the mad mage and his robot adversary. Alvis is a master strategist flaunting his unhealthy obsession with chess. He created the robot because he wanted a foe to play against, but now he seeks more worthy challengers. Perhaps these guests can fill that role, but first, they must choose a side. Alvis wants you to take the ice path, while the robot asks you to play with fire. Each side is respectively themed with these earthly elements. Careful observers will notice fun easter eggs in both lines. Guests pick up 3D glasses before moving into the 32-seat theater.
The guests are now players in Alvis’ twisted game, and they’re armed with blasters. Through media on the screen, they “ride up” an elevator shaft and enter a giant warehouse before loading into a Kingbot. A multidimensional chessboard comes to life as chessbots spawn into the environment, giving players targets to hit. At the end of the round, Alvis tells players to use their blasters to choose one of two realms, which, as a callback to the queue line, are fire and ice themed. Each option comes with its own seat animation profile, color, and effects. Players are given agency to select their path one more time before the robot selects the final realm, ignoring Alvis’ pleas in the process. A humdinger boss battle ensues, and spoiler alert, the audience defeats Alvis and his Kingbot!
At the end of the game, all players’ final scores are shown. If you landed a top-three spot, an avatar representing you will appear in the center of the screen, and if you created a BeyondME™ account before hopping into the attraction, your custom-made avatar will be displayed.
Challenge of the Mad Mage thrusts guests into the heart of the action while giving them an active role in the narrative. The seat’s four degrees of freedom – pitch, roll, heave, and sway – deliver a physical, ride like experience. The motion seat effects include air blasters, leg ticklers, back air bubbles, vibration, and strafe. Scents like mint and smoke are also pumped into the air at key moments.
Through a powerful 7.1 surround sound system, audio precisely follows characters and other elements. Additionally, sound was added to the seats to correspond with an individual player’s input.
Another critical piece of the ON!X Theater puzzle is the exceptionally accurate haptic blasters that are positionally tracked, which ensures precise aiming and interaction with the screen’s content. Speaking of that stereoscopic content, it’s seen in its most perfect form from any seat, thanks to a custom camera frustrum that produces the highest quality rendering possible.
ON!X Theater offers a freshly innovative way for guests to actively engage in a powerful, themed story. The first-of-its-kind attraction system caters to guests of all ages who appreciate intuitively designed player controls, surprising and meaningful special effects, competitive scoring with customized recognition, and dynamic gameplay.
The boundaries of interactive entertainment were pushed in this attraction due to the combination of a real-time engine and Challenge of the Mad Mage’s enthralling narrative. The result is a fluid, branching storyline and an incredibly immersive experience that stands out in the theme park world.