The original NES Remix was a pleasant surprise from Nintendo, a unique way for them to once more mine their expansive archives for classic games, but also offer them in a quick fire presentation, not unlike Intelligent Systems’ WarioWare series.
The premise is so very simple, yet so very well executed: rather than being offered carte blanche access to a series of classic NES games in their entirety, you take part in bite-sized segments of gameplay, while given a specific instruction to carry out, such as collecting 10 coins in Super Mario Bros. 3, or uppercut Von Kaiser in Punch-Out!!.
While the first Remix focused on the early years of the Nintendo Entertainment System, this time around we’re mainly looking at the later years of the console’s life, all the way up to its final game, Wario’s Woods. While there aren’t as many games on show here as in the predecessor, the overall package contains games of a far better quality, including Metroid, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, Dr. Mario, Kirby’s Adventure, Kid Icarus, NES Open Tournament Golf, Ice Hockey, Wario’s Woods, Zelda II and Punch-Out!!.
Rather than offer demonstration videos that talk you through the basic controls of each game, this second Remix takes a different approach, with the initial challenges of each game showing you the ropes, and gradually introducing abilities and gameplay aspects that are needed to tackle some of the later challenges. Completing challenges in faster times will mean better rankings and more points, which unlock special stamps for use in the Miiverse.
But the real draw here are the Remix challenges themselves, wherein the NES games we know and love have been warped, twisted and mashed up. Play as Link, trying to collect coins in one of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Level’s hidden areas, or try to finish one of Super Mario Bros. 3’s trickier platforming levels, while ignoring the two clone Mario’s either side of the one you’re controlling. These different takes on old favourites are challenging, funny or just plain cool, with some very clever and imaginative stages.
Should you own the original NES Remix, you’ll get a new Championship Mode, a slightly amended version of the original Nintendo World Championships from 1990, where you must collect 50 coins in Super Mario Bros., 25 coins in Super Mario Bros. 3 and beat the high score in Dr. Mario – all within a rather strict time limit. While not quite the real life version of the Championship, which featured Super Mario Bros., Tetris and Square’s Rad Racer, this mode is a welcome challenge for anyone who considers themselves a NES master, although it would have been nice for there to be some other Championship sets, rather than the same three.
The final part of NES Remix 2, is Super Luigi Bros. This is a simple hack of the original Super Mario Bros. in its entirely, only the whole game is reversed. Even if you’ve played and finished the game so many times, playing it backwards can be surprisingly tricky. Although another version of the original Super Mario Bros. is no longer the selling point it once was, this is a simple addition that rounds off the package nicely.
VERDICT: A love letter to the Nintendo Entertainment System and a wonderful introduction or reintroduction for gamers of all ages, NES Remix 2 expands on the entertaining original by providing challenges based on some of the best first-party games ever released on the system, making it a more complete package than its predecessor. It’s the kind of game that no-one else but Nintendo could create, and I only hope a Game Boy or SNES Remix is next on the agenda.
VERY GOOD. An 8/10 is only awarded to a game we consider truly worthy of your hard-earned cash. This game is only held back by a smattering of minor or middling issues and comes highly recommended.
Review code provided by publisher.