Nintendo is, and always will be, sitting on an absolute gold mine of gaming treasures. It knows this, obviously, so we get to play classics from yesteryear via the Virtual Console, and more recently, via mash ups like NES Remix, which made its debut on the Wii U in 2013. NES Remix was quickly followed by NES Remix 2, and now, Ultimate NES Remix on 3DS. Not heard of NES Remix, before? Well, take a host of NES classics, jumble them up, extract the best bits, add in a nice dollop of added challenge and there you have it, all the ingredients needed for NES Remix.
Ultimate NES Remix features 16 Nintendo classics in all. The original Super Mario Bros., Dr. Mario, Donkey Kong, Excitebike, and The Legend of Zelda all feature, amongst many others, in bite size quick fire challenges designed to test even the most hardened Nintendo fan. The bulk of gameplay is made up of game specific challenges that are designed to test your skills with a particular game,for example, “Jump over 10 barrels in Donkey Kong”, or “Collect all the Coins before the time runs out in Super Mario Bros.” – or even “Complete a lap without crashing in Excitebike”. The NES classics on show in these bitesize pieces of joy are the untouched versions, just as you remember them from the late 80s and early 90s – the only difference being that you are thrown into a random point of the game and tasked with completing a challenge.
It would have been nice to layer up the sprites and take advantage of some cheap 3D, but Ultimate NES Remix doesn’t suffer for not having a 3D option. Each of the included 16 games has around 15 stages for you take on, each of which can have up to three individual challenges. Players are given a star rating based on how long it took to complete a challenge, with up to three stars on offer for each stage (and an extra glittery rating for those who complete a stage really fast). These starts are used to unlock more stages and challenges elsewhere in the game.
I won’t shy away from adoring the Nintendo early years, but I will readily admit that a lot of games from the NES generation have lost their edge in 2014. Sitting down in front of Metroid, Kirby, or Excitebike these days for a proper play session, is just dull. Remix takes these games, throws you in, slaps a silly challenge on the screen (probably with a time limit) and asks you to roll with it. It makes you look at these aging classics in a new light, and suddenly their drab play mechanics become works of pure genius, as you must master them if you are to attain the all important three star rating, and march on to the top of the Ultimate NES Remix leaderboard.
The cherry on top of the Ultimate cake is the inclusion of the NES Remix stages from both Remix 1 and 2. The NES Remix stages take levels from the included games and alter them so they aren’t quite as you remember. One of the early stages see’s you controlling Mario in Donkey Kong, with the whole screen blacked out except for a small part which is lit up by a flashlight. So, with only Mario visible, you need to reach the top of the level (avoiding barrels en-route) and save the princess. Tough stuff. Another level has Mario permanently running through one of the flying fish stages in Super Mario Bros., with your only control coming through the jump button. Again, a real challenge. The levels go a step further to breathing new life into these gaming staples, forcing you to look at them with fresh eyes and new perspective.
The package is rounded off nicely with the addition of the complete version of Super Mario Bros. – which sounds nice enough until you learn that it has been sped up. The “Speed Super Mario Bros.” game features leaderboards and is a speed-runner’s delight. Also included is Championship Mode, which features three challenges from three different games. Your score for the three challenges is combined to create an aggregate score which will be placed on a leaderboard, just so you can see how rubbish you are, and force you to try again to get a little higher up. The Championship Mode challenges will be refreshed periodically, adding a little more longevity to an already generous package.
Ultimate NES Remix brings the terrific NES Remix series to the 3DS, making the leap from console to mobile with consummate ease. Ultimate NES Remix feels right at home on 3DS, with the variety and challenge breathing new life into some of Nintendo’s most iconic titles. I don’t think it matters who you are: if you like video games, you will love Ultimate NES Remix.
The new take on some Nintendo classics.
Huge amount of content.
Great fan service.
No 3D option.