NES Remix 2 Wii U Review
Nintendo knows it has a legacy in its huge back catalogue of historic games, so what better way to have a blast to the past than to use some of these classics and throw them into a mini-game compilation. That’s what the original NES Remix was supposed to be, but the title was lacking in its choice of games and challenges. It felt like a prototype – a sample – to see if there was a crowd for that stuff. Well there was, but that crowd wanted a better game in this style, so this is where Nintendo comes along with NES Remix 2, probably the fastest sequel Nintendo has ever released.
There may be a smaller selection of games in NES Remix 2, but the mixture is more focused on popular titles, the ones that most people remember when it comes to found memories of the Nintendo Entertainment System. After participating in your first remix game, you’re then introduced to the masterpiece that is Super Mario Bros. 3, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros. 2, Kirby’s Adventure and Wario’s Woods. As you systematically make your way through the challenges and earn stars other games unlock, such as Punch-Out, Metroid and even Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (we all know you love that one).
For people who have already played NES Remix, you’ll totally have an idea how NES Remix 2 plays, as it’s the same concept, but being used in different NES titles. Each one of the 169 challenges is a bite size section from one of these games, often requiring you to do something within a specific amount of time. These challenges fit into two categories, remixes, which sit under the remix title, and challenges that are devoted to that specific game and fall under the game’s tab in the menu. Game challenges are sections taken from whichever game it falls under and gives the player a task to accomplish in a specific amount of time, such as defeating Bowser as Frog Mario in Super Mario Bros. 3, climbing vertically up to the exit without taking damage in Super Mario Bros. 2, landing three punches while avoiding Piston Hondo’s attacks in Punch-Out, and collecting the Morph Ball in Metroid and using it. Young newcomers might wonder why Metroid can’t crawl, but NES Remix 2 will make sure they know she can roll, as it subliminally teaches how to play these old Nintendo games through the challenges, while building the knowledge required to beat the remix levels.
It’s interesting that Nintendo took this approach, because there’s no sort of tutorial in this game, something Nintendo has been throwing into its game design to cater for the new crowd it gained during the Wii-era. Even the first NES Remix had a gameplay demonstration for each of the games, which is absent in this sequel. NES Remix 2 begins by making the player do simple challenges, letting them figure out the controls, while a message sits at the top of the screen during the challenge that shows an important button, such as “hold X to run” for sprinting in Super Mario Bros. 3. As the challenges get harder, the games in use throw more of their mechanics into the mix, such as how the star power-up allows Mario to sprint faster, showing that you can only get another star if you’re good at jumping over obstacles on a path made up of killer snappers . This design lets the game throw challenges from the get go and the player can participate in them without having to take time away to watch a boring tutorial video learning them how to play.
The remix section of the game crosses the characteristic of the challenges, but puts them under their own section, due to the remixes blending various parts of the featured games together as one or modifying the gameplay to something that wasn’t featured in the original title. Examples of this include using Kirby to suck the blocks placed in a stage from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and pick up all the coins, ice skating Mario in a snow/ice level in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (along with a new winter themed Mario tune) to get to the goal post, forced to use the Morph ball in Metroid and traversing to the bottom of the chasm without taking damage, or get to the end of an airship stage in Super Mario Bros. 3 as invincible Princess Peach and take out Boom Boom. Not all the challenges and remixes are great, some of the earlier ones can be a bit of a drag for hardcore enthusiasts who have played these games to death, but the further you get into the game, the more these remixes become the best area of the package, and it’s great to see what twists and imaginative ideas Nintendo has come up with when modifying their own games from 24+ years ago.
NES Remix 2 includes a three star rating system that is based on how fast the challenge is completed. If you manage to do it at an incredible pace, you’ll gain a rainbow colour around the stars to symbol this achievement. On top of this, each challenge has a video saved for the best time, allowing you to see just how you did that. A huge bummer is that there isn’t a leaderboard for these games, which seems stupid in a game that is completely based around how fast you complete a stage. You can, of course, post these times to Nintendo’s own social media, Miiverse, to gloat how well you did or let other people laugh at your poor scores, along with using stamps, but this isn’t a replacement for a leaderboard.
As a nice bonus, Nintendo has put in Super Luigi Bros. a twist on the formula of the original Super Mario Bros. only this time you play as Luigi with all his floaty mechanics, but the levels are also changed to be played from right to left, instead of the genre’s trademarked left to right. It’s kind of strange how a switch in direction can cause yourself to have to readjust to the game. It’s not something to scream about, but it’s a cool little extra to have once you have made your way through the game’s challenges.
If you own the first NES Remix, then you’ll get a Championship Mode that is inspired by the Nintendo World Championships that happened in 1990. It includes one challenge that was the same as that event, collect 50 coins in Super Mario Bros., but the other two, Rad Racer and Tetris, have been replaced by other games. A shame that it couldn’t’ be the exact copy, but it does make you wonder if we will see third party representations in any sequels that follow up to NES Remix 2. I’d love to see Mega Man, Duck Tales, Final Fantasy, Contra, and Bionic Commando all get a twist on their gameplay. I can just vision Mad Dog shooting up Bowser in one of the challenges, the idea sounds great. The Championship Mode is also the only place where a leaderboard is used, which just makes it a bit of a kick in the teeth that they couldn’t go out of their way to do one for each challenge.
NES Remix 2 is a better attempt at doing bite size challenges of NES games by expanding the quality of the games included. The challenges are mostly better, but it does still suffer from having more normal challenges that feel like participating in a demo of the game, rather than the better designed remixes that are the real beauty of this product. NES Remix 2 is a fun title that lets Nintendo fans reminiscent about the past greats on Nintendo’s first home console without having to play the whole game or dig out old hardware to bring back those fond memories. So, Nintendo, how about that SNES Remix?