Despite owning various consoles beforehand, the NES was where I really cut my teeth when it came to gaming. Super Mario Bros., Marble Madness, Metroid – these were but a few of the titles that ignited my passion for the industry, and why I still have a soft spot for Nintendo. It’s also why I was thrilled when NES Remix was announced for the Wii U. A challenge based game featuring loads of NES classics? Surely there’s no way this could go wrong!
Unfortunately the results are a bit hit and miss.
Available on the Nintendo eShop, NES Remix features 16 NES games to choose from (including the likes of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong), with each one being broken down into a number of challenges. Those who have experienced the Wario Ware games will be right at home here, as in NES Remix the player is set a task and given a fixed time to do it in. For example, stomp on five Goombas in Super Mario Bros., or pop a certain number of balloons in Balloon Fight.
At the end of each level the player is ranked, with one star being the worst, and three stars being the best (there are also special rainbow stars for doing really well). Completing challenges for a certain game will unlock a further level, with the difficultly ramping up as you progress.
The better you do, the more “Bits” you collect, which will unlock stamps (as found in Super Mario 3D World) that allow you to post comments in the Miiverse. You’ll also unlock Remix levels, which take scenarios from the various NES games and add a little twist, like having to complete a level of Super Mario Bros. in the dark, or on a mirrored level. Later Remix levels even have game crossovers, with Link appearing in Donkey Kong!
At its best, NES Remix is an incredibly addictive blast from the past that manages to capture that “just one more go” vibe perfectly. Being able to restart a level instantly also aids this, and the bite sized nature of each challenge means that a lot of the technical limitations from the 8 bit era can be overlooked.
However, my main issue with NES Remix is that quite a number of the games included are just so poor, which is such a shame given the huge back catalogue Nintendo have at their disposal. Whilst games such as Super Mario Bros. and Excitebike have stood the test of time reasonably well others, like Urban Champion, are just dire. I certainly found myself gritting my teeth or sighing in disappointment a fair amount.
In terms of the visuals and audio, there isn’t too much to say. The games have been spruced up slightly, and you’ll find yourself humming along to tunes you probably won’t have heard for years, yet are still ingrained in your memory.
I can’t help feel disappointed with NES Remix. The idea is sound, and one that has been proven to work many times before, but in my opinion the choice of games really sours the experience. Off the top of my head I can think of many, far more worthy games that could have been included (Duck Hunt, anyone?), but failed to make the cut for whatever reason.
It feels like for every game that leaves you smiling and wanting more, there are two that leave you cold. It’s a real shame, as there is a wealth of content on offer, but a lot of it you might not want to see.