Alex Phillimore: (alex.phillimore-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2014-01-07 16:17:39
NES Remix is awesome!
NES Remix (Wii U) is good. So good, in fact, that I'm wondering what took Nintendo so long to put it together. After all, its concept is a no-brainer - introduce a bunch of challenge levels into classic NES titles that gradually ramp up in difficulty. Give the player a bucket-load of unlockables to work towards and different rankings depending on performance in a challenge and you have yourself a nostalgic compilation that appeals to anyone who played a video game console in the 80s (plus anyone else looking for a 'hardcore' experience).
The challenges in NES Remix are a mixed bag, mainly due to the fact that the games they're based off of vary in quality, but most are at least shaped in a way that makes them entertaining. The Super Mario Bros. stages are the best, in my opinion - there are loads of them and they see the player doing anything from dashing through a stage on a time limit to leaping on invisible platforms as the lights go on and off. Other highlights include challenges from The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong. While not all of the games are great - I hate the Mario Bros. levels with a passion and the Pinball stages are utterly forgettable - all present a challenge. Some of the later Balloon Fight challenges have me gnawing on my nails in despair.
It's easy to look at NES Remix as a concession to gamers who grew up with Nintendo and may wish to relive some of those classic moments, and to that end it is largely successful. I have seen a couple of critical reviews of the game that suggest that you might as well just play those original games rather than pick up NES Remix - I disagree; NES Remix isn't trying to replicate those games as much as it's building upon their mechanics. Back in the day, friends may have challenged one another to get to the flag pole in a Mario stage in 30 seconds - NES Remix formalizes this opportunistic form of gameplay by setting specific parameters and offering tangible rewards for your accomplishments.
At its low price, NES Remix is a surprisingly meaty package: I sank hours into it, and some specific challenges took a good 30-40 minutes to complete, as I had to keep replaying them over and over again to get the best ranking. Some gamers won't appreciate NES Remix's core premise - it's a glorified challenge mode that serves difficulty junkies more than anyone else. However, if you are the kind of compulsive gamer who wants to prove that you can finish an Excitebike lap in record time and post that accomplishment to other players over the Miiverse, NES Remix is an absolutely essential purchase - both whimsically nostalgic and aesthetically modern, it's the best of both worlds and one of the most addictive titles currently available on the Wii U eShop. I would love to see this become an entire mini-franchise - SNES Remix and N64 Remix would be glorious.