Developer: Indiezero | Publisher: Nintendo | Played On: Wii U | Price: $14.99 | ESRB: Everyone [Mild Fantasy Violence]
When you have a back catalog as cherished and legendary as Nintendo’s, it only makes sense a game comes along to celebrate that storied history. NES Remix is a collection of “classic” Nintendo Entertainment System games broken up into small, objective based stages. I use the term classic loosely, because while Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda are bona fide classics, placing them in league with Golf or Pinball is a bit of a stretch. Fueled by nostalgia and featuring over 200 levels, NES Remix gives Nintendo fans a chance to play (or relive) an assortment of retro games, with a twist. Each of the games featured in NES Remix is broken up into challenges, similar to the NES themed mini-games from earlier WarioWare games. Instead of simply reaching the top of the screen in the original Donkey Kong you might have to jump over 10 barrels in a certain time limit to come out victorious; or take out 15 enemies in world 1-1 of Super Mario Bros.; or complete a lap of Excitebike without crashing using turbo boosts. After each stage you are given a rating out of three stars, encouraging you to play a stage to perfection. Collecting more stars and completing stages unlocks even more games to play, giving NES Remix that “just one more level” sort of feel.
The games included are really the crux to this package; your enjoyment of NES Remix will be proportional to your appreciation for the included games: Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Excitebike, and the original Mario Bros. to name a few. Jumping into a random zone from The Legend of Zelda and defeating Ghoma to collect the Triforce piece as fast as you can is still fun to this day and brings back plenty of wonderful memories. That said, if you didn’t play and enjoy these games already you’ll be baffled as to why they were included over other lauded NES greats. This is the problem I ran into with the less popular inclusions like Clu Clu Land (which I just so happen to be terrible at), Golf, and Pinball—they were a drag and bore in comparison to the others. More games and more challenges would have sweetened the deal even more, but as it stands there are enough games here to satiate every Nintendo fanboy out there.
Replaying some of Nintendo’s old games is fun, no doubt, but the best NES Remix has to offer are the titular remixed stages. For instance, you might have to play through the third level of Donkey Kong except you’re playing as Luigi and the entire level is flipped. A Balloon Fight stage has you navigating through a maze of deadly stars collecting bubbles, all the while the screen zooms in closer to make your task more arduous. These stages are the most fun; there are only fifty of these levels, though personally the whole game could be comprised of more levels like this and it would be an appreciated improvement. For better or worse each game included in the package are faithful ports of their original NES versions. Every sprite and every pixel ooze with a late 80s retro look. Simple sound effects and musical tracks retain their charm, and the controls for each game feel like they did on the original NES controller. So if you didn’t like any of these games back in their prime you’re not going to like them now, even with the twist to the gameplay.
NES Remix is such a simple concept yet it works exceedingly well. The challenges for each game are varied and fun and the sixteen included games to play with range from amazing to just alright. Remixed stages represent the greatest the game has to offer, playing Frankenstein with the Nintendo classics and mixing up elements from various games. The selection of games included is good but may leave you wanting more (Where is Metroid?). While your enjoyment of NES Remix is linked to how well you know or cherish the included classics, there is enough content here to for every Wii U owner to have hours of fun with some of the best Nintendo has to offer.
+ Fun new way to play a handful of NES classics
+ Fast and challenging gameplay
— Not all games included are winners
7.5 / 10