Now These are the Remixed Games I Remember
NES Remix was a celebration. It allowed people to rejoice in their love for classic NES games, attempt to prove their old school skills remained intact, and, most importantly, have an excuse to visit the Wii U eShop. It was a delight to see 16 of the games we grew up with again, especially when Nintendo and indieszero went to the trouble of introducing new, remixed levels that offered different challenges, new graphics and sometimes unexpected mashups.
Given the size of the NES library and the way NES Remix was received, a sequel was assured. Now, it’s here, and in many ways, NES Remix 2 is even better than its predecessor. It absolutely offers more incentive to return to the Wii U and reminisce about the games we’ve loved, especially since this collection of titles is stronger. Yet, it still falls a bit short due to emulation issues, an even smaller compilation of games, and continued absence of a multiplayer mode.
Though, it’s difficult to be critical of NES Remix 2 ‘s assortment of single player games, even though this time only 12 games are available. I’m willing to forgive that, considering what games we get this time around. While the original NES Remix had some titles that felt like filler and entirely too many Donkey Kong titles, NES Remix 2 gets into the thick of it with some of the console’s best games. This time, we get Dr. Mario, Ice Hockey, Kid Icarus, Kirby’s Adventure, Mario Open Golf, Metroid, Punch-Out!!, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Wario’s Woods, and Zelda II: The Adventures of Link . While there were times in NES Remix where I felt forced to play an older game I didn’t really love, each NES Remix 2 title felt like going back to an old friend. These are the games I knew and loved, and I’m more than willing to sacrifice quantity in the name of quality.
As expected, there’s a difficulty progression in place with NES Remix 2 . Each game gets between 6 and 16 challenges, while the Remix categories each offer 20 levels. The first few levels are a general introduction to the game, with the first levels in both Kirby’s Adventure and Wario’s Woods actually asking players to watch a tutorial to learn how to play. Each challenge grows more difficult, so players aren’t immediately jumping into something they aren’t ready to handle. The last level often has people facing the game’s final boss, with Metroid even asking a person to defeat Mother Brain and escape in 999 seconds before a bomb explodes. It’s encouraging, especially since it can feel like you’re learning skills as you’re completing each level.
Naturally, this isn’t the case with the remixed levels. These are unlocked as stars are earned from completing the level challenges for each of the 12 games and are more of a free-for-all. Though, I must admit that it felt like the quality of the remix levels was improved in NES Remix 2 . There seemed to be more variety and challenge, not to mention the remixes felt more unique. A few of the NES Remix levels didn’t feel like they really added all that much to the NES games, but here almost every level felt like a new experience that enhanced the original game. I have to admit, my favorite was the recreation of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as an endless runner. All of these incredible NES games and their remixed versions really make NES Remix 2 special.
Though, NES Remix 2 is notable for another reason as well. It marks the end of the Year of Luigi, thanks to the inclusion of Super Luigi Bros. Perhaps Nintendo heard NES Remix players’ criticism when it came to the lack of any full games, but Super Luigi Bros. offers a different look at the original Super Mario Bros. Luigi is going through Super Mario Bros. , but the entire game is mirrored as Luigi runs to the left. Also, Luigi can jump higher than Mario. Naturally, this means that players have to get used to two new gameplay elements. It’s a novel way to end the year and offer a little extra oomph to NES Remix 2 . Sharp eyed players, however, will often see Luigi appear in the background of other games’ levels too.
My only lament is that when the going gets tough, NES Remix 2 slows to a crawl. The most challenging Metroid levels are the most egregious offenders, though Mario Brothers 2, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, Kid Icarus, and even Kirby’s Adventure can fall victim to the same trap. The second multiple enemies or effects appear on screen, the action slows down. I have to admit, I even attempted to see if I could “break” the game during one of the final Metroid challenges, where Samus has to defeat 3 Metroids within a certain amount of time. The lag was so atrocious that I feared NES Remix 2 would crash. (It didn’t.)
It’s problematic because it’s so distracting. I wouldn’t, couldn’t focus on the challenges in front of me. It was as though NES Remix 2 had stacked the deck against me, because I wasn’t just attempting to reach a goal in a certain amount of time. I was also trying to deal with the lag. There was a similar issue in the original NES Remix , mostly in Super Mario Bros. , and it’s a shame Nintendo didn’t address the emulation issues for the sequel.
Fortunately, it doesn’t cause any problems for the newly added Championship Mode, which is unlocked if people own both NES Remix and NES Remix 2 . Championship Mode is inspired by the 1990 Nintendo World Championships. People get 6 minutes, 21 seconds to complete 3 challenges. The first task is to get 50 minutes in Super Mario Bros. Next, a player has to get 25 coins in Super Mario Bros. 3 . Finally, a player needs to earn a high score, over 10,000 points, in Dr. Mario . Though, don’t worry if you don’t meet the final goal, as a Championship Mode score will be assigned even if a player doesn’t get a high score.
It’s actually a rather refreshing exercise. In each case in Championship Mode, you’re playing through the first few levels of the three games. (You can even access the warp pipes in level 2 of Super Mario Bros. !) A score is assigned when time runs out, using the 1990 Nintendo World Championships scoring system. It’s a nice nod to people who did pick up both games. I couldn’t help wishing that there had been a system that changed which three levels you played each time. I feel it would have added a little extra variety. The ability to pause and have the timer stop would have been fantastic as well, but I suppose that would have defeated the point of the challenge.
One things is clear with NES Remix 2 . It is absolutely superior to NES Remix . The assortment of offered games, inclusion of a modified version of Super Luigi Bros. , and Championship Mode assure it. Yet, the lag that plagues many of the challenges can be criminal and it’s a shame that the emulation issues are present. Regardless, it provides more than enough reason to turn on the Wii U again and keep people busy while we wait for Mario Kart 8 , and a part of me hopes that next time we’ll get a SNES Remix .
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 5.0 Graphics
The games are represented in their original 8-bit glory, though the remix levels often have nifty visual effects. 4.0 Control
The control schemes are identical to NES counterparts, for better or worse. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is appropriately catchy and unchanged in the classic games. 3.0 Play Value
Fun, but the lag gets in the way and I really felt like the remix levels were the only ones I’d play more than once. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best