The lights are on
At the end of 2013, just in time for the holidays Nintendo revealed a surprise title called NES Remix, a game focused on specific challenges centered around classic titles such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and even included less-memorable games such as Clu-Clu Land and Pinball for good measure. While the challenges were good bite-sized nostalgic fun, all of it wore out after losing interest in some of those less-than-favored black box games of the past. Soon after, a sequel was announced sporting much more memorable games like Metroid, Kirby's Adventure and Super Mario Bros. 3. Now that it's out, the question is, how does it stack up?
The short answer is, it stacks up well. NES Remix 2, aesthetically speaking, is more of the same. The interface is largely the same, except right from the start you'll have more control options instead of needing to wait for an update. The challenges are more of a mixed bag, but in return there are mostly terrific games to collect coins in, or make your way to the exit through. What I like most about the Remix games are the fact that it can help gamers old and new appreciate the games of Nintendo's past better, and the sequel is no exception.
The remixed challenges themselves deserve some kudos for adding interesting spins to games in unlikely ways. When you're not controlling Samus in the Mushroom Kingdom (as pictured above) or helping guide Mario to the pipe at the end of an airship that keeps vanishing from underneath your feet, you'll be catching eggs as Kirby while the screen keeps zooming in, among other things. Though some of these challenges seem easy on paper (or screen), they'll get difficult. Trust me on this.
The Miiverse implementation returns once more, though this time it adds an incremental improvement that deserves praise by itself. Suppose you play a challenge and you either earn only two stars, or you miss out on the coveted Rainbow stars. On the selection screen, you might see a Miiverse post from someone that did better than you did, but this time there's a Play icon which when pressed, allows you to see how they did it--even with the button presses and all! This is a way of adding motivation to the mix, letting you see how to improve and get better.
Also in NES Remix 2, it's not all about the remixed challenges. In this installment, every download includes a free remixed game by itself--Super Luigi Bros., which is based on one of the remixed challenges from the first game. Super Luigi Bros. is a mirrored copy of Super Mario Bros., where you'll be running from right to left as opposed to running left to right. Depending on your level of experience with the classic, this will be either very enjoyable or very jarring. I found myself somewhere in the middle when I checked it out--I died on 8-2, even though I could practically play the original game blind-folded. Either way you see it, it's worth a try if you get a chance.
As a bonus to players that already own the original NES Remix, a challenge mode will make itself available. This mode, dubbed Nintendo World Championships Remix, is just as its name implies; it's a new version of the infamous Nintendo World Championships cartridge from 1990. This time around, players will be challenged to first collect 50 coins in Super Mario Bros., then 25 coins in Super Mario Bros. 3, then finally get as high of a score in Dr. Mario before the time runs out. The score is then calculated and posted on a worldwide leaderboard. This mode adds a whole new reason to play the game again and again, for those who love outdoing themselves.
If I have any criticisms for NES Remix 2, it all falls down onto a couple of games selected for this outing; Wario's Woods--which I never really liked--and Kid Icarus, a game that I always thought was more challenging than it had any right to be. Though Kid Icarus' challenges are fair enough and I can survive through them, I can't see myself enjoying any more of the challenges in Wario's Woods. If Nintendo wanted to add another puzzle game to this Remix, I feel like their version of either Tetris or even Yoshi could have done the trick. The mechanics and controls of Wario's Woods are way too confusing, and as a result it's simply not fun to play.
Being a fan of the idea behind NES Remix, I'd still have to say it holds up rather well. In exchange for a few less games, NES Remix 2 offers mostly better-quality games and cooler challenges to take on. Of course, it won't be for everyone and it will undoubtedly cause more criticism against Nintendo, but for anyone with a sweet tooth for nostalgia it's absolutely worth it.
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