Just in time for the Holidays comes Nintendo’s NES Remix Pack and Ultimate NES Remix for the WiiU and 3DS respectively. Both games are very similar in spirit, so it’s all been combined into one review. However, I’ve reviewed this game based on the WiiU version.
Both Remix Titles are Developed and Published by Nintendo
Release date: December 5th, 2014
Rated: E for Everyone
The NES Remix games were original WiiU Nintendo eShop purchases, but are both now on one disc for enjoyment’s sake. In keeping with Nintendo’s typical (and rewarding) digital download policy, it was actually cheaper for you to purchase both remixes digitally than it is on-disc right now. That doesn’t seem to have deterred purchasers, however, since the title has sold out at least once on BestBuy.ca!
The spirit of NES Remix is taking original Nintendo titles, and putting a new spin on them. Rather than just playing through the games for the umpteenth time, they’re broken into mini-game objectives. Some are forward timed, some have a time limit and some require you to just complete an objective. Some challenges may only be one scenario, while others can be 4 or 5 different things.
The game may also give you certain powerups and tell you to run with them in order to complete the challenge. For example, it’s not unusual to start invincible in the Mario games and be told to kill a certain number of enemies in a time limit. Harder levels may simply consist of “make it to the exit without dying” which is easier said than done for the games you’re not familiar with.
The WiiU version is broken into 2 remixes – The original NES Remix and NES Remix 2. Both games start and progress the same way – An introductory challenge starts you off, and once clear, you unlock a handful of games, and their respective objectives. You start with a certain number of lives in all challenges (usually 3, but more if it’s a harder challenge,) and have to go through the objectives on-screen to succeed. At the end of a challenge (assuming you pass,) things are added up, and you’re given a star rating, ranging from 1 to 3 glowing stars (more on the relevance of the glowing rainbow later.)
As you collect stars, you unlock more challenges in the master remix mode. Within it, you play some of the biggest mindtrips of modified NES titles I’ve ever come across (and I’ve seen some of the ridiculous Mario homebrews that exist.) In some cases, you might just play a modified version of a level, or something with just a character mod. In others, it feels like they threw multiple games into a blender and poured out the results. One in particular features you playing a scenario as Princess Toadstool from the US Super Mario Bros 2 on the Super Mario 3 engine. Does the P meter work and can she fly? How good is her levitating move? I’ve still yet to beat that level because it messes with my mind so much.
SPOILER ALERT: The next two paragraphs contain spoilers about the games included, including unlocks. Please skip ahead if you don’t want this revealed to you.
Anyway, the first NES Remix consists of some of the oldest NES games in the book. Most were original launch titles, and nothing was released after 1986. You’re looking at titles like Super Mario Bros, Wrecking Crew, Urban Champion and Donkey Kong (and Donkey Kong 3, which might be my least favorite 8-bit game ever.) You even get the poorly named Clu Clu Land (if you’re wondering what a Clu Clu is, it’s just a weird romanized term for the term “Kuru Kuru” which means to go around.)
Here’s the full list of titles included:
Clu Clu Land
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong 3
Super Mario Bros.
The Legend of Zelda
The second NES Remix game contains later first party Nintendo titles, including Super Mario 3, Punch-Out (the Mr. Dream version) and Ice Hockey, a game that I rented approx. 1268 times as a kid (give or take.) It’s not necessarily a better game selection, but I admit that I preferred it since I owned a couple of the games on this list as a kid. Here’s the full list of titles included here:
NES Open Tournament Golf
Super Mario Bros. 2 Japan (aka Lost Levels)
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
By the way, Ultimate NES Remix for the Nintendo 3DS is basically a combination of the two WiiU remix games, taking the 16 best games of both titles (maybe not the “best” perse, but I’d say the most popular) and combining them into one cart. That’s about all I’m going to say about that title since both games are alike, separated just by selection and console.
There are 16 games in the first WiiU NES Remix consisting of 204 total challenges, and 12 in the second, consisting of 169. While you start with a limited number of titles, more games are unlocked you continue to gather more stars. Stars are obtained as you beat a challenge, as are bits. You’ll receive a certain number of stars and bits based on how quick you are. You can get a maximum of 3 stars per stage, but can also obtain rainbow 3 stars. What this does is give you an extra 200 bits at the end when they’re being tabulated in NES Remix 2. In the first one, it doesn’t seem to make any difference. With every 500 bits you collect, you get a stamp which you can use in Miiverse communication. By the way, if you fail out and choose to continue, you’re no longer timed, and you only receive one star at the end. You can go back at anytime, however, to complete the challenge. Keep an eye out on certain games before you play them as well, as some will be worth 2x the bits when you complete levels.
Miiverse communication is something that can be turned on (or kept off) when you start up Remix for the first time. Essentially, all this does is allow you to share (or have shared) pictures other people in the Miiverse have made based on a certain stage. Pictures can just be silly text, or pictures with the unlocked stamps. You’ll see the communication of complete strangers if applicable, and their clear times on that specific stage.
Gameplay-wise, if I could offer you one, and only one piece of advice going into these games – Play using the D-Pad, NOT the analog sticks. These games weren’t developed for analog sticks, and since you’re basically getting the original versions ported over for WiiU controls, things get really sticky if you aren’t using the originally intended control method. I lost a few challenges just trying this out, especially for games that require a lot of climbing, like Donkey Kong. You’ll get stuck on the ladders more than once.
There are a couple of neat little things that the WiiU version contains. If you purchased both remixes in the Nintendo eShop and generated save files, you would unlock the Nintendo World Championships mode, reminiscent of the way they used to do it in the 90s – 3 games timed, 1 stage each, highest score wins. This is the only game on the title that has actual leaderboards if you’re into that sort of thing. You also get “Super Luigi Bros” which is literally a mirror image of the original Super Mario Bros played with the Luigi character from the original Famicom Super Mario 2. So, while your mind trips you out as you play a game you’ve played in the opposite direction for almost 30 years, Luigi’s jumping ability will mess with you too.
When I originally heard about these Remix games, I originally thought they’d be a bit like the Warioware titles. They really aren’t, as the spirit of the title is to complete whatever Nintendo throws at you. The game can be fun at times, and frustrating at others, but what video game isn’t?
There are a couple of things missing from the title which was really surprising. The lack of leaderboards doesn’t hurt the game, but it’s a bit crazy to think something like this didn’t end up with them, especially since your time are kept for all eternity. I also miss that you can’t play the actual titles themselves, though Nintendo’s eShop links are always present if you want to buy them separately. I also don’t really like the fact that there’s no competitive local or online multiplayer. It pretty well takes the edge off what could have been a really fun and competitive party game. Instead of having doing something like 2 people competing (one on TV and one on the gamepad) in these timed challenges, you’re left to one person at a time playing and then having to pass the gamepad along to the next.
Here’s where I would normally do the stat breakdown of how the game scored. It seems a bit weird to do that for this game considering it’s a bunch of 30 year old titles with objectives attached. I’ll just conclude here by saying that the NES Remix is a fun title that spins old favourites and gives them a bit more life. There’s a fair bit of replay value, and the price is definitely right. If you’ve got a WiiU, I’d say go for this version over the 3DS one, but you’ll be fine either way.
Final rating: 3.5/5
P. S. I still hate Donkey Kong 3 (and now Ice Climber too)