Complaints about Nintendo seem to fall into one of two distinct camps. Either the company lags behind the competition with its antiquated view of the home console market, or it refuses to stay true to the historic back catalog that made it a household name. Somehow Nintendo managed to address both sides of this criticism with NES Remix, a downloadable Wii U exclusive that scratched the classic itch on their current-gen hardware. It was a big hit in my house, and apparently I’m not alone; NES Remix 2 launches on the North American eShop this Friday, April 25.
The sequel stays true to the spirit of the original, offering another fine selection of classic Nintendo Entertainment System titles sliced into infectious mini-games. This time around Nintendo has upped the ante with regard to difficulty, and this is mostly due to the included titles. Games like Metroid, Punch-Out!!! and (especially) Kid Icarus are shining examples of the NES heyday, but they also don’t have quite the abiding muscle-memory of Excitebike or Super Mario Bros.
Speaking of, the brothers Mario are well represented, with fan favorite Super Mario Bros. 3, the punishing Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and series odd man out Super Mario Bros. 2 all along for the ride. Add to this sports spin-off Mario Golf Open, puzzlers like Wario’s Woods and Dr. Mario, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and the iconic Ice Hockey, and you’ve got a solid stable of source material.
NES Remix 2 steadily rewards the player by unlocking these games as well as their chopped-and-screwed remix modes, featuring lots of character swaps and black-out graphics, and, of course, those character-specific stamps to be used in Miiverse at a fair clip. The game also expands its offerings with the inclusion of Super Luigi Bros. – a flipped version of the original game that scrolls left-to-right and boasts Luigi’s now canonical high jump – and a Championship Mode inspired by the Nintendo World Championships of old. Although I’m sure all us long-timers would’ve preferred to see the full original game roster as additional unlockables, this at least throws us a bone while still allowing Nintendo to sell us back our childhoods piecemeal via the Virtual Console.
Like its predecessor, NES Remix 2 ain’t for everybody. It walks a thin line between fun and frustration that likely makes it a better fit for oldsters like me than for the Minecraft generation. If you too wouldn’t mind reliving your gaming glory days one tense half-minute at a time, then this is the Wii U game you’ve been waiting for.
Review materials provided by: Nintendo of America