Once in a while, Nintendo holds online press conferences called “Nintendo Direct” where they announce their upcoming games. This week’s announcement came seemingly out of nowhere. “NES Remix” was announced and came out the same day on the Nintendo eShop. “Remix” is a really interesting concept; it takes classic NES games and rearranges them and mashes them up, making them feel fresh and new. There are many classics that have been remixed, such as “Super Mario Bros.,” “The Legend of Zelda,” “Ice Climber,” “Donkey Kong,” and many more.
“NES Remix” is a collection of rapid fire mini games that uses classic franchises in interesting ways. It isn’t as clever as “WarioWare,” but it does offer some interesting experiences. Most of the goals of the levels are very simple, like find the sword, where Link from “Legend of Zelda” must make it through a round of “Donkey Kong.” It is really weird to play old school “DK” while seeing Link on the screen; otherwise, it plays pretty much the same. Some of the levels play as you remember, with some twists. There is an “Excitebike” level, but it plays just like the original, though now you have to take out five rivals.
One great thing about “NES Remix” is it recreates some of the most classic moments of each game in bite-sized snippets of memorable moments. You don’t have to play “Zelda” again; you can just play the most memorable boss scenes, or you can face the first Bowser scene in “Mario” again, only this time you don’t have to play through several game worlds to reach that memorable scene.
Some of the games have extra challenge modes that were not in the originals. In “Golf,” you might have to get a hole-in-one, or you must beat a hard level of “Mario” within a certain time without getting hit. You can even replay challenges to try and get a higher score and share your accomplishments with your friends online. One of the more interesting challenges is finishing a level of “Donkey Kong” and only being able to see your guy, so you don’t know when barrels are coming. If you finish the challenges, you earn stars that you can use to unlock several more levels to try out. One good thing is you don’t have to memorize the levels; the game offers in-game guides, hints, and lots of continues, which encourages you to continue and finish each challenge.
Similar to newer iOS games like “Angry Birds,” “NES Remix’s” challenges have a three star rating system to track your progress. This makes you want to go back and play each level until you earn all three stars. This casual style of gameplay is very fun and adds a ton of replay value if you care to unlock everything. There are close to 200 challenges in the game. Some of them are great, and some of the games don’t hold up over time.
My only real issue I had with the game is that you have to use the Wii U gamepad; you can’t use a pro controller or a Wii Remote. The gamepad feels fine, though it doesn’t feel exactly like the original games that the scenes came from.
“NES Remix” is a clever way to revisit classic games, and it’s worth a download, especially if you have fond memories of the NES era of games. It isn’t the best game ever, but it is an entertaining way to relive some of the classic scenes of the most classic Nintendo games with a bit of a twist. I can’t wait to see what games Nintendo decides to remix in the future.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]