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Back in December, Nintendo’s announced a surprise game during a Nintendo Direct that hit that same month. This game, NES Remix, took the WarioWare-style microgames formula and applied them to some on Nintendo’s classic NES hits like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. While it was a good game, we wished that the main attraction was more fleshed out and that there were better games. Now a few months later, Nintendo already has a sequel up and running, so it barks the question: did Nintendo improve it?
NES Remix 2 is identical to the first where you must do a bunch of tiny challenges within real games to unlock more challenges. In addition to completing these challenges, like collecting coins within a certain level in Mario or defeating an enemy in Zelda, there’s a “Remix” set of courses where Nintendo reengineered some of these games to provide some wacky twist, like playing as Link in Donkey Kong, and instantly became everyone’s favorite portion of the game. The original had some neat remixes and used classics like Super Mario Bros., Excitebike, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong, but also some forgettable and frustrating games like Urban Champion, Pinball and Clu Clu Land.
That’s not an issue with NES Remix 2 because it uses some of the strongest games in the NES’ arsenal. Kirby’s Adventure, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, Punch Out!!, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Dr. Mario and the other three Mario platformers: Super Mario Bros. 2, Lost Levels and 3, are all represented. There are some smaller games like Wario’s Woods and Ice Hockey too, but the overall lineup here is super strong. Because of these games, the objectives are much stronger and more fun, like beating a Koopaling as Frog Mario or racing through a room in Kirby’s Adventure.
The remixes are much better too thanks to the improved game lineup. Unlocked once you get a certain amount of stars (given to you based on how fast you beat these challenges), these hacked challenges have you doing trippy events like playing Dr. Mario but with grayscale/color flickering, playing a Kirby stage by only using your ability (no walking/jumping) or controlling Samus in autopilot. Some remixes also have you play through a few different games’ worth of hacks to keep you on your toes. My favorite remixes are the ones that let you do an event as a different game’s character, like playing as Toad in Kirby’s Adventure, Link in SMB: Lost Levels or the best one: Peach in SMB3. Unfortunately just like the first NES Remix, there are not enough of them, and it sucks because these are so fun and eye catching.
The game isn’t just using the ROMs of old NES games, the NES Remix games actually runs the emulator and the ROM on top of its own game that calculates whether you did your job and in what time. Despite the games being 8-bit, it really uses the Wii U’s power with so much going on and it really makes all the games look crisp in HD. The emulation is pretty good too, though it can get a bit spotty with the occasional framerate stutter, with Kirby’s Adventure in particular having a bit of control lag and unresponsive presses. Lastly, though I love the GamePad and the Pro Controller, they felt just awful with these games with its diamond shaped button layout, so I 100% recommend a Wii Remote for this game.
Also included in NES Remix 2 is Super Luigi Bros., which is Super Mario Bros. but flipped horizontally and starring a higher-jumping Luigi. With this simple edit, it wracked my brain at first trying to configure myself to go left instead of right, but in a minute you start to get used to it. SLB is really fun and at times challenging, or I should say more challenging, but people who have been playing this for decades will probably get used to it and love the change.
The last mode is sadly only unlocked if you own the first NES Remix called Championship Mode. Based off the popular Nintendo World Championships (and the super rare and valuable cartridges they used), this mode uses three games and makes you perform a short marathon of objectives and then the game calculates your score. Unlike the original Nintendo World Championships that used Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris, this one still has you collecting fifty coins in SMB, then 25 coins in SMB3, and then grabbing the high score in Dr. Mario, which was similar to Tetris’ goal. While the mode is an awesome touch, the idea of adding another Mario game and have it be the same goal as SMB’s is a total waste, especially with the variety of games available on this game. Having a Punch Out!! or Metroid goal would have been cooler, or even having multiple types of Championship challenges.
So in the end, NES Remix 2 is just like the first but with better games. The same issues that we had with the first are still here, but the new goodies like Super Luigi Bros. and Championship Mode gives it a bit more value. It’s a pretty good minigame fest that can be enjoyed alone or taking turns with friends, and still piques our interest to play these classics in new ways. Let’s hope if Nintendo continues this, they make the Remix modes the main attraction, because it really, really is.
On that note, give us a Super NES Remix!