Following hot on the heels of its predecessor, NES Remix 2 builds upon its mechanics and provides new ways to play twelve more classic Nintendo Entertainment System titles.
While the original housed many classic titles including The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros., it also held a load of games that didn’t age well, namely the likes of Golf and Pinball. As such, this made the experience seem somewhat hollow. Thankfully NES Remix 2 manages to address this, leveraging so many classics from the latter half of the console’s life, more notably in Super Mario Bros. 3, Metroid and Kid Icarus. As such, the clunky play mechanics of the early NES games are no longer an issue.
For those interested, the complete game list is Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Zelda II: Adventures of Link, Kid Icarus, Dr. Mario, Metroid, Wario’s Woods, Ice Hockey, Nintendo Open Tournament Golf, Punch-Out & Kirby’s Adventure.
With this illustrious roster, there is more of an overriding joyous appeal to NES Remix 2. These games are the majority of the first-party titles that people remember from the console’s era, and the fact that they’re compiled in this game just makes it so much better.
For those who haven’t played NES Remix before, you get access to these titles and have to go through those initially available to you, completing several challenges to complete the level. These challenges vary from getting an item in Metroid without getting hit, to collecting 150 coins in Super Mario Bros. 3, to defeating a boss in Kirby’s Adventure. There is significant variety to these challenges, and there’s over half a dozen for each game.
Unfortunately, some challenges feel like they were shoehorned in, an example being in Punch-Out!! that just tasks you with watching a cutscene. There are less than a handful of these, and some do show the mechanics of the game in question for new players, but it still seems like it was done to create filler.
The real fun begins when the ‘Remix’ levels open up. These take the mechanics of the games and changes them considerably. You’ll find levels where you’re controlling three Mario characters at once, to collecting coins in a Mario level as Kirby or defeating Dedede as Toad. This is where you’ll experience the most enjoyment within NES Remix 2. However, there’s only a few dozen of these small stages, which is a bit disappointing, and some of the ‘Remix’ levels aren’t restyled enough.
Within each stage, you will get ranked based on your speed and skill, and these scores are then shared on Miiverse, alongside posts that you make based on your progress. As with the original, you will earn various Nintendo related stamps that can be used in these posts. As people on your console’s friend lists get priority, you will see their posts more often. This allows for you to compete with your friends easier. A new feature to NES Remix 2, though, is the feature of replays. With each of your high scores, you will be able to witness your accomplishments, as well as your friends’ achievements, which encourages the game’s more competitive nature.
The controls run the same as a NES game would, using A and B buttons, and the D-Pad above all else. You can play with the Wii Remote, Classic Controller, Wii U Pro Controller and Wii U GamePad straight from the beginning now, without having to wait for a patch.
Outside of the standard ‘Remix’ part of the game is the special bonus title, Super Luigi Bros. This title is based on a remix that existed in the first game and features the entirety of the original Super Mario Bros. mirrored while playing as Luigi. Unlike its reworked predecessor, Luigi plays more like he does in later games – being more slippery and having a taller jump. This means the way you go about this game will be slightly different than as before.
Lastly, if you have purchased both NES Remix and this sequel, a special Championship Mode is unlocked. This has you play through Super Mario Bros., Dr. Mario and Super Mario Bros. 3 in a limited time to get the highest score, which is then ranked through a special leaderboard dedicated to this mode, so you will need to be online to get the most out of it.
Graphically, the games are literally the NES game and so run exactly as they do on the Virtual Console, although they are a bit brighter than those versions of the titles. The borders around the gameplay are all very subtle but have decent sprite-art around it to be aesthetically pleasing. Whereas the music and accompanying sounds are also exactly as in the NES Virtual Console counterparts, but the menu music is ridiculously catchy.
On the whole, NES Remix 2 is an improvement upon the original, but still finds itself falling just a little bit short of greatness due to small amounts of actual remixing. It’s a decently solid game that will provide plenty of fun regardless, but you just can’t shake the feeling that more unexpected changes could have been done here.
If you love any of these NES games, and equally love trying to beat your own score, then it really is worth playing. It’s great fun playing the remixes, especially having specific objectives to beat across all the old classics. The extra modes included are also a nice addition, although, like before, if you haven’t played any of the original NES titles included, then it may not be the best choice as there’s much that you’re expected to know.
NES Remix 2 proves itself as a concept that should definitely continue, and one that we hope steers itself into Super Nintendo territory.