Following the success of NES Remix earlier this year, Nintendo has followed it up rather quickly with its successor, NES Remix 2. As with the first, it allows gamers to reminisce over some of the most important titles in gaming history, as well as some of the more obscure ones, through the joys of "mixing" the experiences up. It does mean that games are featured in bits and pieces strewn together as individual challenges, but if you're looking for a new experience with a slice of nostalgia there's plenty to be found here. And who knows, it may convince gamers to seek out the full experience.
Let's start off by firstly breaking down how the game works as it does need a little explaining. As soon as you boot up, you are given five titles to experience: Super Mario Bros 3 and 2, Wario Woods, Dr Mario and Kirby's Adventure. The breakdown of each of these games comes in at around 6-16 stages for each game, although it's often usually towards the larger number. Upon selecting a stage, the game will give a quick breakdown in just a few words of the objective, and that's not an understatement. You might be told you need to kill enemies in a certain way, collect an item, beat a boss or just make it through the level.
This is where NES Remix comes to the fore, as the challenges are from actual areas of the game in question. From here, you are given infinite continues and lives, and are rated at the end of each stage with a star rating out of 3 (and rainbow stars for doing even better). Using continues will diminish your score, preventing you from getting higher than 1 star. It's all well and good, but since some of the stages are broken down into four separate objectives, this can prove quite tricky without replaying from the start.
As you gather stars, they will unlock more additional games such as Zelda II, Punch Out, Metroid and Kid Icarus. In total there are just over 150 stages to play through and if you are new to this style of gaming, it may take a while to get through all these. However, for someone experienced with the games it's quite the opposite "“ they are often very easy and may offer very challenge.
In an interesting move, the controls match those of the original titles to a tee, which can make transitioning from game to game feel a bit strange, especially as the majority of them are platformers. That's not to fault the games themselves, it's just the adaption of going from one to another. Sometimes the actual objectives are a little unclear too, as it can be difficult to understand what they actually require you to do or rather, how to do it.
As for what the Wii-U does for the games, the ability to play on the gamepad feels great and the two screens synchronising sound with the TV makes the experience strangely immersive. Of course, you can just transfer it to the gamepad and play it entirely on that as well, but the gamepad definitely enhances the experience. It could just be the fact it gave all the fantastic music in each game extra oomph.
Nintendo also took the time to offer some graphical enhancements in the games as well, usually found in the remix stages such as the way that the lighting works in dark levels. It also records your best attempt at a stage so you can replay it and see how you beat it previously or failed it if you didn't. This seems strange though, as it almost feels like you'd be able to see how other people did it, or compare times/scores yet there's no such infrastructure in place.
It's hard to question most of the choices in the titles found in this remix as most of them are stellar. Even games such as Dr Mario are quite welcome, but Wario's Wood's is a little bit puzzling. There are so many different ways of controlling the game that it can detract a little, but it's still a great classic title.
Playing through all the stages will allow several secrets and endings to be viewed from the actual games and this is quite a nice reward. Also, if you are planning on checking some of the actual games out after, you will at least have a heads up on how to beat some of the bosses.
Veterans of the games found in NES Remix 2 may find many of the challenges all too easy, leading them to whizz straight through the game at quite some speed. But for newcomers, there's a lot to enjoy and it will lead to an appreciation for these games that might not have existed before. It can be a bit jarring to transition for game to game sometimes, and gamers might want to seek a tougher challenge, but it's still a fun experience nonetheless.
|Revisiting some of the top NES games|
|Plenty of variation.|
|Most of the challenges are too easy.|
|No score/time comparison.|
|Ghost mode would have been a great addition.|