4cr Impressions – NES Remix

by Jody Anthony

These impressions are based on the first hour of play, on a copy I purchased myself.

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I had been wondering what NES Remix was since I first saw that it had been rated (in Austrailia, I believe). At today’s Nintendo Direct, we found out; it’s a collection of challenges based on sixteen NES classics. The games include Donkey Kong (1, Jr., and 3), Super Mario Bros, Excite Bike, and.. ehhhhh… Urban Champion (Nintendo really seems to think people want to play this game, for some reason). Naturally, being a retro gaming nerd, I downloaded it from the Wii U eShop the moment it went up. At $15, the price seemed a little steep, but I figured what the hey, might as well.

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Upon trying the game out, the first thing I thought of was the 9-Volt games of WarioWare meets Challenge Mode of New Super Mario Bros U (some of the best parts of their respective games, in my opinion) but as I dived deeper in, I realized that there is much more to this game than the NSMBU or 9-Volt modes. Throughout the game, you complete mini challenges from sixteen different classic NES games, which range from starting you in the middle of a stage of Donkey Kong and having you try to reach the top in a short time period, to having you hit all the hidden vine blocks in different levels from Super Mario Bros, to defeating all of the enemies in a stage of Balloon Fight. There are even probably some Urban Champion challenges in there, if you dare play that game.

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As you complete challenges, you collect stars and Bits, based on your performance. Stars are used to unlock new stages of Remix mode, while Bits are used to unlock Miiverse stamps. I love seeing what stamps I unlock as I go along as well as seeing other people’s Miiverse posts and stage clear times next to stages that you have completed.

While the traditional challenges based on games seem to involve little more than actions such as “reach the goal” or “defeat five enemies”, the real bread and butter of the game seems to be the “remix” levels. In these, the rules are changed up. For example, level two of Remix I has you playing the first level of Donkey Kong, but you’re only able to see what is immediately around you. Level three has you playing a new level of Super Mario Bros. endless runner style, where Mario keeps running forward, and you have to time your jumps around pits and Cheep-Cheeps to reach the flag pole before the time runs out. It puts a new spin on classic games you may be used to and really adds to the challenge. I’ve only played about half a dozen of the Remix levels so far, but they have already led to many a “damnit!” or worse. Note to self: don’t play NES Remix while the kids are around.

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Coming from the background of having played all of the featured games many times, I am surprised at how difficult I find some of these challenges. Perhaps it is because I am so used to playing the games a certain way and the challenges are making me have to forget everything I know about them. This is especially true in the Remix levels. I think this could be a great way to introduce newer gamers to the feelings us old salts had back in the day; getting frustrated until you finally finish that challenge that has been driving you nuts. Then trying again and finally get those three golden stars, only to get your first rainbow stars and realize your journey has just begun.

At $15, the price may seem high, but with the amount of content available, I think it’s definitely worth a purchase. For those new to these games, they serve as a great introduction, and to those used to the games from years of play, they will have you looking at them in ways you never did before. I’d say that this game is highly recommended.

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