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Review: NES Remix

10:45 AM on 12.19.2013 // Chris Carter
  @DtoidChris

Mostly for retro enthusiasts

If you're a veteran of the NES era, you've played its countless classics many times before. You may have bought them multiple times, either out of nostalgia or for convenience when a new system arrives. Modern gamers may scoff at the notion, but classic-chasers persevere, because it makes them happy.

Leave it to Nintendo to invent a new way to play all these old games yet again in the form of the Wii U game NES Remix. The good news is, it's actually pretty fun -- if you can still stomach playing them.

NES Remix (Wii U)
Developer: indieszero
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: December 18, 2013
MSRP: $14.99

Think of NES Remix as a fully fledged version of the "8-bit Gamer" subset of the WarioWare series, with tons of content. I dove into it thinking it would be a quick arcadey few hour affair -- and I was dead wrong. This game is incredibly long, and will most likely take you 10 hours or more to fully complete, even if you only play each level once.

For those of you who are wondering what you get with your $15, here's the full set list, so to speak: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Bros. Arcade, Excitebike, Balloon Fight, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Wrecking Crew, Ice Climber, Pinball, Golf, Clu Clu Land, Donkey Kong 3, Baseball, Urban Champion, Tennis, and remix stages that jumble everything together.

Whew! That's a lot of games, right? Keep in mind though that each of those levels is a minigame though, and not a full title. Yep, you do not in any way shape or form get the full versions of these NES classics -- in fact, the game has a comical (but ultimately lame) "Buy something will ya!" Zelda themed eShop ad. You'll also start off with the first six titles I listed above, and unlock the rest, lest you think everything is available from the start.

Having said that, I immediately dove into Super Mario Bros., and played through everything that subset had to offer over a good hour. It's pure, clean, simple fun, and the minigames are pretty much a 1:1 version of the originals, with slight twists that make them more arcade-like. For instance, you might have to kill a certain amount of enemies in a limited time with a star, or race to the finish of World 1-1 before time runs out. Levels range from a few seconds to 30 to a full minute or more, so they're not all micro games per se.

There's some good mobile design principles implemented here, in the sense that each stage has a three star rating to obtain (with a soft rainbow "four star"), so you can strive to complete each level with the maximum efficiency. You also get at least three lives for each objective, so you can afford to make a few mistakes. Timers make this perfect for speedrunning, and competing with your friends to earn the best performance. It also supports remote play, if you're interested.

The remix levels are the clear-cut highlight of the project, as they usually involve wackier objectives that deviate far from the game specific goals. In one mission, Link enters a special dungeon, and ends up having to complete the first level of Donkey Kong. The twist? Link can't jump, so he has to outwit the barrels and climb ladders to get to the end. The list goes on in terms of amazing remix stages, like endless runner Mario levels, Mario Bros. Arcade boards that zoom out so you can barely see anything, and Excitebike courses that are completely frozen over.

One remix in particular really struck a chord with me -- a "night-time" blacked-out run of World 1-1 in Super Mario Bros. similar to the mechanic found in Donkey Kong Country Returns. It brought new meaning to the phrase "the first goomba," and I really enjoyed seeing some of these old stages in a new light. Having said that, NES Remix arguably should have consisted entirely of these levels, rather than bits and pieces of various games. It's great that there's a decent amount of remixes to work through, but I think more and wackier mash-ups would have resulted in a much stronger package.

There's also another unseen element that I realized a few hours into NES Remix -- the teaching element. The first stage of each individual game is a learning experience, complete with full button tutorials, and even giant circles on-screen to show you exactly where you need to jump, or how to kill each enemy. It's something that'll take a few seconds for veterans, but newcomers will appreciate these small mechanics -- especially considering the fact that the originals never had tutorials, and they can easily go back to them having learned the basics. Nintendo has unwittingly created an introduction to the NES for children, and it's much appreciated.

As I said before there's a ton of content in Remix, but a lack of full versions really hurts the prospect of this being an "insta-buy." There are other limitations as well, like a complete absence of multiplayer, no controller configuration options, and a lack of more remixes. If you love the Miiverse though you're in luck, as every level has support for stamps and posts. I've already seen some hilarious jokes for maps like the one where you have to kill Luigi to progress, and the community is as active as ever, even on day one. Speaking of stamps, there's a ton of unlocks here, and creative artists are going to have a field day with all the retro throwbacks.

Let me make this clear -- if you find yourself playing any of these games yearly, whether it's for nostalgia or because you think they're genuinely good games, you will love NES Remix. It lacks a lot of bells and whistles that newcomers may find inexcusable, but I had a smile on my face almost the entire time, and experienced the same controller throwing moments (although a GamePad against a wall would be more disastrous) that made me persevere until I got it right.



THE VERDICT

7.5

NES Remix - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
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Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory



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Flegma avatarFlegma
Spotted some "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" (1989) DVDs in a store. Hearing music and sound effects from the game is more amusing than it should be - although the running shrill gets old quickly.
extatix avatarextatix
Diablo 3 patch 2.3.0 equals more grinding. Good.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Funny coincidence: Last week saw the release of Until Dawn, which talked about a Canadian tribe of Native Americans called the Cree,and last night a Cree woman (Ms. Canada) won the Ms. Universe contest. Butterfly Effect updated.
MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
Playing UNTIL DAWN 1st time:I'm alright with QTE,but an option to use direction as choices instead of buttons poppin' on screen would be welcome!Also:NO SHINY ITENS TO INDICATE CLUES!LET ME DISCOVER THEM!All in all,it's fun enough...
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
Clicks Clacks avatarClicks Clacks
Picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $5 in the Humble Store, figure I'd advertise that for anyone that doesn't have it yet. Sale ends in less than 42 hours after this post yo. https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/valkyriachronicles_storefront
gajknight avatargajknight
My copy of National Geographic came today. Best subscription I've paid for, worth it for the lovely pictures alone. This one has a story about elephant poachers and ivory tusks with spy chips in 'em. James Bond shit man.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
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destructoid's previous coverage:
NES Remix


  Apr 21

Don't expect the NES Remix games to come to 3DS

Lack of power cited as a reason for going with Wii U instead


  Dec 18

NES Remix announced for the Wii U, available today

Takes old games and reimagines memorable scenes


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