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Review: NES Remix (Wii U)

Sunday, December 29th, 2013 by

nes remix review
At face value, NES Remix looks like it can do no wrong: It blends a handsome bunch of classic NES games together, serving them up in small portions under a nifty time-trial umbrella. Spend a few hours with it, though, and you’ll see soon enough that it packs more nostalgia than it does punch.

With no hint or foreshadowing of any kind, NES Remix appeared in the Wii U eShop on the exact day it was announced. Watching the trailer left me instantly intrigued. Fifteen bucks and a modest download later, I was soon to figure out what exactly the game was even about. I wasn’t yet sure. One glimpse of Link climbing Donkey Kong ramps in the video was all it took for me to jump aboard the NEStalgia Express.

And as far as nostalgia trips go, this one turned out to be a mixed bag. By the way, bad puns are free around here.

NES Remix combines a dozen or so vintage Nintendo games – stuff like Super Mario Bros., Excitebike, and Balloon Fight – into a smorgasbord of retro challenges that will remind you where you came from, son. Every challenge is essentially a time trial, with more stars being doled out for faster completion times. Collect enough stars and you’ll unlock new challenges from an increasing roster of games. It’s a cool concept that will keep you hooked for a short while. But the novelty wears away fast.

The challenges range from absurdly simple (jump over a barrel in Donkey Kong) to jaw-clenchingly tricky (like trying to do anything in Balloon Fight), but never take more than a minute to complete. Some of the “remixed” challenges are pretty clever, with neat gimmicks like the camera panning out eternally until you can’t make out the details, or Mario stages being run in a bizarre sort of mirrored-reverse, just to a name a few.

NES Remix throws all these bite-sized challenges at you non-stop, with little time wasted between trials. Accomplishing these mini-missions and racing the clock can be very gratifying, especially early on.

But once you get a more complete sense of the game, and the limit to the range of challenges becomes more apparent, expect to feel the burnout that comes from Remix‘s inherently shallow gameplay. Completionists and retro-junkies will get the most out of it’s surprisingly long run, but everyone else will be ready to move on long before exhausting everything NES Remix has to offer.

3 stars

About the Author

Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone). Keep up with him on twitter, because why not. @unoriginalG

Mark A. Brooks has written 642 posts on Delta Attack
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  • http://www.deltaattack.com/ Markham Asylum

    Bummer… seems like a half-baked execution of a pretty decent concept. $10 sounds like a more reasonable price, though that likely would have only held off the burnout for a little longer.

    • http://deltaattack.com/ Mark A. Brooks

      I didn’t mention it in the review, but it has a cash-grabby feel about it, too. It just so happens that all the games in NES Remix have been slowly leaked into the Virtual Console market over the past year.

      And NES Remix, conveniently, lets you access the eShop in-game to go buy the full games, should you want to.

      • http://www.deltaattack.com/ Markham Asylum

        Sounds like a typical Nintendo move.