While retro gaming, as it is called, has been around for quite some time, and while there have been such classics from past systems like the NES and SNES grace the Virtual Console service since the Wii's release all those years ago in 2006, players have also enjoyed new "retro" games, made in the style of the old, yet being completely original. The game at hand, however - NES Remix - is something else entirely. One could almost say that it fits somewhere in the middle between the two aforementioned kinds. This Cubed3 review tells all that is needed to know about it!
Right from the boot screen, one can take a glimpse at plenty of close up screenshots showing characters and objects from well-known classic NES titles, giving a vague idea of which games are represented in the product if one didn't know yet, and they are certainly there in abundance!
NES Remix, at its core, is like a collection of mini-games - not so different from WarioWare games actually - where the player is presented with small portions of classics from the very early NES library, and has to complete a certain objective within that portion of the game. Let's take, for example, Super Mario Bros., since that's probably the most well-known of the package. One such objective would be to collect 20 coins inside world 1-1 within a certain time limit. Succeeding in doing so awards points, based on the performance, as well as a stars ranking giving a more general idea of how well the stage was just played. The more the player completes such mini-games, the more of them that open up for him or her to play, with new NES games to play portions of also unlocking in the process, as well as the main attraction of the game: the REMIX stages.
While regular mini-tasks are played inside unmodified portions of the NES titles in the selection, the REMIX stages introduce new elements not found inside the original NES games. A Donkey Kong level is one such example, where players control Link from The Legend of Zelda, unable to jump over barrels, but still having to climb to the top to save Pauline. Other new hurdles are thrown the player's way, such as the camera zooming out of the scene, revealing lots of duplicate smaller screens all around, making it really hard to see what's going on. Discovering these for the first time is part of the fun of the game, and is literally where most of the interest of the game lies. In normal stages, the main focus is on performance, whereas in REMIX stages, it's both on the performance but also on the fact that players will rediscover classic NES games with a fresh new twist to them.
Of course, the games are mostly unaltered in terms of visuals which may make a few players cringe, but some of the REMIX stages do add new colour schemes, or a nice texture effect to some of the otherwise more dull backgrounds, or even shadow effects, which make them look a bit cooler than they normally do. Besides, the game plays mostly on the nostalgia factor, anyway.
One of the major questions that may rise among the ranks of the people interested in this title would be "What are the NES games featured in it?" Well, Cubed3 shall graciously provide its dear readers with the full list: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Bros., Pinball, Golf, Clu Clu Land, Excitebike, Balloon Fight, Ice Climber, Wrecking Crew, Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, with bits and pieces of other NES games such as Tennis, Urban Champion, Donkey Kong 3 and Baseball completing the experience. This leaves out other NES classics which are probably much more fondly remembered, such as Metroid or Kirby, but that doesn't mean that what's on offer isn't already lots of fun to play.
Finally, on top of being so amusing, NES Remix also proves to be quite challenging, as would be expected from a collection of mini-games from NES games. The clever integration of Miiverse inside the game itself, showing comments from other players on specific stages and tasks, along with their stars ranking and completion time, encourages people to persevere and improve on their previous scores. This is further invited by the sticker catalogue, in the vein of Super Mario 3D World, which unlocks as the player scores more points to help make for more interesting content inside the Miiverse posts.
As the NES games here are served just as they were originally, gameplay from these games hasn't budged an inch, ranging from perfectly playable to clunky. However, the game never asks for anything so complicated that the original gameplay gets in the way of accomplishing it.
Again, nothing has changed at all since the original release of these titles and they look just the same, except in the aforementioned REMIX stages which, while not completely revamping the visuals, add some cool effects.
At the risk of sounding redundant, the sound, other than in the menus, is identical to the original NES games present inside, meaning that fans will love it, and people allergic to 8-bit sounds will hate it.
It should take the average player quite a few hours to get through all the stages, unlocking absolutely everything and getting the best rank possible; just enough to justify the price this sells for, so long as one has a particular interest in the games featured. Indeed, NES games aren't necessarily everyone's cup of tea. With that being said, however, this piece of software might well help new players getting into them.
NES Remix takes most of the NES' early library of first party games, and fractions them into small tasks that help to revisit the most satisfying moments of each, as well as "remixes" some into new types of gameplay involving all sorts of cool and surprising elements. Whether one has already tried these games, or even still owns them to this day, he or she may well find that this new way of revisiting them might just be more fun than the games themselves. Playing NES Remix allows players to discover alternative methods to enjoy these classics in ways that they would not have otherwise found themselves by playing their original cartridges or Virtual Console releases. On the other hand, those who never tasted some of these titles, some of which are perhaps not anymore amongst the most well-known of Nintendo's back catalogue of NES classics, may well find that they want to experience them for themselves in the way they were meant to be played, after they try NES Remix. Indeed, NES Remix sheds new light on those classics to make them more relevant even to this day. Although, with that being said, there will always be players who will simply have a hard time getting into older software on the premise that they look, sound, and play "old", and, other than in the visual department to a small extent, NES Remix does very little to change this.