Ultimate NES Remix (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Neil Flynn 28.02.2015

Review for Ultimate NES Remix on Nintendo 3DS

The game that wasn't even capable to run on Nintendo's 3DS - as stated by the game's director, Koichi Hayashida - made its way to the handheld a full six months after making the statement that the Nintendo 3DS didn't have enough power to run such a game. With such a promising premise, does this game live up to its predecessors?

Time to rewind a little bit for those unaware of the series: NES Remix and NES Remix 2 were released initially on Nintendo's eShop late in 2013 and early 2014, respectfully, with the original game announced and released on the same day as 2013's last Nintendo Direct. The game's premise is quite simple: take a few 8-bit NES games and switch some of the elements around to create a slightly nostalgic yet strangely unfamiliar scenario, in other words, a Remix. Examples of this include Kirby collecting coins in Super Mario Bros., Toad throwing blocks at enemies in Kirby's Adventure and Luigi saving Mario in Donkey Kong. Not only does this perhaps refresh the gameplay dynamics of the game but it changes how people will have previously approached the challenges that they are all too familiar with. These various short challenges involve collecting coins or items, killing all enemies on a screen, or simply racing to the finish as fast as possible. All the challenges are tasked on how quickly they can be completed and a 'Star rating' is awarded, based on overall performance. Up to three stars can be awarded based on the results and a further rating of 'Three Rainbow Stars' can be attained for the highest reward.

Screenshot for Ultimate NES Remix on Nintendo 3DS

These stars gradually start unlocking the game's various content. Not only are there remixes of these NES games but also challenges for these specific games of which there are 16 in total, featuring a select few from NES Remix and NES Remix 2 for the Wii U eShop. Games such as Ice Climbers, Donkey Kong 3, and Wrecking Crew, among others, were omitted for this 3DS edition. Some games have more missions than others, with the Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda titles being key examples. These missions are not 'remixes' but are shortened challenges from the original source game.

The game is brilliant for on-the-go play as the challenges are normally short and sweet, although perhaps too short in some cases. Considering the source material that the games come from, it is somewhat saddening to see only a few levels from these games included. This is also marred by the game's easiness. Although short challenges are not always a bad thing, achieving 'Rainbow Star' ratings on challenges after just one attempt (more often than not) is indeed poor and really does hamper the replayability ever so slightly. There are online leaderboards that could perhaps encourage extra attempts to reach higher scores, but most may find themselves not caring too much.

Screenshot for Ultimate NES Remix on Nintendo 3DS

Aside from the main game, there are two further options: Nintendo World Championship Remix and Speed Mario Bros. The former actually featured in NES Remix 2, which in itself is a nod to Nintendo's 1990 World Championships held in the United States. The game is exactly the same as it was in NES Remix 2, which tasks gamers with collecting 50 coins as fast as possible in Super Mario Bros., 25 coins in Super Mario Bros. 3 and then use the remaining time to rack up the highest possible score in Dr. Mario. The game itself just feels like another in-game challenge and doesn't really set itself aside from the other tasks in the main game. The other additional mode is Speed Mario Bros., which is Super Mario Bros. played at double speed and is perhaps a more fun challenge, yet it is possible that players may get a little irritated with the sheer high tempo, although some speed-runners will it.

With all that said, the main qualm with Ultimate NES Remix is that it's not so 'Ultimate' as the name otherwise suggests. The 3DS version has stripped out 12 games from the original two games, which incidentally can be purchased as one game dubbed 'NES Remix Pack' in the US and Famicom Remix 1&2 in Japan on the Wii U eShop, featuring all 28 games. Doing the maths, there leaves Ultimate NES Remix with just 16 games in it. Other glaring omissions has seen it remove certain Miiverse posting abilities, such as the collecting stamps option that was introduced in NES Remix 2. Furthermore, a bonus feature of NES Remix 2 is missing - 'Super Luigi Bros.' that was Super Mario Bros. but mirrored and replaced with Luigi. A slight change to the online leaderboards has also been made in that gamers can only see how their friends and people in their region have performed, and not, strangely enough, the previous option of checking worldwide.

Screenshot for Ultimate NES Remix on Nintendo 3DS

Taking away features could perhaps have been remedied by adding new features, but it can't be helped thinking that this game should have had some sort of amiibo integration where tapping a character would allow for it to be used across any of the games challenges. Just imagine swapping in Pit or Little Mac whenever desired! With such a wide array of Nintendo IP here it is a bit of a shame for this to be left out considering most released amiibo characters feature in this game in some way, shape, or form. Sure, this would require a little more effort in re-coding some 8-Bit sprites, as well as the mechanics of the game, but then what do gamers pay their money for? Alas, there are no plans as of yet to include amiibo functionality.

Each title also has an eShop icon that is a shortcut to buying the NES Virtual Console version, which is a great convenience for those non-3DS Ambassadors out there, although it wouldn't hurt to perhaps have given a slight discount in the eShop to encourage players to make use of this option.

Screenshot for Ultimate NES Remix on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


For non-Wii U owners who are unfamiliar with the NES era of games and want to take a step into the foray, this is a good starting point as it serves itself as a taster platter of Nintendo's golden IPs from the 1980s. However, the omission of more than half the games featured from the original two releases could have been sweetened if Nintendo had added to the experience, but it hasn't. Not only that, but some games could have gone a lot further to add more levels considering the vast amount of source material Nintendo has at its disposal. Just six levels from Dr. Mario or eight stages from Kid Icarus is not impressive. To add more mustard to the sugar, the experiences are over all too quickly, especially given that the game's short challenges have actually dumbed the difficulty down, which is saying a lot given the context of a game like Kid Icarus. Nintendo would have been better off renaming this 'The Best of NES Remix 1&2' - admittedly not the catchiest title but it is not misleading unlike the actual name of Ultimate NES Remix. It is almost surprising that it's not called 'NEW NES Remix.' Ultimately, with the lack of value in this full priced release, nobody could ever deem this the 'Ultimate' version of NES Remix.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


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