A lot of us who’ve grown up with the golden age of gaming often look back and wonder what made those games so much fun. Was it the fact that we hadn’t been jaded by fantastic technology and graphical advancements, and therefore enjoyed every game that much more? Was it the fact that back then, to keep gamers interested, the developers really only had one option – make the gameplay interesting? Maybe it’s because we filter all of our childhood memories through a rose-tinted lens? It might have been any of these, or a little bit of everything. But whatever it was that made those 8-bit games so interesting, NES Remix gave you a chance to relive some of your favorite moments from the games of yesteryear. When the first NES Remix launched last year, it didn’t make much of a splash, but featured a few fun moments nonetheless. Now, NES Remix 2 is here, and it boasts an even greater assortment of gaming challenges put together from some of the best old-school games. It’s a lot of fun, even though it might feel like a sales sampler at times.
This time around, NES Remix 2 features over 150 different mini-challenges that have been taken from 12 different games that were featured on the NES. Each challenge has two to three objectives that you have to complete, and you have a total of three lives or attempts to finish them. Some challenges are more elaborate than others, and you are provided some extra leeway to finish these. Once you finish a given challenge level, your performance is rated on a basis of one to three stars. Within the game, you can also earn virtual currency called ‘bits’ which you can then exchange for certain stamps. The game also automatically saves replays of your games, so you can easily show off your skills online.
You might immediately recognize most of the challenges that the game serves up, but all of them are presented with some sort of twist or variation. In a challenge from Super Mario Bros 3, you have Mario running through the stage at full tilt, and you must help him across by controlling when and how far to jump. Good ol’ Link on the other hand, is featured in a challenge where he has to make his way through perilous stage with extremely low health. Some challenges turn up the variety a notch higher by combining elements from multiple games. For example, Pit, the protagonist from Kid Icarus, features in a level from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, where he has to collect fairies while saving himself from pesky flying ghosts.
As mentioned before, the challenges in NES Remix 2 are taken from 12 different NES games. You start by completing challenges from Super Mario Bros. 3, and then eventually can unlock and play through Dr. Mario, Kirby’s Adventure, Punch-Out, Ice Hockey and others. Unfortunately, you can’t revisit these games in their entirety. The only complete game that you do get to play is a modified version of Super Mario Bros, which is called Super Luigi Bros. It’s basically the same game, except you get to play as Luigi and the scrolling happens from the right to the left of the screen. As a protagonist, Luigi isn’t as fast as his brother, but can jump much higher. It’s an interesting way to visit some of the locales from the game you might remember, and you’ll need to get used to the way Luigi moves if you want to make your way through the game.
Even though there’s a lot of variety in NES Remix due to the stellar source material, you can’t help feeling that this game is like one big compilation of demo versions of the games mentioned. The game even features links to the online store where you can buy the full versions of the featured games. The challenges are a good demonstration of each game’s specific mechanics and personality, so you might be interested to check out the complete versions. Some challenges, however, just seem to be blatant sales pitches. For example, one of the sequences from Punch-Out simply shows you a training montage section from the game. You might also want to finish the full games beforehand if you want to avoid spoilers, since the ending of every game on display is featured here.
NES Remix 2 is sort of like a mix-tape of your favorite artists from yesteryear. You might like one of the tracks, and that might inspire you to check more work the artist you like has done. Revisiting the favorite sections from the games you loved back in the day is great fun, and the twist added to each challenge keeps things fresh. While it’s not as good as playing the original game all over again, this is still a good way to turn back the clock a bit and enjoy some old-school gaming action.
NES Remix 2 Game Score: 7.0 out of 10
Console: Nintendo Wii U eShop