'NES Remix 2' revitalizes old-school challenges
This review is available in video form at YouTube.com/TGCritique.
There were two glaring issues with the original "NES Remix."
Taking classic titles and cutting them into mini-game challenges was an awesome concept, but subpar games like "Clu Clu Land" and "Golf" dragged the original package down.
It made it a much harder sell to those who can't forgive how rough those early games were around the edges.
I'm really happy to say that's not the case in "NES Remix 2," which released as an eShop exclusive on the Wii U on Friday.
Absolute classics like "Super Mario Bros. 3," "Kirby's Adventure" and "Metroid" make this a far stronger sequel almost by default.
Whether you grew up with a Nintendo Entertainment System or not, these games are just like Tommy Oliver: They may be old, but they can still pull it off.
Except for Kid Icarus. Man, that one feels clunky.
If better games were the only improvement, that would be one thing. But the other big problem everyone had with the original was that while a handful of remixed stages were pretty good, most were kind of repetitive or uninspired.
This game packs a far better selection of remixes than its predecessor.
You'll collect coins in "Super Mario Bros." as Link, fight Waddle Dees in "Kirby's Adventure" as Toad, and rescue Peach in "Mario 3" as ... Peach.
The remixes are so much more creative this time around.
Another improvement is in Miiverse functionality. You can now view a video of a poster's best time through a challenge.
It kind of reminds me of a far more community-based version of the Super Guides that show you how to play through a level, and it can be really helpful when going for high scores.
"Super Luigi Bros." is included as a bonus. It's the entire original "Super Mario Bros," except the whole game is mirrored and you play as Luigi.
When I first heard about this, I couldn't have cared less. I never liked the way Luigi controlled in the Lost Levels.
But in this version, while he does jump a bit higher, he's not at all slippery, and that actually makes this an awesome addition.
Going right-to-left oddly causes the whole game to feel a touch unfamiliar, and it's an appropriate way to cap off the year of Luigi.
The final mode, only available if you have both NES Remix 1 and 2, sort of recreates the 1990 Nintendo World Championships.
Get 50 coins in "Super Mario Bros," get 25 in "Mario 3," then use the rest of your time setting a high score in "Dr. Mario." It's a fun diversion, but I wish there was a way to customize it.
And that's probably my biggest remaining gripe with the game: Everything you do is locked in.
You select a challenge, complete it and then get thrown all the way back to the selection menu.
I never really feel like I can get lost in the game because of that.
The series has often drawn comparisons to "WarioWare," and it could really benefit from taking some more inspiration from it.
I wish there was a way to play in some kind of endless arcade mode, where the game presents you with random challenges from across the series, and you play until you lose all your hearts.
It'd add a lot to the replay value.
Another nit I'd like to pick is this: There are a few games where your first challenge is literally, "Watch the game demo."
And there's no way to skip it. The game teaches you how to play through the early challenges There's no need for this.
Finally, the challenge selection on some of these games is a little slim.
You only get seven challenges for "Punch-Out," and you don't even get to any of the more difficult boxers.
All in all, "NES Remix 2" is more than just a showcase for some of the best and most well-known games of all time ... it's also a whole lot of fun.
And with better remixes, better games and the whole of "Super Luigi Bros," it's easy to recommend as worth your $15.
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