NES Remix Pack Review

Remember the past in accurate recreations and mash-ups of classic first-party NES games in this delightful bundle of two previously digital-only releases.

Easy criticism of Nintendo comes from the studio's reduce, reuse, recycle style of game development. None of those critiques are unfair.

But, those ignore the liveliness of Nintendo's historical artifacts – their darling pixel artistry, fairy tale escapism, and hardened allegiance to the d-pad. Few developers can escape cleanly from this much repetition, and in this case, only because Nintendo has earned it.

Thus, NES Remix, or in this case, NES Remix and NES Remix 2 - double the retro duplication in one retail pack. Call it emulated harmony, where early and eventually later 8-bit classics (and some non-classics) live as a gestalt package. Unequivocal greats - Mario 3, Legend of Zelda, Punch-Out - are seated alongside minor gems - Ice Hockey, Japan's ferocious Mario Bros. 2, the stepchild Zelda II - with a dusting of "whats-its" on the side – like late release Wario's Woods, and early puzzle oddity Clu Clu Land. Were a package like this third-party compatible, it would be a phenomenon.

Golden Oldies

These are not full games. Rather, they exist in pieces with madness similar to WarioWare, taping them together as a sort of litmus test determining a player's gaming credentials. Each attempt is a micro burst destined for leaderboard brawling, say a frantic timed coin collection in a small version of certain Mushroom Kingdom quadrants or a KO run against a chunky King Hippo. NES Remix is nostalgia as it is best served – vibrant, brief, and fluffy.

NES Remix is nostalgia as it is best served – vibrant, brief, and fluffy.

Remarkable is how well these 30+ year old distractions remain oiled and adaptable. Even in such a form which leaves them handicapped without the majority of their content, these games are infinitely sharp. Their oft-cited torturous difficulty is manicured when de-made into microscopic chunks, but never at a loss of identity or form.

Eventually, the valuables reveal themselves: The Remix stages. These mix-in of various ideas drops Samus into Mario Bros., features Kirby dodging Boos, puts Donkey Kong under a thinly visible spotlight, or pushes Mario himself into the mobile endless runner genre. The wider breadth of software in NES Remix II is frequently more generous in remixed form, although the final bastions of golden age arcades lives on in the first.

High Score

Remix is aimed toward arcade sentimentalists anyway, those who would take pride in their initials rather than unlocking a number of stars – although Remix has plenty of the latter too in order to reach out to the instant gratification mobile market. Gold and rainbow emblazoned stars are key to accessing “newer” software in each Remix edition. More stars, more games, more unlockables, more stuff. It's a pattern which modernizes these icons, at least in their surrounding background.

Pure, untouched, and modestly beautiful – no HD re-skinning required.

NES Remix barely tweaks the bulky pixel craft which bore these console giants originally. A softening filter is a touch egregious, while shiny, crinkly backgrounds and drop shadows provides a darling puppet show-like display in certain Remix stages. Otherwise, they exist as remembered. Pure, untouched, and modestly beautiful – no HD re-skinning required. While Nintendo's lauded appreciation for their antiquities may be financially propelled first, their treatment and respect of this material remains unparalleled.

Plus, everything here is fun. Wholesome, immaculate fun.

Our Rating
8
Remember the past in accurate recreations and mash-ups of classic first-party NES games in this delightful bundle of two previously digital-only releases.
Reviewed On: Wii U

Featured Contributor

Freelance critic seen on Playboy, GameSkinny, and others. Passionate vintage game collector. Fervent physical media supporter and consumerism devotee.

Games NES Remix Pack Genres ActionAdventureArcade Platforms Wii U
Published Dec. 15th 2014

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