Sorry about the lack of a GHG update yesterday. I set out to finish the main portion of this game, and finish it I did. Finally!
Anyway, if you’ve been following the blog or my social media posts over the past couple weeks, you know that I’ve been putting a lot of time into this game. How much is a lot? I just checked my Daily Log, and yeah, I said wow:
At nearly 43 hours in — and I still don’t consider myself done with it — this little $15 eShop title absolutely consumed me. It was really just supposed to be a slight distraction between bigger games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Nier. Instead, it became one of the most memorable, challenging, and competitive games I’ve ever played.
Now, for those who haven’t played either of these games yet, they are essentially a collection of bite-sized challenges built off of classic NES games, such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Dr. Mario, Kirby’s Adventure, and Metroid. There are also lesser-known ones thrown in there as well, such as Wrecking Crew, Wario’s Woods, Pinball, and Clu Clu Land.
Each of these games has a variety of different challenges to complete, many of which have time and life limitations. Additionally, separate sub-challenges may be involved that require you to get through different types of obstacles within each title. All of them have a hidden running timer that records how long each one takes, and depending on your time, you are awarded 1-3 stars. If you do particularly well, you get a rainbow 3-star.
Acquiring those rainbow stars don’t really do anything, and they are there mainly for personal satisfaction and bragging rights. You can experience 100% of what both games have to offer by simply getting 3 stars on all of the stages.
Additionally, there are Remix and Bonus stages that can combine elements from multiple games, have enhanced graphics, and change up gameplay mechanics and level structures from what you may be used to. All stages, remixed or otherwise, run the entire range in terms of difficulty. Consider the original game challenges a warm-up for these.
I really liked 2013’s NES Remix, but it wasn’t quite as compelling and enjoyable as its sequel. While game selection certainly plays a part in terms of perceived quality, NES Remix 2 introduces some key improvements that elevate the experience.
My favorite new feature is that your best playthroughs are all recorded, as are those of other players within Nintendo’s Wii U/3DS social network, the Miiverse. This not only lets you share your best times with others, but you can now watch all of those really fast runs from the many talented players out there. While I would recommend figuring out how to best navigate each challenge on your own first, I think it’s a lot of fun seeing how other players achieve such incredibly low times. This helped raise my game considerably.
Contrast this with how it’s done in the first NES Remix, where you can see other times, but not how they were achieved. It gave you a time to aim for, but you had to go onto something else like YouTube to actually see them. Integrating it all into the game itself is an inspired touch.
I’ve noticed that the community is much tighter for NES Remix 2 because of this, even though both games are part of the same collective group. I’ve had a blast sharing my times, along with a slew of doodles I’ve done to go along with them, like these, which I drew for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Kirby’s Adventure, and Super Mario Bros. 3:
One thing the NES Remix games lack — and the sequel is no exception — are true leaderboards. The only way to see other players’ times is if they manually post them to the Miiverse. If not, you won’t see them pop up while in-game.
This is too bad. Hopefully if we see future installments, this is something they can add, because it would be great to see how your scores truly stack up against the rest of the world.
Speaking of leaderboards, however, one of the new modes — Championship Mode — does include rankings. This mode, inspired by the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, combines three challenges from Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario. You have a little more than six minutes to get through the three games, and much of your final scores comes down to how well you do in Dr. Mario.
The neatest thing I noticed going from the main game’s challenges to Championship Mode is how the skills you learn there translate over. I actually felt like a much better player at all three games as a result. It’s a lot of fun, and after a few tries I’ve already worked my way up into the top 25. I have a long ways to go before I come close to catching the leader, though!
The other new mode in NES Remix 2 is Super Luigi Bros., which is a remixed version of Super Mario Bros. Inspired by stages from the first NES Remix, you take Luigi from right-to-left, along with Luigi-esque physics that really change the way the game is played.
Admittedly, I haven’t played through the entirety of this mode yet, since it’s not all that interesting to me. Championship Mode is, in my opinion, by far the one that is the more addicting of the two.
NES Remix 2 feels a bit easier than the original game. It might be because the games control better for the most part, but I do think they were much more lenient with star requirements this time around. I think this is fine, because the heart of the game is continuing to whittle down and refine your times as much as possible.
If you play the game this way, you’ll obtain all the rainbows relatively easily, but even if you want to just semi-casually 3-star everything, you shouldn’t run into too many issues. This keeps things fresh, moving the whole experience forward at a good pace.
NES Remix 2 is a great game. It represents one of the best values to be found on the Wii U eShop, and is one of my favorite games of the year so far. Highly recommended.
- Graphics & Presentation: A-
Beautiful 8-bit sprites with subtle updates in the Remix stages, such as colorful, painted backgrounds. Improved Miiverse integration and newer games give it a more polished feel than its predecessor.
- Music & Sound Effects: B+
Clear audio, remixed music, and one particular Super Mario Bros. theme late in the game is especially memorable. The Game Over and Miss sounds are the same as before, though.
- Gameplay & Controls: A-
Newer games means mostly better controls, with a couple titles like Wario’s Woods and Zelda II feeling more slippery than they should. Tons of content rewards throughout keep you coming back for more, and additional game modes provide even more to see and do.
- Value: A+
If you play to chase high scores, this will keep you occupied for many, many hours. $15 is a bargain for this much gameplay.