Now, as much as I played the heck out of the first NES Remix, the sequel does just about everything better this time around, providing an experience that is more fun from the get-go.
First of all, the selection of games on display here is arguably better, mostly because they are newer and more refined in their gameplay and controls. Some, like Kirby’s Adventure and Wario’s Woods, were originally released in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
This is quite impressive given that the 32-bit PlayStation came out in 1994, two generations removed from the 8-bit NES. I always like seeing the differences between launch games and those from the end of a console cycle. It’s like night and day.
Anyway, another area that has seen noticeable improvements is the Miiverse. You can now watch replays from your friends — which are prioritized — and other players to see just how they got those low Clear Times. This is a terrific addition, and one of the best features of NES Remix 2. In my opinion, it’s always best to try figuring out how to get as low a time as possible on your own, but once you’ve hit a wall, watching ultra-fast runs really opens your eyes to shortcuts and other tricks.
Knowing what you need to do and actually doing it, though? These are two very different things that can be very difficult to replicate. I’ve retried stages many, many times in order to shave off a tenth of a second or two. It can be infuriating when you can’t seem to improve upon or even match the best Miiverse times, but it’s so much fun, and I find it nearly impossible to tear myself away from the game until I’m successful.
My mentality and approach to playing this has also changed. In the original NES Remix, I was perfectly satisfied and would move on if I just got 3 stars. I would eventually go back and rainbow star everything, but that wasn’t until much later. In NES Remix 2, I find myself almost obsessing over each stage, wanting to beat the lowest Miiverse times that appear for each one.
Doing things this way has made forward progress in the game a lot slower, but it has also given me a very deep appreciation for each individual title, and it underscores how well these old Nintendo games were designed. Even the ones that are just OK are elevated when the element of time comes into play.
Getting back to the Miiverse, another addition that makes a huge difference is that now the individual game and stage names are tagged in Miiverse posts. In the first NES Remix, if you were viewing updates outside of the game, you wouldn’t have any context, unless the person who wrote it put it in their post. Here, you can see which game and stage a post pertains to, so it’s a lot more helpful now.
I’ve been having a blast comparing times and doodling pictures for other Wii U players. I’ve mentioned it before, but the Miiverse is by far my favorite implementation of a console social network. It’s smooth, easy to use, and a lot of fun.
In terms of the actual Remix stages, I’ve barely scratched the surface. As I did with NES Remix, I’m going through all the individual games first before I take on the wacky and unique challenges to be found there.
I also haven’t really messed with the modes outside of the main game, namely Super Luigi Bros. and Championship Mode.
Any gripes so far? Yeah, one thing I’ve never liked in this series is that you can’t just forfeit a life and retry the current sub-stage you’re on. It’s annoying when your only options are to (a) restart the entire thing from scratch, (b) waste time trying to lose a life, or (c) wait for the sub-stage timer to end. Depending on the circumstances, this can take a long time, and a slight tweak in design could have made this so much more streamlined.
Another quibble is that occasionally, you’ll run into a challenge where one of the sub-stages is simply a long, drawn-out, non-interactive demo. I’m looking at you, Punch-Out!! and Kirby’s Adventure. Why they decided to put these in the game baffles me. If you replay these to improve your times, you will learn to hate them quickly.
Finally, I wish there were traditional leaderboards, with sorting options for friends, regions, and time periods. Currently, the only way to know what times your friends achieved is if they manually post them in the Miiverse. A more automated leaderboard system would have been so much better for a game like this.
Besides those things, however, this is one fantastic game. It takes the addictive formula of NES Remix and polishes it into a better experience. I look forward to playing through the rest of it, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that SNES Remix isn’t far behind!
For more first impressions of NES Remix 2, check out my YouTube video HERE.