Back in January, I played NES Remix and gave it an unenthusiastic B-, citing its good ideas but ultimately lackluster selection of titles. I played through a good chunk of it, but gave up before going through the entire thing.
A few of my friends later told me that they had similar experiences with it initially, but that something clicked with them, and they ended up really enjoying it. I’d been through this before with the Dragon Quest series, which I had absolutely couldn’t stand for most of my life until I fell in love with it two decades later on the Nintendo DS. It’s for similar reasons that I haven’t parted ways with Final Fantasy XIII, Metal Gear Solid 4, Demon’s Souls, and many others. They’re all games that failed to click with me initially, but might later in life.
Also, with NES Remix 2 now available with bonuses, a seemingly better selection of games, and more robust features, I thought now would be a good time to give the original another go to see if I was simply too quick to judge.
After having played through a couple more hours of it, several things are standing out for me:
First, playing it on the Game Pad is great. NES Remix feels like a game that is more at home on a handheld instead of a TV, since the bite-sized gameplay is just better on the small screen. It’s also nice to step away from the TV, lay down in bed to relax, and play through a few stages at a time.
This makes the game so much easier to pick up and play whenever you want, and with Nintendo’s latest June 2014 Wii U update, the new Quick Start menu makes getting into it — and all other Wii U games — a lot faster.
When it’s a big part of a game’s design, I can be rather compulsive about collecting everything, or getting the highest rating possible. In NES Remix, the best rating you can get in each of its mini-games is 3 stars with a rainbow outline.
This urge to achieve the best results can be — and has oftentimes been — my undoing. It’s one of the main reasons why I don’t finish most mobile games based on this scoring system, such as Cut The Rope, Angry Birds, and others. I’ve always said that if a game ceases to be fun, then you should just stop. However, sometimes I need to realize that it might not be the game that isn’t fun, and instead my own stubborn tendencies turning what should be a fun experience into a chore.
In NES Remix‘s case, I started playing the game earlier this year with the intent on rainbow 3-starring every stage, but that quickly became an exercise is frustration that pushed my patience to the limit, fueling my negative impressions of it. So this time, my goal is to simply 3-star the rest of the levels, and you know what? I’m OK with that. Life will still go on, with or without those rainbows.
I’m also not feeling so strongly anymore than the game selection isn’t good. True, seeing the first Super Mario Bros. here yet again feels like a retread in the worst possible way, but the manner in which you have to actually play it makes it feel like something completely new.
In many cases, you’re asked to do things you never thought about doing, sparking ideas about untapped gameplay potential in each of Nintendo’s franchises. It’s really cool when you stop and think about what the developer Indieszero crafted here.
It’s kind of fun playing games that I never grew up with too, such as Balloon Fight. It’s Nintendo’s take on Joust, and while the controls are strange, the challenge requirements force you to get used to them quickly. The variety also gives otherwise very average games like this one a modern achievement-focused approach, which is cool.
So here I am, now enjoying a game that I initially thought was quite mediocre. It might not be the instant classic that WarioWare, Inc. was on the Game Boy Advance over a decade ago, but it definitely shows how small design and goal tweaks can energize games of a bygone era.