The concept behind the NES Remix franchise is a simple one. Take your favourite NES titles, throw them together and spew them out again to leave you with a compilation of short retro challenges and 8-bit retro collaborations.
Little over a year ago we were introduced to the original installation of the series; NES Remix with NES Remix 2 following shortly thereafter. Both had their merits but were never going to change the industry as we know it. Ultimately the franchise is better suited to a handheld device. The challenges are short yet challenging and with utterly addictive gameplay can still be enjoyed, even if you only have a few minutes to spare.
Ultimate NES Remix features 16 NES titles, namely: Super Mario Bros., Dr. Mario, Donkey Kong, Excitebike, The Legend of Zelda and even both the Western and Japanese versions of Super Mario Bors. 2 to name a few in this ‘best of’ compilation. All the challenges based on these titles are shamelessly driven by nostalgia. This is both a pro as well as a con when looking at what challenges were chosen. Sixteen of the “best” titles are featured when the other, really good, challenges fail to make a appearance. If you’ve played the original NES remix and Nes Remix 2 on the Wii U there is little reason to want Ultimate NES remix unless you prefer the games as a handheld title.
The concept behind the franchise is simple; Start off with a quick, retro-based challenge, which literally lasts several seconds. Do it in record time and you’ll receive your three-star rating. Do it in super-human time and your three stars will receive rainbow colours to prove your superiority. Play the next challenge and get rated again. The more stars you unlock, the more challenges become available to you. Sounds pretty easy right? Well, maybe simple but by no means ‘easy’. Part of the appeal that retro games have is the relentless difficulty. The difficultly may be somewhat watered down but for perfectionists the challenges may become quite provoking. In addition to the classic game challenges there are also the Remix levels. In these challenges you are given scenarios that are usually, but not necessarily, collaborations between two original NES games. Remember Donkey Kong on the NES and how Mario would have to jump over barrels in order to rescue Pauline. Imagine that same game only you play as Link who is infamous for his lack of jumping. As a side note, my 3DS nearly saw the wall on a few occasions because of this particular remix challenge.
The Championship Mode from Ultimate NES Remix 2 makes a return and the only new addition to the game is Speed Mario Bros. As the title suggests it’s the original Super Mario Bros. purposefully sped up. Yes, this is the only new addition that we haven’t seen before. Sure the new mode is tough as nails but in the end lacks any sort of imagination whatsoever.
The problem with Ultimate NES Remix isn’t the formula itself. This has been tried and tested, it works beautifully. The implementation of the game however is frustrating. Had this been a NES Remix 1 & 2 pack for the 3DS I’d say it’s a must own title for all Nintendo and retro fans. However, so much has been left out from the first two titles that made the franchise truly memorable on the Wii U. If you are new to the franchise and own a 3DS go to the eShop and download it right away. If you already own NES Remix 1 & 2 on the Wii U think twice about it. Sure it’s a fantastic handheld rendition but your money could be put towards something else.