Review: Ultimate NES Remix – Party Like It’s 1989

on January 1, 2015 12:00 PM

For many, the allure of Nintendo lies in nostalgia — visions of Super Mario Bros.Duck HuntMetroidThe Legend of Zelda, and countless others fill the vast memories of gamers everywhere, whether it was in the NES era to well into the matches of Mario Kart 64. Oftentimes, these memories mix all together. But, what happens if they were mashed up?

The result may look a little something like Ultimate NES Remix.

Featuring small doses of MarioZeldaDonkey KongPunch-Out!!, and more of Nintendo’s most well-known properties, Ultimate NES Remix puts a fine emphasis on the Remix aspect of its title — you’ll definitely see many of these games in a way that you just might not have before.

As a compilation of short-paced remix games in the vein of the frantic WarioWare, Inc. mini-games, the game brings together the assorted Nintendo classics for a fresh spin on familiar favorites.

If you’ve already played Super Mario Bros. on a CRT TV in the 1990s, have you tried completing a level in under 30 seconds? What about fighting off a swarm of Boos in a level of Kirby’s Dream Land while taking on a boss at the same time? It may sound bananas at first, but (most of the time) Remix keeps things continually interesting and strange.

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Coming off its previous installments on the Wii and Wii U, this version proves to fit perfectly on the 3DS, with its short mini-games suited ideally to small play sessions on commutes or on-the-go, especially appealing to Nintendo gamers of old. While seeing Nintendo favorites all together in one package is appealing enough, seeing them in crazy and fun situations makes the experience even more enjoyable.

Whether it’s serving up a level of Mario with all of the obstacles suddenly turning invisible, or with a set of Mario clones running alongside you, the variety of Remix brings enough challenge alone, aside from its already-challenging emphasis on setting new records and attaining new high scores.

While perennial Nintendo favorites like Mario and Metroid get plenty of attention, Nintendo’s stable of franchises also gets  to share more of the spotlight with other classics in plenty of new ways.

The Punch-Out!! levels put Little Mac into a dizzying whirl of puzzles and punching, having players figure out the tells of opponents to land the perfect sucker punch. Likewise, Dr. Mario‘s puzzle stages puts players into situations more challenging than just the usual matching up pieces of the same color, instead relying on more specific combinations to progress.

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Although not all of the stages or challenges are necessarily memorable ones, with the Balloon Fight and ExciteBike stages in particular being on the tedious side, the game’s constant variation is its biggest appeal.

Where nostalgia and fond remembrance of these classic Nintendo titles gives its core appeal, that reliance on nostalgia also acts as a double-edged sword, providing the title’s few weaknesses.

For the longtime Nintendo fan, Remix will be an absolute treat, giving all of its various classics a wonderful treatment in bite-sized bursts; however, for the more recent Nintendo newcomer, the feeling of nostalgia and reverence for these titles in the collection may be lost.

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The biggest restraint from wholly being gungho on Remix is that the collection already contains a majority of content found in previous NES Remix titles — those looking for new content or games from previous titles may be disappointed at the title, other than the novelty of having it made portable.

Likewise for newcomers, the thrill of unlocking new games and stages only holds the fun for so long before going back into previous stages to earn more stars and perfect scores: achievements that will be plenty suitable for the right crowd, but may not prove to be enough when compared to some of the 3DS’s meatier offerings like Super Smash Bros. for 3DS or Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

While the title is relatively light on content and may be more for the high-score-setting crowd with fond memories of besting Donkey Kong, it’s a tremendous nostalgia trip that’s played with rose-colored glasses throughout.

Down to the 8-bit music and classic themes from each title, Ultimate NES Remix brings you back to the good old days (either in a good or bad way), its frantic mini games and love of Nintendo new and old absolutely being worth the blast from the past.

 /  Features Editor
Ryan is the Features Editor at DualShockers, with over five years' experience in the world of video games culture and writing. He holds a BA in English & Cinema from Binghamton University, and lives in New York City.