|System: Wii U|
|Dev: Nintendo and indieszero|
|Release: April 25, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Fantasy Violence|
by Jenni Lada
NES Remix was a celebration. It allowed people to rejoice in their love for classic NES games, attempt to prove their old school skills remained intact, and, most importantly, have an excuse to visit the Wii U eShop. It was a delight to see 16 of the games we grew up with again, especially when Nintendo and indieszero went to the trouble of introducing new, remixed levels that offered different challenges, new graphics and sometimes unexpected mashups.
Given the size of the NES library and the way NES Remix was received, a sequel was assured. Now, it's here, and in many ways, NES Remix 2 is even better than its predecessor. It absolutely offers more incentive to return to the Wii U and reminisce about the games we've loved, especially since this collection of titles is stronger. Yet, it still falls a bit short due to emulation issues, an even smaller compilation of games, and continued absence of a multiplayer mode.
Though, it's difficult to be critical of NES Remix 2's assortment of single player games, even though this time only 12 games are available. I'm willing to forgive that, considering what games we get this time around. While the original NES Remix had some titles that felt like filler and entirely too many Donkey Kong titles, NES Remix 2 gets into the thick of it with some of the console's best games. This time, we get Dr. Mario, Ice Hockey, Kid Icarus, Kirby's Adventure, Mario Open Golf, Metroid, Punch-Out!!, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Wario's Woods, and Zelda II: The Adventures of Link. While there were times in NES Remix where I felt forced to play an older game I didn't really love, each NES Remix 2 title felt like going back to an old friend. These are the games I knew and loved, and I'm more than willing to sacrifice quantity in the name of quality.
As expected, there's a difficulty progression in place with NES Remix 2. Each game gets between 6 and 16 challenges, while the Remix categories each offer 20 levels. The first few levels are a general introduction to the game, with the first levels in both Kirby's Adventure and Wario's Woods actually asking players to watch a tutorial to learn how to play. Each challenge grows more difficult, so players aren't immediately jumping into something they aren't ready to handle. The last level often has people facing the game's final boss, with Metroid even asking a person to defeat Mother Brain and escape in 999 seconds before a bomb explodes. It's encouraging, especially since it can feel like you're learning skills as you're completing each level.
Naturally, this isn't the case with the remixed levels. These are unlocked as stars are earned from completing the level challenges for each of the 12 games and are more of a free-for-all. Though, I must admit that it felt like the quality of the remix levels was improved in NES Remix 2. There seemed to be more variety and challenge, not to mention the remixes felt more unique. A few of the NES Remix levels didn't feel like they really added all that much to the NES games, but here almost every level felt like a new experience that enhanced the original game. I have to admit, my favorite was the recreation of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as an endless runner. All of these incredible NES games and their remixed versions really make NES Remix 2 special.
Though, NES Remix 2 is notable for another reason as well. It marks the end of the Year of Luigi, thanks to the inclusion of Super Luigi Bros. Perhaps Nintendo heard NES Remix players' criticism when it came to the lack of any full games, but Super Luigi Bros. offers a different look at the original Super Mario Bros. Luigi is going through Super Mario Bros., but the entire game is mirrored as Luigi runs to the left. Also, Luigi can jump higher than Mario. Naturally, this means that players have to get used to two new gameplay elements. It's a novel way to end the year and offer a little extra oomph to NES Remix 2. Sharp eyed players, however, will often see Luigi appear in the background of other games' levels too.
My only lament is that when the going gets tough, NES Remix 2 slows to a crawl. The most challenging Metroid levels are the most egregious offenders, though Mario Brothers 2, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, Kid Icarus, and even Kirby's Adventure can fall victim to the same trap. The second multiple enemies or effects appear on screen, the action slows down. I have to admit, I even attempted to see if I could "break" the game during one of the final Metroid challenges, where Samus has to defeat 3 Metroids within a certain amount of time. The lag was so atrocious that I feared NES Remix 2 would crash. (It didn't.)