Just for full disclosure, I haven’t played the NES Remix series yet, so maybe I wasn’t the best option to assess the new compilation coming to Wii U this holiday. That said, from where I stand they have a very strong little collection on their hands and the pack is a good place to jump in if you missed it last year.
The premise is largely unchanged from the original, individual releases: it’s a minigame collection steeped in 8-bit nostalgia, reworking many of the iconic titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System into rapid-fire microgames. The concept is very similar to the long-running WarioWare series, but I found myself warming to NES Remix much faster. WarioWare has always been sprinkled with copious references to Nintendo history, but I personally found it hard to get into because it’s just so bizarre and at times a little crude. With NES Remix, I know these games already; it’s easy for me to get right at home with the mechanics and controls.
Of course it’s not called remix for nothing. If you aren’t familiar with the series, these microgames often mix up the classic NES titles with new challenges, modes, and even crossovers between different games. The game might challenge you to play the first level of Super Mario Bros backwards or in the dark, or you might have to play a classic Donkey Kong board as Link…who can’t jump. Fans have been working this idea for years now, with ROM hacks like Super Mario Crossover or Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, but it’s awesome to see Nintendo finally step up to the plate and put their distinctive stamp on a retro remix collection.
The Remix Pack collects both previous games into one bundle, with a new Championship mode that finally adds the much-requested leaderboards to the first game. I think it’s curious that Nintendo is releasing this game as full retail—it seems perfect to stay in the download-only arena—but then again it could also be a perfect conversation starter too, and might even influence sales of the Wii U this holiday. After all, nostalgia is a powerful force. If your friends, significant other or even parents are visiting for dinner and they see NES Remix Pack on your shelf, who could resist sitting down for a few rounds, and then maybe rushing out to secure it as a stocking stuffer?