Nintendo's NES Remix Pack, a retail compilation of eShop titles NES Remix and NES Remix 2, contains two great games but feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. While both games are quite good, Nintendo has opted to simply package the two together and not made an attempt to make them feel like a cohesive whole. We didn't expect NES Remix Pack to add more content to the already-robust titles, but it would have been nice to see the first entry polished a little to reflect the improvements of its somewhat slicker sequel.
NES Remix takes 16 classic games from Nintendo's 8-bit heyday and breaks them up into self-contained, bite-sized challenges. An early challenge for The Legend of Zelda, for example, is simply to take the sword from the old man. In Donkey Kong Jr., you may be tasked simply with dropping a fruit on an enemy. Based on the amount of time it takes to complete a challenge you can earn up to three stars, with exemplary performance resulting in a shiny rainbow border. Completing each challenge also nets you Bits, which are collected for Miiverse stamps. The big draw of NES Remix, though, is its "Remix" stages, which feature altered versions of games and tough challenges. One level may have Link (who can't jump) playing through a Donkey Kong stage; another may feature an auto-running Mario that needs to be prompted to jump.
The "something's not quite right here" feeling adds to the allure and charm of the remixes, though admittedly some of the games used in NES Remix are better than others. Legend of Zelda is simply a more compelling experience than Pinball or Urban Champion. But on the whole, this is an addictive, fun experience. Be sure to check out our full NES Remix review.
NES Remix 2 features less games than its predecessor, but its 12 titles are generally stronger and more varied. Individual challenges range from simple to thrilling; our favourites were defeating Medusa in Kid Icarus and facing off against Dark Link in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. In addition to the 12 games and Remix challenges, NES Remix 2 also features two supplementary modes. Super Luigi Bros. is a flipped version of Super Mario Bros., with stages beginning on the right side of the screen and starring Luigi, whose jumps and physics are a little different than Mario's. Super Luigi Bros. is a fun diversion and feels like an extended Remix challenge. The other extra is the Nintendo World Championship mode, which tasks the player with collecting an amount of coins in Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, along with a challenge from Dr. Mario - scores in this mode are saved to an online leaderboard. The developers of NES Remix are also quite active on Miiverse, posting community challenges and contests; for detailed information on NES Remix 2, check out our review.
The presentation in all modes seems relatively uniform, with bright colours, enlarged 8-bit sprites, and great remixes of famous Nintendo tunes. While the NES titles are certainly not "HD" quality, Nintendo has made sure to wrap them in sharp, fancy packaging; Super Luigi Bros., for example, is displayed with a large Luigi-themed border. NES Remix 2 also allows you to save replays and share them so other players can see how you got a high score or cleared a challenge. It's here where NES Remix Pack seems to falter; why not add the replay/share capability to the first title?
We understand that the titles were released individually on the eShop and many months apart, but a retail package seems like the ideal place to fuse the best of both games; if you already downloaded one or both, there's truly no reason to pick this up. For those who haven't played either NES Remix title and are looking for a challenge and to walk down memory lane - or experience these gems for the first time - NES Remix Pack is a guaranteed good time.