We've updated this list with Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and have also reworked it from 'remakes-only' to now feature Nintendo-published remasters, too. Happy now? Read on for more details...
When it comes to remaking, remastering, and re-releasing a game, it's easy to assume every publisher out there is plundering its back catalogue to refurbish and resell treasured titles to a nostalgia-laced audience happy to pay for the comfort of childhood classics brought up to date on their current consoles.
However, looking back at Nintendo's library of revisited games, there aren't quite as many as you might assume considering the candidates the Kyoto firm could revive if it so chose. That's not to say there haven't been a good handful, but there are dozens of games that remain untouched that we'd personally love to see come back.
We asked NL readers to rate any Nintendo-published remakes and remasters they've played and this reader-ranked list of the Best Nintendo Remakes / Remasters is the result. The order here is governed by the games' User Ratings on the site, and is therefore subject to real-time change even now, as you read these words.
Don't agree with this Nintendo remake/master ranking? Feel free to click the stars in each entry and rank the ones you've played to have your say and, potentially, affect the order.
Before we begin, some housekeeping. This originally began as a remakes-only list, but we've gone ahead and added remasters, too — only straight ports are excluded now. By this we mean games that transfer the base game largely untouched to another system. As a rule, 'Deluxe' Switch ports of Wii U games don't make the grade. Naturally, there will be borderline cases. Let us know in the comments if you think there's something missing that truly deserves the title 'remake' or 'remaster' (rather than 'port' or 'Deluxe re-release').
Enough ifs and buts and do-you-mind-if-we-don'ts — let's take a look at our list of every Nintendo remake and remaster ever, as ranked by you, starting at the bottom...
Mario vs Donkey Kong serves up a slick return to the 2004 GBA adventure that finds fresh fun in cooperative play. Yep, the new co-op mode really is the star of the show this time out and, alongside two new worlds, 'Plus' versions of each level, a Time Attack mode, and fancy new looks and sounds, there's plenty to dig into and enjoy with a core puzzle/platforming setup that has aged quite well. Just be aware that, if you're a more seasoned player looking for platforming challenges, this game finds its strengths as an experience for younger gamers or as a co-op title to enjoy with your kids. Taken as such, it absolutely earns a recommendation.
While some of the slower elements of the original games have been fixed in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and The Grand Underground makes up for the comparatively weak Pokédex, the new art style and a few other stumbles make this pair of games a somewhat disappointing retread of Generation 4. If the remit here was to remain faithful to the original Gen 4 pair, we wish they’d also stuck to the pixel-art aesthetic.
Unfortunately, these are Brilliant and Shining remakes in name only, sticking very closely to the original template — which some players will no doubt welcome — but aside from The Grand Underground and the connectivity with the current games in the series, there’s very little reason to play Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl over your original DS copies.
The Game Boy was, in many ways, the natural evolution of Nintendo’s Game & Watch line of one-shot portable devices, so the ability to play those games on one cartridge seemed like an acknowledgement of that handheld legacy. If you liked the originals, this collection is a must-have. Both the originals and remakes, which combine simple gameplay and subtle strategy, are here to enjoy and the newer versions play differently enough that you're quite likely to consider them new experiences in and of themselves. The musical and visual presentation is fantastic as well, and the entire package serves as a relic of a truly magical time in gaming. Or, perhaps, two truly magical times.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are beautiful reimaginings of a video game classic, updating a decades-old game in ways which make it infinitely more accessible and user-friendly for a modern audience, while keeping the magic first discovered all those years ago. On the downside, the motion control mechanic is fun but flawed, forcing you to shift from one play style to another to get the best experience. Still, the game does a superb job of striking a balance between being an easy route of entry for newcomers and offering just enough post-game challenge and competitive play elements (and nostalgia, of course) to please series veterans; as a result, these newer titles really do offer something for everyone, which can't always be said of the mainline Pokémon entries. They might not be absolute masterpieces, but we’d urge any Poké-fans out there to give these Kanto classics a go.
Game & Watch Gallery 3 mostly sticks to the formula of its predecessors, and it does a fine job of offering up some simple handheld gaming classics in a more convenient form, with a large number of games and a good, varied selection to boot. There are a lot of things to unlock for those willing to put the time in, and if you manage to get everything, you can always revisit any of the titles to improve your scores. Definitely worth a look if you're a G&W fan.
As with the first game on Game Boy, Game & Watch Gallery 2 features a collection of several highly addictive score-based games. There's a lot to do, and with both faithful ports and remakes being included in the same package, you're sure to be entertained for a while as you attempt to earn all the stars available. And after that, maybe you can go in for seconds with the super hard difficulties.
Diddy Kong Racing DS is good but not quite great. Generally, it's very well presented with clear menus, pleasant visuals, and nice sound. However, the controls aren't quite there, probably to do with the fact the DS only has a D-pad, so it just doesn't feel as good as the original N64 classic. If you had to choose between this and Mario Kart DS, there's no competition.
The gameplay is simple, but the included titles in Game & Watch Gallery Advance are still fun to play decades after they appeared in Game & Watch form. High-score chasing should keep players occupied, especially with 20 games to choose from — eleven of which also include an updated 'Modern' mode. It can feel repetitive at times and the method of unlocking games has the potential to annoy but this volume of titles remains an excellent compilation of Nintendo's first foray into portable gaming.
Another Code: Recollection's biggest addition to the original DS and Wii experiences, besides the slick new graphics and fully explorable 3D environs, is its all-new navigation and puzzle aids. With the obtuse nature of some puzzles now a triviality — should you find yourself stumped — there's now no difficulty spikes or annoying moments to hold you back from a two-part tale that's very much worth diving into for fans of slow-burn point-and-click titles. Their pacing could have done with some more work, but this collection is as good a return to Ashley's world as fans could have hoped for.
If you've never played Super Mario 64, you'll probably want to begin as nature intended with the home console version due to its vastly superior control system. This remake controls too awkwardly on original DS hardware to compare favourably to the N64 launch title. Still, Super Mario 64 DS takes a stone-cold classic and augments it with new characters, minigames, and tweaks that make a playthrough more than worthwhile, especially if you've played the original to death.
The DS controls might be suboptimal, but we'd argue that 3DS' analogue nub transforms the way this game plays, placing it much closer to the feel of the N64 classic. If you're going to play Super Mario 64 DS — and how else are you going to play as Luigi and Yoshi and Wario in an official release of Mario 64? — we'd highly recommend playing on the biggest 3DS or 2DS you can find. It's an intriguing twist on a genre-defining classic.
A beautiful game with potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay, there's still no getting away from the fact that this is an ageing GBA title at its core. The dungeon-crawling genre has evolved over the years to try and make things feel less repetitive, and while Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX does add some features to modernise the process a bit, they tend to fall flat. It's still fun in bursts, it just gets samey after a while.