Game Review – Ultimate NES Remix

I have some very conflicted feelings about this game. I want to love it. I’m enjoying putting time into it, it’s genuinely a ton of fun. But I think that it fundamentally compromises the games it contains little bits of if you’ve never played them before. Well, some of them. Like I said, I’m conflicted.

The massive variety of mini (micro?) games is excellent, and the action games largely shine for giving you specific challenges. The games that I felt really suffered for it were Metroid and Zelda. Anyone that’s played a platformer could enjoy the Mario segments, and the arcade-ish titles from out of Nintendo’s past lend themselves well to the mini game twitch challenges. The games that I had played before (more than I expected, but not all of them) were fun, but it largely made me want to go back and play them again. The games I hadn’t played were fun enough, the challenges were well setup and gave a decent feel for the games (which also mostly made me want to dig up carts or roms and give them a spin).

Where it falls apart, though, is Metroid and Zelda. See, it’s easy to capture the feel of arcade and platformers with mini games, because so much of those games revolves around notable twitch moments. Those moments can be packed up and captured by mini games without issue. So much of what makes Metroid and Zelda amazing is the exploration, the feeling of discovery, and the puzzle solving. Both games are carefully built to introduce you to these aspects from the start. Metroid forces you to head left, a very interesting lesson to anyone that was expecting something like Mario. Zelda’s dungeons are all built around introducing you to different aspects (fighting specific monsters, solving puzzles) then ups the complexity as you continue. This elegant combination of good teaching and expansive interesting worlds makes for two incredible games.

Unfortunately, it’s also pretty much impossible to capture the feeling of exploration and discovery with mini games. Walking into a room and grabbing the ice beam doesn’t do anything to express how it feels to wander around, searching for something, then finding an amazing new weapon. For me, someone that’s played and loves Metroid and Zelda, it was a nice little highlights reel that reminded me of some good times. But anyone who plays these without having played the original games won’t get to experience anything of what made them great.

Then again, odds are no one is going to play NES Remix without having played Metroid and Zelda before, so I guess it’s not really worth worrying about. So, my ultimate feelings on NES Remix for the 3ds? Play it when: you want to experience some rock solid nostalgia for first party Nintendo titles.

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