I love the NES Remix games. They plainly show that Nintendo still has creative fire and fight in them; willing to look back on a majestic legacy and gleefully mess about with it in zany new ways. NES Remix and NES Remix 2 were both stuffed with crazy minigames that blend legendary NES titles into bonkers bite-sized chunks, perfect for a few minutes or hours at a time, and my only major gripe was that its pick-up-and-play action would work better on 3DS.
You might expect Ultimate NES Remix to be the perfect package, then, but it actually puts me in a bit of a bind. It may be fantastic fun and a great fit for 3DS, but it's also far too expensive despite containing less content than the two previous games.
Be in no doubt, though, the series really does feel made for 3DS. In case you don't know, the NES Remix games lie somewhere between a greatest hits compilation and an addictive arcade time trial, splitting up legendary NES titles like Super Mario Bros, ExciteBike, Kirby's Adventure, The Legend Of Zelda and more into crazy time-based challenges. One moment you'll be trying to wheelie to the finish line in ExciteBike, the next you'll be slotting a pill into place in Doctor Mario or leaping over barrels in Donkey Kong. It's a brilliant way of bringing back some of our favourite games from yesteryear without cracking our rose-tinted spectacles.
A compelling mobile-inspired scoring system underpins Ultimate NES Remix, awarding up to three stars based on how long you take to complete each challenge or stage. Naturally most gamers will feel compelled to scoop up all three for personal pride and online leaderboard competition, but in turn, your star total unlocks new games and levels to sink your teeth into, assuring that there's always something new to try. Most importantly of all, though, you'll continually unlock new Remix stages that smash characters, levels and mechanics from different games into each other with amazing results.
One early example involves defeating the Whispy Woods boss in Kirby's Adventure... while a phalanx of Boos advance from the left of the screen, forcing you to carefully time your movements. Sometimes you'll have to pull off precision moves in Punch-Out!, defeat a Hammer Bro as Link from Zelda II or complete a Mario level while auto-running like a madman, just for starters. It's a riotously varied and immensely enjoyable celebration of all things Nintendo, and a great new way to experience the classics.
So what we have here is a seriously fun collection for Nintendo fans new and old, but unfortunately, I'm not convinced that Ultimate NES Remix earns the right to call itself 'Ultimate.'
First off is the lack of extra features. There are no unlockable MiiVerse stamps even though the service is now supported on 3DS. There's no stereoscopic 3D. And, in fact, there doesn't even seem to be any new content versus NES Remix and NES Remix 2 - every level and challenge appears in the previous games (with the exception of a limp 'Speed Mario Bros' mode, which just puts the original Super Mario Bros into fast forward and betrays a disappointing lack of ambition).
Which would be absolutely fine, except that we're also missing a lot of content too.
Namely Donkey Kong 3, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Baseball, Wario's Woods, Clu Clu Land, Pinball, Mario Tennis, Urban Champion, Wrecking Crew, Ice Hockey, NES Open Tournament Golf and even Super Luigi Bros; the surprisingly compelling Mario Bros remake incorporated into NES Remix 2.
There's no denying that Ultimate NES Remix includes the strongest games in the two previous collections (seriously, I can do without Clu Clu Land!), but immensely galling that it excludes so much while touting itself as a definitive edition. Especially considering what I can only describe as an utterly insane price point.
Consider this: the original Wii U games cost £8.99 apiece. £18 total, rounding up. Yet Ultimate SNES Remix costs a whopping £34.99 despite offering significantly less for your money.
This arguably isn't a fair comparison considering that Ultimate NES Remix is on a totally different platform and cartridges cost extra to manufacture. More to the point, it's the only way for those who don't own a Wii U to get on board with what is undeniably an excellent compilation. But value matters to us at Dealspwn.com, and it's value for your money that ultimately stops us from giving Ultimate NES Remix more than a lukewarm recommendation.
- Great minigames snipped from a strong selection of NES classics
- Fantastic Remix stages blend characters and mechanics
- Addictive star scoring and online leaderboards
- Far too expensive - £34.99 vs £18!
- Lots of missing/omitted games, no extras whatsoever
- No stereoscopic 3D or unique content beyond Super Speed Bros.
The Short Version: Ultimate NES Remix brings brilliant pick-up-and-play action to the 3DS, blending heady NEStalgia with addictive remixed challenges. Sadly the ludicrously inflated price point, omitted content and lack of new features turns what should be an essential purchase into 'wait for a deal' wishlist filler.
6 – CAPABLE: The key thing to remember here is always try before you buy. There'll likely be some rather glaring flaws or perhaps a distinct lack of imagination, but games that earn a 6 will generally be very capable indeed and probably still provide a good deal of fun to genre fans.