Mixed up a notch.
The first NES Remix was a mixed bag. On one hand, reliving the classics in bold new ways was familiar yet refreshing, but on the other hand, it fell short of delivering the full dose of nostalgia Nintendo is capable of giving its arsenal of favorites and franchises.
Specifically, in my review of the original NES Remix I had offered Metroid, Punch Out!!, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link as examples that were glaringly omitted. So imagine the satisfaction I feel as a reviewer and a consumer to see the things I asked for delivered to me in a more cohesive package. NES Remix 2 feels much more complete than its predecessor, but the first game's existence does detract from the sequel’s satiety—the reason being that none of the games from the first NES Remix appear in NES Remix 2, so Nintendo weakened this second dose by eliminating a few favorites from being featured alongside those I've already mentioned.
However, the standalone lineup in NES Remix 2 is indeed better than the first offering. Along with three aforementioned titles, you will be able to relive the following classics: Dr. Mario, Ice Hockey, Kid Icarus, Kirby's Adventure, NES Open Tournament Golf, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Wario's Woods.
All of these titles are broken into quick but incredibly fun and challenging mini-games that last, in most cases, no longer than a minute. Remixed versions of these classics are also included, providing mashups of two games or doing something strange like turning off the lights in the background. Some of these challenges can be completed in just a few seconds, while others are separated into four or more sets of mini-games that you must make your way through successfully within three tries. Doing so potentially earns you up to a three-star score. (How many stars will NES Remix 2 earn, though?)
Challenges range from simple to extremely daunting and controller-smashing. It very much depends on the game, too—these Nintendo classics definitely retain their trademark difficulty levels despite being reworked and presented in such unique ways. Kid Icarus, which was one of the few games I just couldn’t beat in my NES days, is just as frustrating. As is The Adventure of Link and Super Mario Bros. 2. Super Mario Bros. 3, however, is a lot more forgiving while something like Punch Out!! is a breeze to get through and is more there for fan-fare as a throwback. Dr. Mario, Wario’s Woods, and Ice Hockey provide some much needed variation in the gameplay, as the rest are platformers. Metroid is just plain awesome.
More attention was given to that special nostalgic feeling you get while playing a classic game. In one particular remix stage, the memorable World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros. was re-imagined block for block all the way down to enemy placement, but using sprites and graphics from Super Mario Bros. 3, which proves a very nice touch. Again, these are mostly ideas that our young minds probably dreamt long ago—the developers are clearly young at heart—while others are situations that would never, ever happen… like getting knocked down by Glass Joe in Punch Out!! You’d have to seriously suck for that to ever occur.
Whichever of the twelve games you play, NES Remix 2 presents the content in a manner that's easier to digest and also enjoyable and challenging. Rounding out the package is a Championship Mode that features challenges from the über-rare Nintendo World Championship that sells for tens of thousands of dollars on eBay and a Super Luigi Bros. remix which is little more than a mirrored version of Super Mario Bros. featuring the plumber whose year just past. These are a lot of fun to toy around with, but add little to the overall value of the experience. Even getting the chance to play Nintendo World Championship is cool, but what’s even cooler to NES fans is owning that Gold cartridge as a collectible, not playing it.
After NES Remix, I knew I wanted more. NES Remix 2 is definitely a step in the right direction, but due to featuring fewer games than the first Remix (which had 16 as opposed to the sequel's 12) and not including the best from the first, there’s still an air of incompleteness about it. The games that exist, though, are more significant so it is a fair trade-off. It’s well worth the $15 asking price and I’d even pay a full $60 for a disc-based version of NES Remix, NES Remix 2, and the inevitable NES Remix 3 if all the games were included together cohesively. Hell, I’d be happy to see this franchise turn into a quarterly release and go through hundreds of NES classics and I don’t think it’d get old to me. I'm enjoying them that much.
Since I had such luck getting what I asked for out of my last review, I’ll close with this: Nintendo should work with third-party publishers for NES Remix 3 so that we can mix in some Castlevania and Mega Man action and they need to hurry up with a SNES Remix. Shut up and take my money, Nintendo!