During the December 18th Nintendo Direct event, the company announced and released NES Remix. The reveal came as a bit of a surprise and was immediately met with healthy curiosity, but the one thing that may keep some people from giving in to that curiosity is the price for NES Remix. It’s sold for $14.99 and is only available from the eShop on the Wii U. $14.99 isn’t expensive as far as downloadable console games are concerned, but the question is whether NES Remix is unique and plentiful enough to justify what is essentially a collection of minigames.
The best way to describe NES Remix is to compare it to WarioWare. Each level in the game requires you to complete a single challenge in a short period of time. The faster you complete a level, the more stars you earn that unlock even more levels. The stages in general are derived from classic Nintendo games such as Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. Balloon Fight and Excitebike. There are also special remix stages that borrow design elements from each of these games and adds a unique twist to the challenge. This is a concept that has proven to be successful for Nintendo, but considering the age of the games on display and the somewhat repetitive nature of the challenges, NES Remix comes off as a nostalgia cash grab.
One argument I’ve seen against NES Remix is the similarities it has to ROM hacks that are readily available on the internet. I don’t agree with this stance because ROMs aren’t exactly the most legal thing in the world. Another argument is that $15 is enough to buy the full versions of a few of these games on the eShop. While that’s certainly true, I think that’s missing the point of NES Remix. NES Remix is about utilizing only the main mechanics of each of these classic games in rapid succession. It’s not a replacement for full games. These days, many people don’t have the time or patience to play through Super Mario Bros. and Balloon Fight in their entirety. These mini-games offer a small dose of nostalgia that’s enough to push you through to the next challenge where you’ll get your next fix. It puts a smile on the faces of older players who probably haven’t played these games for many, many years. For them, that experience is well worth $15.
Is $15 too much for NES Remix? It depends on how you look at it. From a technical standpoint, your money can buy you more games and longer experiences than what NES Remix can offer. If you don’t care to fight through these old games as they were originally designed, NES Remix is for you. If you prefer to take your nostalgia fixes to the head in 30 minutes or less, NES Remix is for you. The kind of feelings a game like this can generate in a person isn’t easily quantified in dollars. That’s the kind of mindset Nintendo is counting on to sell this game. If you have to think hard about purchasing it, you probably weren’t going to buy it anyway.