For fans of Nintendo's original NES games, NES Remix 2 is likely to hit the sweet spot between comfortable nostalgia and jarring alteration.
During a recent demo in San Francisco, I spent some hands-on time with the game. Like its predecessor, NES Remix, Remix 2 focuses on stuffing gameplay from retro games into rapid fire challenges. These bite-sized segments rarely, if ever, ran longer than 45 seconds and kept me on my toes. Mario 3-themed trials made me take out enemies with everlasting starpower as quickly as possible, or attempt to get Mario off the ground and flying. In a challenge taken from side-scroller Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, I had to defeat a tricky boss with a few well-timed hits.
The game's titular remixes are named for their mashups or otherwise drastic changes to popular franchises. These segments were a fun take on otherwise regular experiences. A Super Mario Bros. 3 remix started out simply enough. I was Mario, preparing to dash through a level as usual. As I moved, however, my on-screen avatar multiplied. Jumping onto narrow platforms became a dizzying challenge as I tried to keep myself focused on the middle character and not its clones.
A Kirby-themed remix offered me another fairly familiar challenge: spew items back at a boss-level tree. However, danger lurked just behind my back in the form of a Boo — a ghost from Mario that advances as soon as you take your eyes off it.
One of the most interesting parts of the demo was Super Luigi Bros., a mirrored version of Super Mario Bros. starring the oft-overshadowed brother. Instead of scurrying through levels to the right, I was ushered to the left — a small tweak with a huge impact. The change in direction was disorienting, making even the most familiar levels challenging once again. Luigi also has the power to jump higher than Mario with his signature landing slip.
NES Remix 2 launches for Wii U April 25. For more on the previous game, check out our review.