The NES Mini, Nintendo’s nostalgic micro-console first released back in 2016, finally became easily available this week – arguably the first time since it was announced. Low stock numbers made the sought-after system a scalpers dream, driving scarcity and leading to the NES Mini changing hands for high amounts on eBay. Nintendo even announced that no more were to be produced when the SNES Mini entered production, making the issue worse. If you’ve waited two years to see what all the fuss is about, here are some of the highlights of what the NES Mini has to offer.
While the SNES Mini is packed with great 2 player games (and came with a second controller) there NES Mini is definitely more of a solo experience. The classic arcade game Galaga then is a perfect fit when you want a quick hit of space-battling action. If you’re left wanting more shooting and spacehips the NES Mini also includes Konami’s Gradius, a horizontal shoot ’em up.
Final Fantasy may not have aged wonderfully compared to modern roleplaying games, its definitely worth seeing where the franchise began. The NES Mini’s authentic-feeling hardware and use of features like savestates make this one of the most enjoyable and kindest ways to try and tackle this early RPG. Unfortunately Final Fantasy is the only RPG of its type to be on the system, with Dragon Quest sadly absent.
One of the more unique titles, StarTropics is a top-down adventure game that was only released in the West. While it bears a similarity to Zelda in gameplay terms, what really marks StarTropics out is its setting, using a unqiue blend of yo-yos, tropical islands, submarines and spaceships.
The Legend of Zelda
Any Zelda game should not need much introduction, but much like Final Fantasy this is an excellent platform to try and tackle these early entries on due to its nostalgic presentation and use of enhanced saving functions. The Legend of Zelda and Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link have not had the port and remake treatment quite so much as other titles, so if you’ve just finished Breath of the Wild and want to see where it all began this is great way to try it.
Metroid typifies what makes the NES Mini much harder to recommend than the SNES Mini. While its undoubtedly a good game that launched a brilliant franchise, nostalgia or curiousity has to be a much bigger factor if you’re looking to part with your money. Super Metroid made huge strides since the NES and even the Gameboy titles, so consequently some of these NES titles feel, understandably, dated.
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
While the classic Castlevania experience can be had elsewhere, the divisive Castlevania 2 is certainly one to check out. It made a lot of changes from the original game – and not many of them were popular. Like Zelda 2 this sequel added some RPG elements – there is a world map that can be traversed at will, dispensing with the linearity of the first game. It also forces you to kill enemies repeatedly to collect hearts which you swap for equipment upgrades. Its certainly not as irritating as some people make it out to be, but once again you’ll be very glad for the ability to save at the drop of a hat.