Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition – All The Trappings Of A Game Night Great

Initial Impressions of Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition

Nintendo recently invited us to go hands-on with Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition ahead of its 18th July release date. Below, both Zion and Jim have shared what they made of it.

First up, let’s hear from Zion

When Nintendo first revealed the upcoming Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition for Switch back in May, I wasn’t necessarily sure where to place my excitement. On one hand, I’m always happy to see Nintendo pay homage to its roots in unique ways, but since the NES will be celebrating its 40th birthday before we know it *insert gut punch here*, it’s fair to say some fans have grown tired of paying for another iteration of the original Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, even with a twist.

However, after going hands-on with the game for around an hour, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much fun I had with these 8-bit bros again, by simply adding some new rules, objectives, and split-screen competitive multiplayer. Even though the classic games on offer here aren’t included in their full form, and haven’t been reworked to the extent they were in the NES Remix series, there’s potential for this to join the rotation of game night greats like Mario Kart, Mario Party, and Super Smash Bros. – especially for those that grew up with the NES.

Perhaps the biggest question you’ll have is: How is Nintendo World Championships different from NES Remix? Based on what I saw in my limited time with it, the main difference is that NES Remix actually reworked art assets and mechanics in NES games and made special minigames out of them, whereas here the games themselves are left untweaked. It’s all about speed.

Image: Nintendo

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition lets you tackle bite-sized challenges within 13 different NES games, always with the goal of finishing the challenge as fast as possible. The list of games includes the likes of Balloon Fight, Kirby’s Adventure, Zelda II, and even the unrelenting Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. From the ones I played, challenges can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes long and could task you with making it to the flag pole as fast as you can in level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros, knocking out all the on-screen enemies in Balloon Fight, or collecting a set amount of rupees so you can buy an item from a shopkeep in Zelda. It was interesting to see the variety of missions on display and how some challenges can come down to sheer skill while others may implement a bit more randomness in the mix.

You’ll have access to challenges from all 13 games from the get-go and will unlock more as you play. Even though some of the earlier ones can feel a bit like tutorials for the main mechanics, it’s fascinating how simply injecting a timer and new objectives can really give these games new life. It made me look at them all from a completely different perspective.

Personal Challenges and Competitive Edge

One mission asked me to sprint to the end of an early level in Kirby’s Adventure and even though I had taken some damage on the run and was quite low on health, I sprinted right past a Maxim Tomato. I felt so conflicted about leaving that healing item behind, but since I knew time was of the essence, my priority was getting to that exit door no matter the cost. It didn’t matter if a Whispy boss was waiting for me beyond the doorway, as the challenge ended instantly once I walked through. As someone who’s never tried speedrunning, it’s funny to see how much of a challenge it could be to simply walk through a door in a timely fashion. Something that’s never really required precision input in the past was now a task I faced many times throughout my demo.

Customization and Social Elements

While I didn’t get to test out real online play, which the game boasts loads of options for, it did make me smile to see Nintendo offer some fun ways to express yourself through your character profile on the leaderboards. When you first boot up the game, you’ll be able to customise your profile with basic things like an avatar from a range of NES sprites (with more unlocking as you play) and a tag like “Never Had an NES.” But they also let you share your favourite NES game with the world. They’ve included a list of nearly every game that’s ever officially been released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, even games that I’d assume wouldn’t have been mentioned due to licensing issues, like Spy vs. Spy and Superman, made the cut. There’s no box art, but it’s a little detail that made the 25-year-long NES fan in me feel seen. I’m looking forward to scanning the list for EarthBound Beginnings and Bubble Bobble.

Social Gaming and Multiplayer Fun

Regardless of how competitive you may be, there’s something satisfying about chasing a personal best score and putting your D-pad reflexes to the test with your friends. While NWC: NES Edition caters for up to eight players in local multiplayer, I had the chance to play with four others in our group and we collectively had a blast., simultaneously congratulating each other on fast times and shouting when we’d finish a mission with neck-and-neck times.

Another Perspective on Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition

And now, here’s what Jim made of it

Much like Zion, I was hardly giddy with excitement after the initial announcement of Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition on a random Wednesday back in May, but I probably should have been. Yes, this is a game that might pale in comparison to some of 2024’s more high-profile releases but after going hands-on with it at a recent Nintendo UK event, I’m already itching to slot it into my game night rotation.

The central concept is as simple as they come: Complete the assigned challenge as quickly as possible. It’s an idea that can be traced right back to the original Nintendo World Championships of the 1990s, but it also popped up in the NES Remix collections on Wii U and the ‘Ultimate’ edition on 3DS.

Variety in Challenges and Game Modes

Despite this common theme, I was surprised at the variety on display. There are three different game modes through which you can experience the 150 available challenges, each providing a unique spin to keep the competitive tensions high. ‘Speedrun Mode’ had me racing against my personal bests, with a ‘ghost’ of my fastest run ever present to show me what I was doing it right (or, more often, doing it wrong). ‘Survival Mode’ is a classic battle royale set-up all about being the last man standing. ‘Party Mode’ had us in local multiplayer playing through a four-game ‘Challenge Pack’, with points rewarded for where you placed.

Satisfaction in Competition and Accessibility

The objectives of each game mode are certainly of a similar ilk, it’s true, but a party game which is just as fun to play solo as it is with friends is a rare commodity. I was just as enrapt by the sense of competition in the PB-beating single-player mode as I was when competing against opponents.

Inclusivity and Enjoyment

There is every chance this every-second-counts approach could grow tiresome for those not keen on challenge repetition and there’s surely only so long that a sense of competitive rivalry can last in the long run. Fortunately, for me, things never felt repetitive in my hour of hands-on play. I didn’t have myself down as the kind of gamer to care all that much about the speed at which I could take the Old Man’s sword in The Legend of Zelda, but with a timer ticking away in the corner, you best believe I was going to throw tens of attempts at it to shave off the milliseconds and get my time down to an S Rank.

Anticipation for the Game Launch

I was only able to see a small selection of the challenges on offer in my preview, but after roughly an hour of getting to grips with its sweet simplicity, I, too, can see Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition becoming a staple of a Switch game night. This is a different experience to your Mario Karts, Parties, and WarioWares, but it looks set to bring competition by the bucketload.

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition launches on Switch on 18th July for £24.99 / $29.99. A bumper physical edition is also available for £49.99 / $59.99.

What’s your hype level looking like for this one? Let us know in the comments.

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