Like they did last year, Nintendo is bringing back one of their classic consoles in miniaturized form for gamers to enjoy. While the SNES Classic could have easily been another simple cash-in, it comes with some new features (and even more impressive games) that take it a step further. Come inside to check out my full review!
By their own admission, Nintendo seemed surprised at the success of last year's NES Classic. They sold out quick, and people have been struggling to track one down ever since (to the point they announced they're producing more next year). Capitalizing on the nostalgia, the House of Mario announced the Super Nintendo Classic for retrogaming fans to drool over.
Given the popularity of the mini-NES, it would have been a simple thing for Nintendo to stick to the same formula and launch the SNES with some games and watch the money roll in. While there are some things that are still frustrating with the console, there are some welcome changes made to the console this time around that improves the overall gaming experience over last year's NES release.
The SNES Classic is an accurate representation of the original Super Nintendo system, complete with sliding purple Power/Reset buttons on the front. The reset button doesn’t reboot whatever game you’re playing, rather it’s your access point to the main menu, restore points, and the new rewind feature (which lets you go backwards a few seconds in a game to save yourself from stupid mistakes).
If you played the NES Classic, this should be familiar to you, but also just as frustrating. Using restore points or the rewind features means you have to hit the reset button each time...Which, depending on how/where you setup the system, could mean you’re getting up and down a lot throughout gameplay sessions.
It's pretty stunning how faithful the recreation is, especially considering how TINY the system is. Much like the mini-NES before it, the SNES Classic fits in the palm of your hand (and likely even a pocket if you really want to). In the box you get this tiny console, an HDMI cord, a USB charging cable, and two SNES controllers. This is one of the first indicators that Nintendo sought to improve on their outing this time around. Rather than making you go out and buy another controller (which were also hard to find for some reason), you get a second one right out of the box, making it easy to dive into the multiplayer games with your friends/family.
The controllers are just as carefully recreated as the console, though they aren’t smaller, and are a near perfect reproduction of the originals. The face buttons click the same way, while the shoulder buttons are on the softer side. In all, it feels exactly like you remember, giving you the same feedback and helps transport you to the days of yore when playing. My only wish, is that there were some sort of “Home” button added to the controller, eliminating the need to physically hit the reset switch to change games,e tc.
Thankfully, the controller cords are much longer than the NES Classic (five feet long compared to the three feet cords last year), but still shorter than the originals. You’ll have room to spread out, but considering most family room setups these days, you’ll probably still be sitting closer to the TV than you’re accustomed to. Personally speaking, all of the furniture in our house is a good distance from the TV/entertainment center, so in order to play from my chair I needed the extension cable, which is still compatible from the NES Classic.
Despite these quibbles, there are definitely improvements that make it easier to dive into the old school games. While I would love to see a little more modern improvements (wireless controllers, home buttons, etc), I can see how those would affect the nostalgic approach/appeal of the console.
The SNES Classic comes with 21 built in games, and while that’s less than the 30 we got with the NES, there’s no denying the step up in quality. While the NES games were fun, many of them were the shorter, arcade-style titles, that don’t offer up much in terms of longevity. The games included on the SNES Classic, however, will keep you playing and engaged for a long time...Here’s the list:
Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy III
Kirby Super Star
Kirby’s Dream Course
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Star Fox 2
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario World
Mario World and the other platformers in the list are significantly longer than their NES counterparts, with oodles of secrets to uncover. Also included are some of the most impressive RPG experiences you can find, regardless of the era. Link to the Past, Earthbound, and Secret of Mana alone can give you weeks worth of gameplay and are titles that even modern games try to emulate.
Not to mention the inclusion of Star Fox II, a game I’ve been dying to play since I heard of its existence. It’s definitely different from the first Star Fox game (which you’ll have to beat the first level of to unlock the sequel), including a first person view that’s tough to adjust to at first, but is still a lot of fun to play.
Truly, the only real gripe I have in terms of the games is that I can’t play them on the Nintendo Switch. They’re excellent titles and playing through them again is just as fun as you remember, but you’re still locked to a console in your home. Despite the shorter amount of games on the console, you won’t feel shortchanged. Sure, there are plenty of other great SNES titles I’d love to see available (as before, there’s no way to officially add more games to the system), but there’s almost nothing to complain about in the selection we’re given.
The games are presented exactly the way they were upon release, with all the quirks/glitches intact, although you can play them in one of two ways. You have the Pixel Perfect mode, which makes the game look correct on your HD television. If that’s not for you, you have the CRT Filter mode which brings in the scanlines and makes it feel like you’re playing the games on tube-style TV set.
I didn’t encounter any issues with either mode of play, though it’s kind of a trip to see these games in Pixel Perfect mode. It’s almost too perfect, if that makes sense, but works incredibly well for its purposes. Couple all this with the aforementioned rewind feature (which should feel familiar to those who played the Disney Afternoon Collection on the PS4), a sleek menu design, and four restore point slots per game you’ve got a lot of great software inside the tiny console.