With the official launch date set for Friday, September 29th, many gamers who preordered the SNES Classic Edition are wondering what to expect when they unbox their console. Well, the first reviews for the console have started showing up online, and the overall impressions are highly favorable. For those of you that grew up with the SNES, you're in for a treat. And for those of you that have never even touch the original gaming console, sit back and witness retro greatness.
While some may have marveled at the novelty of last year’s NES Classic Edition, the SNES Classic Edition actually brings games with more depth and that have high replay value even today. "Super Mario World is as fresh and challenging as it ever was. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past remains the pinnacle of 2D level design," writes Kotaku. "It still feels fantastic to roll around as a Morph Ball in Super Metroid, and the labyrinth of Zebes is still deliciously mysterious. Earthbound and Final Fantasy VI (originally released, and shown on the SNES Classic, as Final Fantasy III) continue to feel like top-notch JRPGs that designers are still trying to emulate, all these years later."
IGN echoed the sentiment about the quality titles included, writing, "Nintendo has opted for quality over quantity with the SNES Classic’s library, which bundles just 21 games compared to the NES Classic’s 30.
"Most are amazing to play even today: a dozen genre- or franchise-defining headliners, including a handful of lengthy and still engaging RPGs represent hundreds of hours’ worth of some of the finest games of the 16-bit era."
While the games have pretty much made the transition from the early 90s to today unscathed, there are some new tricks that the SNES Classic Edition can pull off to make the gaming experience even better -- especially if you have a tendency to die while playing some particularly tough levels in games.
"From any suspended point, you can rewind the actual game and replay about a minute or so of gameplay. It’s not something I turned to very often, since getting to it requires being on the home screen, which in turn requires physically hitting the reset button on the console," writes Polygon. "But the few times I tried it out — in particular, a rather frustrating stretch of a Donkey Kong Country stage involving mine carts and a broken track — were clutch."
Like the NES Classic Edition that came before it, the SNES Classic Edition carries over three display mode options for those that want to relive the experience of sitting down in front of a CRT TV (with rabbit ears attached, of course). There is a 4:3 mode to match the aspect ratio of old tube TVs, a CRT filter which emulates scan lines, and Pixel Perfect.
But what about the all-important game controller? Thankfully, everything is A-OK here, and Nintendo has even managed to increase the length of the cable compared to what was found in the NES Classic Edition. "The controller is a faithful reproduction of the original," Engadget explains. "It was the best controller around at the time, and there's nothing I'd rather play these games on. While the NES Classic controller had a tiny 20-inch cable, the SNES Classic's has 43 inches to play with. It's just long enough for my apartment but still probably not up to scratch for the average American living room. Still, it's a huge improvement."
Overall, the reviewers came away impressed with the hardware, the games, and the overall experience. If there was one aspect of the console that reviewers didn't like, it was the reset button. If you want to get the main menu, play a different game or change settings, you have to stop what you're doing, get up, and hit the reset button on top of the console. While this is how we had to do things "back in the day", modern console gamers have grown accustomed to changing setting directly from the controller. However, this is a relatively small nitpick on what is an otherwise faithful reproduction of the original SNES gaming experience.
For those that need a refresher, here are the 21 games that are included with the SNES Classic Edition:
- 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
- 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
- Super Metroid
- Super Punch-Out!!
- Yoshi’s Island
As we mentioned earlier, the Nintendo SNES Classic Edition launches on Friday, and is priced at $79.99 (if you can actually find one in stock).