SNES Nintendo Classic Mini review: A shot of nostalgia right to the eyeballs, and now back in stock at Nintendo
After months upon months of waiting for the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini to come back in stock, Nintendo is currently selling the SNES mini once again! Yes, that’s right, you can now buy the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini without having to pay over the odds on a questionable eBay bid.
Selling at the list price of £69.99, Nintendo offers it with free delivery and, in my experience of the Nintendo store, it should arrive within a day or so of ordering.
You can read our original review of the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini below.
SNES Nintendo Classic Mini review
The SNES Nintendo Classic Mini is exactly what Nintendo fans have been waiting for. Last year’s NES Nintendo Classic Mini may have had many swooning over Nintendo’s retro days but the SNES, arguably, has more clout behind it.
What makes this miniature SNES so much more appealing is the selection of heavy hitters Nintendo has packaged with it – Star Fox, Final Fantasy VI (listed as Final Fantasy III) and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to name but a few. It’s also seen some thoughtful hardware tweaks, hot off the back of criticism of the NES Mini.
Just like last year’s NES Mini, the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini is a miniaturised version of Nintendo’s hit console. For the SNES geeks out there, Nintendo’s flagship attraction for the SNES Mini is the inclusion of the unreleased Star Fox 2. Having never seen the light of day due to the impending release of the N64, Star Fox 2 has become something of a holy grail for SNES fans and so Nintendo knows it’s on to a sure-fire winner already.
Thankfully, for those less interested in Star Fox 2, there are plenty of reasons why the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini is a brilliant addition to Nintendo’s family of consoles. In fact, the only real issue you have to contend with is being able to find one in the first place.[gallery:1]
SNES Nintendo Classic Mini review: Retro reborn
Luckily we Brits aren’t getting the rather ugly US version of the mini; it’s the same as the Japanese model and looks rather lovely. It’s much smaller, lighter and neater than the original, though, and only requires a powered USB port or mains adapter to give it the juice it needs to play SNES games.
It’s not cheaply built, either. The grey moulded plastic unibody has the same pleasing matte, speckled texture that the original SNES did. It may not have a flap where the cartridge slot is, the eject button may not work, and the controller ports might be simply a facade to hide the real controller slots, but its build quality is superb; even the controller flap feels sturdy.
Nintendo has also listened to some of the criticisms of last year’s NES Mini and chosen to address them head-on. Instead of coming with one controller, the SNES Mini is bundled with two as standard and Nintendo has extended the controller cables from the previously measly 70cm to a more practical 1.5m. They’re still far too short, but it’s at least not quite as ridiculously impractical as it was previously.
The pads themselves are the same as the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console controllers that Nintendo released via its Club Nintendo shop back in 2012. The general build quality and feel aren’t far off the original SNES pad. Although the D-pad and buttons feel spongier, they’re the same size and comfortable to play with for long durations.[gallery:6]
SNES Nintendo Classic Mini review: Gorgeous games
If you’re wondering why you’d opt for a SNES Nintendo Classic Mini instead of a Raspberry Pi-powered retro game emulator or an Android TV Box, this probably isn’t for you.
Nostalgia reasons aside, the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini is the best way to actually play some of the SNES’s best games. I’ve yet to come across a retro game emulator that runs as silky smooth as Nintendo’s Virtual Consoles. Every game has been meticulously tested so it runs perfectly in HD and still looks gorgeous. Pixels are sharp, colours are crisp, and it feels like a premium way to play through some of your old favourites. There’s even a CRT filter if you after the ultimate retro experience.
Nintendo has also integrated a Save function that lets you drop out of any game at any point and resume where you left off – no need to even save in-game. This is a massive boon for the time-poor among us who just want to spend a few minutes scratching away at a classic when they’ve got the time. There’s also a neat “Rewind” function, which allows you to skip back around 45 seconds into a game and carry on from that point.
SNES Nintendo Classic Mini review: Star Flops 2
Now, there’s one tricky thing I have to mention about the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini – Star Fox 2.
Despite its inclusion, Nintendo locks this lost gem behind a one-level “playwall” that requires you to complete the opening level of the original Star Fox before you can delve into its sequel. In some respects, it’s a smart move. It means players have to experience Star Fox before jumping into the sequel, helping them hone their skills and remember just how tricky the 3D SNES title was. On the other hand, it also reminds players that Star Fox is fantastic fun and helps them realise that Star Fox 2 is not.
Yes, however unfortunate it may be, Star Fox 2 is just not that enjoyable. At least, not enough to warrant buying a SNES Nintendo Classic Mini for. Alarm bells should have rung when Nintendo said they’d be including a game that was previously unreleased. If it was genuinely worth releasing, Nintendo would have done it far sooner than now.[gallery:5]
Don’t get me wrong, Star Fox 2 has a host of neat ideas. Instead of a linear story, it plays out as a real-time strategy, asking you to pick planets, enemy outposts and search parties to capture. But the combat sections of the game play out from an entirely first-person perspective and, with the SNES’ limited graphical power, it’s a mess to play in 2017.
Thankfully, the SNES Nintendo Classic Mini has plenty of other games available to spend time with, almost all of which are still excellent. Super Mario Kart hasn’t aged too well, but Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, Street Fighter II Turbo and many others remain fantastic fun. There’s a few less well-known titles like Earthbound and Secret of Mana to get your teeth into as well.
Here’s the complete list:
|Contra III: The Alien Wars||Donkey Kong Country|
|EarthBound||Final Fantasy III|
|F-ZERO||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!!|
SNES Nintendo Classic Mini review: Verdict[gallery:0]
The SNES Nintendo Classic Mini is a stone-cold stunner on the retro console revival circuit that seems to be happening at the moment. Compared with the Ataribox it’s an absolute bargain (although Atari’s will play more than just classics). The tricky part is that it’s also going to be absolutely impossible to get hold of. Despite launching on 29 September it’s practically sold out everywhere and only available at extortionate prices from third-party sellers.
Nintendo is certainly to blame for this price inflation, but you can’t really put that on the SNES Mini. For its price £70, it’s a steal for those with fond memories spent playing a multitude of SNES games in their youth. Just like with the NES Nintendo Classic Mini, its appeal dulls slightly when you realise you can’t add any new titles to it but the SNES games on offer are so meaty it doesn’t really matter.
It’s also annoying that Nintendo has – yet again – decided not to package it with a three-pin to USB plug adapter and the new 1.5m controller cables are still far from long enough. But that’s all I can say against Nintendo’s new retro console – it’s a genuinely brilliant slab of moulded plastic.