Last year, Nintendo announced the release of its NES Classic Mini. Exciting as the announcement was, it was somewhat tainted when hardly anyone could actually get their hands on one. The tiny console has proven to be hugely enjoyable nostalgic fun, but it is beset with problems that Nintendo didn't seem to notice before launch.
The SNES Classic has just been released. Again, this is massively exciting from a nostalgia point of view, but did Nintendo actually learn from the NES release, and fix any of its issues? Well, yes and no. Looks-wise, the console is once again tiny, which is cute, and it does look like an exact replica of its bigger original version. While the NES Mini only came with one controller, the SNES Classic has 2; much better for the 2-player games, obviously, including Mario Kart. The big question surrounding cord length is partially satisfied; the controller cords for the SNES Classic are longer than the NES, which required you to get a stiff neck in order to play, but the extra length is still not good enough, in our opinion. For many, playing on the SNES will still mean having to sit on the floor and let's face it, we're not nine years old anymore.
So, provided you can get comfortable enough, it's onto the games. Really, to the casual gamer, or to someone who's bought the SNES Classic for a retro kick, it's difficult to find fault. There's Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Street Fighter 2, and so much more. There's also the previously unreleased Star Fox 2. The title was canceled back in the day, owing to the advent of the flashier 3D consoles and the N64. While it might seem great to get a chance to play it now, one time will most likely be enough. The problem is, Star Fox 2 is too ahead of itself for the SNES, meaning that play is jittery, hard to follow, and frustrating. Still, there's a wealth of other titles to enjoy. The CRT filter is good fun, and really makes it feel like you're playing on an old TV. That said, pixel perfect mode is easier to follow at times.
Annoyingly, its still hard to access the home menu and save functions. Maybe it's just that we've all gotten lazy, but it's frustrating to have to get up and hit the reset button to access the top-level menu. It was frustrating on the NES Mini, too, and we'd assumed Nintendo would have done something about this, but no.
Finally, there is still issue with availability of the SNES Classic. Not so bad as it was with the NES, granted, but in Europe particularly, it's proving almost impossible to track down, and pre-orders sold out exceptionally quickly. The same happened with the NES Mini, and the Switch; surely Nintendo can figure it out better in the future? On a final note, sorry, Americans, but the European version of the SNES Classic is much brighter and better looking. Either way, though, wherever in the world you are, the SNES Classic is still a whole load of fun, and worth buying.