Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition – Preview

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition is a frantic micro-game collection that should tickle speedrunners immensely.
nintendo world championships nes edition

One of my favourite Nintendo franchises of all time is WarioWare. It’s silly, irreverent, over-the-top, and forces you to think on your feet as you’re hit with micro-game challenges you must understand, interpret, and defeat within a matter of seconds. I mention this as Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition appears, based on my early preview, to be the mature older cousin to WarioWare – specifically, its 9-Volt stages.

As in WarioWare, Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition is all about speed – it’s a speedrunner’s dream, really. Across single and multiplayer modes, you’ll spend your time with the game completing an array of micro-games, all inspired by classic Nintendo franchises.

Solo mode is an exercise in perfection

In solo mode, you’re racing against yourself – attempting to get a perfect score as you run through micro-games, work on your movements, and eventually crack scores of the A++ and S variety.

The aim here is not to beat the timer, but to pixel-perfect your moves and complete each task in the fewest seconds possible. And it is hard, particularly as you complete “Easy” and “Normal” difficult micro-games and move into “Legend” stages that require a muscle finesse that I most certainly lack (for now, at least).

In good news for those in a similar boat, Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition is slightly slower than your average WarioWare. In each stage, you’ll get a demonstration and room for practice before you tackle the real micro-game challenge. Harder stages also come with Nintendo Power-style digital instruction booklets so you can work out where to improve your runs, and how best to conquer each level.

While micro-games in Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition start out as micro, they can get up to two minutes in length (or five minutes, if you’re not great at them). Some are even whole levels of classic games – Kirby’s Adventure, Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong – that need to be completed in the shortest time possible.

Failing again and again at these stages is frustrating, but there’s plenty of advice within the game to give you a leg up, and encourage experimentation. Each second you shave off feels like a triumph, and the game rewards you for your efforts with visual celebrations, and the opportunity to unlock more stages.

I was fairly surprised at how compelling the single player mode seemed – and how it unlocked the more competitive parts of my brain, even when I was playing against myself. “I’m better than this” was a constant thought, in a way that was motivational – and in many cases, the mantra pushed me to better scores. I even managed a few top-ranked S scores by taking my time, analysing movement techniques, and then replicating them in my run. With more time and dedication, I can imagine I’ll only get better.

That said, it’s the game’s competitive modes that have the most meat on them, and that will likely motivate players to keep stomping through stages. The thrill of victory is so much sweeter when you’re thrashing a real person, and not just your own top score.

Read: Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition announced

Trounce your friends in Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition‘s multiplayer mode

nintendo world championships nes edition
Image: Nintendo

By far my favourite part of my Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition preview was rumbling through Party Mode with two other folks, of similar experience levels. In this mode, you’re thrown together in competitive matches, with a variety of special cups determining which micro-games you attempt.

Gameplay quickly becomes a race to perfect your movement, as you’ll need to quickly get up to speed on challenges, and then race to become the fastest and most agile player amongst your fellows. For the record, I won the first round of this mode, thanks to some quick thinking and luck with the micro-games I’d already played. I lost subsequent rounds, but let’s not dwell on that.

It was in Party Mode that Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition most clicked. While solo mode is entertaining, there will naturally be a ceiling as players perfect each of the 150 micro-games, and hit those S scores with repetition. This is essentially a training mode for the heart of the game – multiplayer modes where players will go head-to-head with their skills. (You can also perfect your skills with Survival Mode, which pits you against ghost data from other players.)

nintendo world championships
Image: Nintendo

For younger players familiar with the YouTube scene, this will likely be their first proper taste of speedrunning, and potentially a gateway for more. By nature, it will also introduce them to an entirely new generation of Nintendo games they may not have experienced before – complete with wonky physics, processor slow down, and poorly-defined hit boxes (I say lovingly). For older players, there will be plenty of nostalgia, on top of fast-paced challenges that keep brains and muscles moving.

The long-term appeal of the game will be put to the test within a larger review period – but for now, my Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition preview has given me a taste for more. I need to go back and figure out the Kirby’s Adventure controls properly, for one thing. Then I’m heading for that Legend stage once more, with a view to grab its S score. I know I can do it, I just have to believe.

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition launches for Nintendo Switch on 18 July 2024.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.