Let's tear it up for the 17th and final episode of the NES launch games! A ray of sun after the video game crash of 1983.
Is It Still Fun?
Wrecking Crew is an interesting mix of puzzle and action game. While it mainly relies on it's puzzle aspects, your ability to solve most of the puzzles in non-linear unique ways is what keeps the experience enjoyable. Whether you'll be able to withstand playing through all 100 levels is another story. There's not really enough going on in the game to allow it to build on itself for 50 levels, let alone 100. That said, if you're enjoying the game you will love the wide range of levels and the ability to make your own!
Is It Still Playable?
Wrecking Crew feels good to play. Lining up Mario with a wall to break can sometimes get a little dodgy, but that's really my only complaint from a control perspective. This being in the NES programmable series means that it comes with a level editor. And it's a really good one at that! Making your own level offers plenty of variety, but it's definitely not as easy as Excitebike. I would say that some knowledge of level design or puzzle making is required to make a "good" level in the editor. Fireball timeouts in the main game can get a little repetitive (see Mario Bros. when that episode is released for more on that), but it was Nintendo's solution to keeping the player and action moving.
Is It Still Important?
Wrecking Crew has not been forgotten by Nintendo, but it's certainly not held as dear to Nintendo as some of their other launch titles. Wrecking Crew '98 was a Japanese only sequel for the Super Famicom that expanded the formula by focusing on a competitive approach. That game was never released elsewhere by Nintendo. While characters like Ice Climber and R.O.B found new life in Smash Bros. we have yet to hear from Spike since this game. I personally would love to see him make an appearance in Camelot's Mario Tennis and Golf games.
Wrecking Crew is definitely a strong showing for both Sakamoto and Nintendo. It's inclusion of Mario continues to solidify him early on as the company's mascot. Overall, we recommend that everyone give this charming little puzzler a shot, but be cautioned that it's older age might make it not for you. And that is okay.