You likely won’t be familiar with Sunsoft’s Gimmick!, released for the NES in the early nineties. It was previously only released in Japan and, inexplicably, Scandinavia. Though it figures, given that Swedish studio Bitwave Games has now brought the title to modern consoles, eager for this little known platformer to make a second impact.
Starring a little green Yokai called Yumetaro, Gimmick! finds players traversing numerous worlds in order to save a young girl, whisked away by her toys to another dimension. What makes the title unique, especially back when it originally released, is its physics-based gameplay. This is a platformer that makes you think, and momentum can work both for and against you.
Little Yumetaro can run and jump, and by holding down a button you can also force him to summon a star, which can then be unleashed to attack enemies. It can be hard to aim though, as once released it bounces about. Also ramping up the difficulty is the sheer number of hazards that Gimmick! throws your way, everything from pesky blob-like enemies to spike-filled pits. Combined with the momentum, all can easily catch you out.
We’ll reiterate: while Gimmick! looks cute, it really is difficult. Make your way to its first boss and you’ll see. This is a game that will make you swear like a sailor, cursing under your breath every time you lose a life before ultimately having to start over again. It even feels unfair at times, putting you in situations where death feels inevitable unless you have the reflexes of a ninja or have learned the game backwards and forwards.
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Still, some will want to dig into this relic of a bygone era – there’s a reason it’s been brought back after all. And with this being Gimmick! Special Edition, you can bet there are a whole host of additional features.
Beyond museum-like content such as the game’s box art and suchlike, there are modern day quality of life inclusions such as the ability to quick save and, even better, rewind time. So, should you mess up you can simply go back in time and correct your error. And if you get stuck you can record your progress, take a breather, and return to the game with a clearer mind later.
While we can’t recommend Gimmick! Special Edition to all due to its tough-as-nails nature, those who revel in everything retro and enjoy a great challenge will very much appreciate it being brought back for modern audiences. Its plucky star may not be Sonic or Mario, but who knows, in another timeline, maybe Yumetaro could have been as popular as them. You’ll certainly bond with the little fellow throughout your journey with him – while perhaps also turning the air blue.
Gimmick! Special Edition is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.