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Gimmick!

ギミック

Developer / Publisher: Sunsoft
31 January 1992
Gimmick! [ギミック] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.67 / 5.0
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150 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#919 All-time
#12 for 1992
After purchasing a magical toy named Gimmick from a decrepit shop for his daughter's birthday, her other toys become mad with jealousy. They swiftly take her away to a fantasy world, and it's up to Gimmick to rescue her.
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1992 Sunsoft  
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1993 Sunsoft  
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XEU 0 20763 11019 8 NES-G8-SCN
Gimmick! Special Edition
2023 Sunsoft City Connection  
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Gimmick! Special Edition
2023 Sunsoft City Connection  
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Gimmick! Special Edition
2023 Sunsoft City Connection  
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Title
Mr. Gimmick! (or just Gimmick!) is a very difficult video game. During this era, it didn’t matter if the game was a gritty, urban beat-em-up like River City Ransom or a whimsical, fantasy-inspired game with chibi-looking characters like Bubble Bobble. Every single game on that 8-bit box would test both the might and patience of every player. Video games haven’t recently been inflated to a hefty $50-70 range because of realistic graphics and longer, cinematic narratives. They’ve always been that price, and the primitive hardware of the NES had to compensate by making these games hard as nails. It was the only way for players to get their money’s worth. Mr. Gimmick! falls under the latter of the two categories. Everything about this game is so damn sugar-sweet and cherubic that it’s almost sickening. Nowadays, a game that looks like this would be a facile affair to not offend the sensibilities of children. Despite the way it looks, Mr. Gimmick! is just as punishing as any other game on the system.

The premise of Mr. Gimmick! is somewhere in between The Brave Little Toaster and Toy Story. The main protagonist is a green plushie named Yumetaro (and not Mr. Gimmick, surprisingly) and he has just been gifted to a little girl for her birthday by her father. Yumetaro quickly becomes the little girl’s favorite toy which makes the other toys green with envy. They take out their feelings of jealousy on the little girl and warp her to another dimension. Yumetaro then has to travel to this dimension and rescue his owner from the other toys. It’s kinda like if Woody convinced all of Andy’s toys to take Woody’s aggression out on Andy and Buzz had to go out and save Andy.

The standout thing about Yumetaro is his method of attacking. He can jump in the air on platforms with a gaping, open-mouthed expression like any other character in a 2D platformer, but his way of defending himself from enemies is unlike anything else I’ve seen. To initiate an attack, the player must hold down the B button to materialize a star above Yumetaro’s head. Releasing this button will cause Yumetaro to launch the star as it ricochets off the walls. Yumetaro can even ride the star as it bounces precariously, but doing this is far too risky for a novice player like myself. This attack is certainly unique, but it comes with a slew of problems. Hitting anything with the star depends on the trajectory of where it bounces. Most enemies are about eye-level to Yumetaro, so one would think that jumping over an enemy with a charged-up star would do the trick. What happens most of the time however is that the star has a habit of getting brushed off of enemies due to not being pinpoint accurate. The best strategy, especially with a group of enemies, is just to flail these stars erratically from a distance and hope that it hits some of them. I wish I could hold a star over Yumetaro’s head and damage enemies that land on it, but the developers thought ahead of that trick. Executing my strategy isn’t as easy as it sounds anyway because the player can’t make another star until the last one has fully dissipated. It also takes far too long to charge up a star, and this also includes the few other powers ups that Yumetaro has like the bomb and the fireball. I wish there were more variations of this star attack, perhaps letting the player shoot tinier stars that do less damage. The rules regarding the star attack keep the player from exploiting the game, but there is a steep difficulty curve with using it.

The otherworldly dimension of Mr. Gimmick is just as adorable as its pudgy, green protagonist. The game takes place on a floating island with a diverse set of geographical locations and the levels are divided between those locations. The first level is a candy-coated wonderworld with the bluest of skies and foregrounds that resemble Fruit Stripe bubble gum. The trees of the wooded level are the brightest of green and the flowing waterfalls have an alluring, aqua-blue sheen. The interior and exterior of the pirate ship level are a warm burgundy color and the stone foundations of the ruins level have never made grey pixels look more appealing. Even the darker sections beneath the grounds of each level manage to be vibrant despite its darker lighting. The colors of Mr. Gimmick pop and sparkle more than most games I’ve seen on the NES. For a world that a little girl is taken into by force, it’s such an effervescent place.

This is what I would be saying if it weren’t for Mr. Gimmick’s level of difficulty. I’ve commented on how difficult it is to adjust to Yumetaro’s distinctive offensive ability, but combating enemies is only a fraction of what Mr. Gimmick will throw at the player. The wondrous fantasy dimension of Mr. Gimmick is also a dangerous one, filled to the brim with bottomless holes, water hazards, and spike pits that pop poor Yumetaro with one touch. The controls in Mr. Gimmick! also tend to be a bit slippery, and I had many unfortunate missteps that resulted in instant death. Enemies tend to be placed on narrow platforms and there are so many sudden hazards that drop from the ceilings that the player won’t anticipate unless they’ve already died from it. There is little room for error in this game. Mr. Gimmick! also implements an unusual health system. The player will start with only two units of health and will have to find two orange flasks in the level that increase Yumetaro’s maximum health by one unit per flask. The player’s maximum health will also be restarted after each level, so the arduous hunt for more health will never be fully relieved. Making the player earn their maximum health at each level is pretty harsh if you ask me. The checkpoints are also of questionable convenience in that some levels have more than others. Some of the checkpoints in the later levels are completely unfair. The only helpful perk the game gives the player is seven lives, but those will exhaust quickly knowing what the player is up against.

The bosses in Mr. Gimmick are all Yumetaro’s fellow stuffed associates that have taken the girl hostage. Many of them are just as physically cuddly as Yumetaro and are around his stature. There’s a pirate plushie with an eyepatch and cutlass, a baby bird that hatches from an egg, and a wizard with a cloak to name a few. Being that they are around Yumetaro’s height, defeating them with the star up close and personal is not an easy tactic. The boss fights are a matter of knowing where to ricochet the star while avoiding their attacks which can be hectic at times. The most memorable boss is a black blob in a crane shooting a downward laser that fires more rapidly as the player hits it. Defeating this boss requires shooting a specific angle with the star, but that’s not what makes it memorable. I remember this boss because there’s another after him without any respite or another checkpoint. This unfair endurance test almost made me want to give up. I was surprised that the game ended after defeating the cloaked plushie because the game felt very short and Yumetaro didn’t rescue the girl. The credits rolled and the game didn’t feel finished. That’s because this game has a secret ending with the real boss. The final boss that unlocks the true ending is an evil wizard who sheds his dark cloak after a few hits to reveal some guy in a fencing outfit. After defeating him, the girl is saved and all the other toys are banished or something. How do I know what happens in the true ending? I watched a clip of it on Youtube. Unlocking the true ending here requires the player to find all of the secret items, all without continuing as well. Fuck that. That girl is going to starve to death in that sealed-off room, and I’m not going to go through the ludicrous lengths the game wants me to prevent that from happening.

Mr. Gimmick is an obscure hidden gem on the NES, and for good reason. It could be because the game was only released in Japan and Scandinavia and it could also be because it came out at the end of the NES’s lifespan. No, Mr. Gimmick is a hidden gem because it has a niche appeal. It may seem accessible on the surface due to its adorable charm, but its difficulty makes it anything but. It goes beyond the standard level of NES hard with its rather demanding gameplay with Yumetaro’s star ability and its little margin of error. It’s certainly unique, but the appeal only extends to a certain level. Don’t be fooled by Mr. Gimmick’s charm. This game is a testament to the phrase “NES hard” in that even the cutest of 8-bit, 2D platformers will still have the player begging for mercy.
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Catalog

Rippeul ギミック 2024-05-31T13:11:58Z
2024-05-31T13:11:58Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
lauracomfy ギミック 2024-05-11T21:45:22Z
2024-05-11T21:45:22Z
9
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
anitahegerland ギミック 2024-05-10T08:46:41Z
2024-05-10T08:46:41Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
thisvlad ギミック 2024-04-30T06:20:31Z
2024-04-30T06:20:31Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
AdrianTraveler ギミック 2024-04-28T22:59:21Z
2024-04-28T22:59:21Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Manygodsnomasters ギミック 2024-04-25T23:06:49Z
2024-04-25T23:06:49Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SemtexRevolution ギミック 2024-04-23T03:45:08Z
2024-04-23T03:45:08Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
blackdre666es ギミック 2024-04-14T14:23:47Z
2024-04-14T14:23:47Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
buddysnatcher ギミック 2024-04-11T14:13:49Z
2024-04-11T14:13:49Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PhrostByte ギミック 2024-03-26T21:36:22Z
2024-03-26T21:36:22Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Anatommy ギミック 2024-03-12T10:26:57Z
2024-03-12T10:26:57Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eliottstaten ギミック 2024-03-11T04:57:02Z
2024-03-11T04:57:02Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x Cartridge
Also known as
  • Gimmick!
  • Mr. Gimmick
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  • Previous comments (2) Loading...
  • Fowlawneeshafow 2021-01-08 01:10:28.411036+00
    Pretty neat game
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  • Zainou86 2021-07-05 01:15:39.765716+00
    Kind of unfair at times
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  • Molten_ 2021-08-31 04:14:29.323236+00
    I think I've actually learned to really enjoy the difficulty of this game. it's the same as the original zelda ... sure, some stuff is really obtuse for no reason, but I still love it anyway. it gives the game charm.
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  • brasscontraption 2022-01-19 16:14:56.409251+00
    based game
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  • HeatherMadhouse 2023-05-16 10:51:23.850739+00
    severely underrated game and one of the best titles to ever be released on NES. sad I don't own this on a cart
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  • Molten_ 2023-06-19 06:08:57.665269+00
    every time I replay this I appreciate it more and more ... genuinely might be the best NES game ever made.
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