Bitwave Games and City Connection have brought 2D classic NES platforming gem Gimmick! to Nintendo Switch to give us the definitive version of the game. Check our Gimmick! Special Edition review!
Bitwave Games and City Connection have brought 2D classic NES platforming gem Gimmick! to Nintendo Switch to give us the definitive version of the game. This one was originally released by SUNSOFT in Japan for the Famicom – the Japanese counterpart for the Nintendo Entertainment System, a.k.a. the NES – way back in 1922, well over a year after the console’s 16-bit successor, the Super Famicom – you know, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a.k.a. the SNES – had hit the scene.
The game was later released in 1993 in Scandinavia as Mr. Gimmick with a very limited print run. As expected, this means that the Famicom and NES (PAL) versions of the game are one of the most expensive games in each console’s collection – with loose copies of either version going as high as $1,000! Those of you who are lucky enough to have a complete copy of the game with the box, manual, and cartridge have a true collector’s item. It’s now 2023, and we’re finally getting a chance to play this one on Nintendo Switch at a much, much lower entry price.
You’ll be playing as the cute green character you see in the trailer and screens in this Gimmick! Special Edition review, who is known as Yumetaro. He was gifted to a girl and ended up becoming her favorite. This made her other toys jealous… which is why when the toys come to life and take her to another dimension – the titular Gimmick. It’s up to Yumetaro to give chase so that he can save her before it’s too late!
Gimmick! stands out as one of the most gorgeous and complex games on the NES. There are some instances where the game presents a set of tiles or character sprites that won’t ever be used again, which is rare for an NES-era release. On top of that, the game used a special sound chip – the SUNSOFT 5B chip – that provided more sound channels, which allowed composer Masashi Kageyama to create an advanced musical score. The screens in this Gimmick! Special Edition review don’t do the game justice. This is also a very peculiar NES release since it’s a physics-based 2D platformer. Sure, nowadays, hearing a game is a physic-based experience is sorta expected, but back in 1992, with the power of the NES, this game felt like witchcraft.
Since this release is presented as Gimmick! Special Edition that means you’re expecting to get some extras and some quality-of-life improvements that can make this an easier journey. You can make good use of the quick save and quick load options so that you can save your progress and carry on exactly where you left off. There’s also a rewind feature that can be activated when you make a mistake, such as missing a crucial jump or landing on the classic but always deadly pointy spikes.
Controls for this challenging 2D platforming experience are easy to pick up. You’ll be controlling Yumetaro with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping with the A button. By pressing the B button, you’ll be able to launch a star that will bounce around the area. You can also press and hold down the button to charge the star and keep it above you, ready to be launched. You can rewind time by pressing the ZR button. There are also sub-weapons for you to collect, which will be added to your inventory at the bottom right corner of the screen.
These items include a powerful bomb and a fireball, which can be used to attack enemies or bosses – including a particular boss that can be damaged with the bomb at any time but can’t be damaged with your star until it’s tried to attack you. There’s also a pink potion that you can store to recover some of your health. Switch between items by pressing down on the left analog stick or the D-Pad, and press up and hold down the B button to activate it. You start with two health points, but if you collect orange vials, you can get up to four health points in total for that particular level. You can also grab special vials that can add extra lives to your total.
The game can be played in one of three different modes: Normal, Speedrun, and Serious. Normal Mode offers you the standard experience while also having access to the quick save, quick load, and rewind options. For Speedrun Mode, you’ll be racing against the clock as you try to beat the game as fast as possible to earn a spot on the online leaderboard – which is split between those that got the normal ending and those that got the true ending. The last option is Serious Mode, which will have you playing a version of the game that is true to the original experience, which means you won’t be able to save at any time or rewind.
If you want to 100% the game and get the true ending for Gimmick! you will need to get really, really good at the game! The main path through each level will offer some tricky platforming segments. But to get the true ending, you’ll need to land some very precise jumps by using your mighty star to reach the hidden areas of each level so that you can collect the special bonus items. Collect all of them, and you’ll be rewarded with that true ending.
And if you’re considering that, you might as well keep in mind that Gimmick! Special Edition has an in-game achievements system. What will you need to do 100% this one? Along with completing each of the different stages, there are achievements tied to boosting your score to reach different milestones – 10,000, 30,000, 60,000, and 100,000, as well as for finding each of the special bonus items in the hidden areas. There’s also a pair of achievements for getting the regular and true ending. And yes, there’s an achievement for getting all other achievements, which would be the equivalent of a Platinum trophy on PlayStation.
You can customize your experience by pressing the X button to open up the menu for Gimmick! Special Edition. From there, you can adjust the overall volume, activate or deactivate the background image used around the main screen on the center, switch between six different background images, switch between original or zoomed screen sizes, change the controls between normal or rotated, activate or deactivate feature description, activate or deactivate accessory, or activate or deactivate the rewind feature.
Gimmick! is a game that most of the world missed out on playing back when it was released in 1992 in Japan and in 1993 in Scandinavia in very limited quantities since the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System hype was already in full swing. It’s now getting a new shot on Nintendo Switch from Bitwave Games and City Connection with some quality-of-life features, online leaderboards, an in-game achievement system, and more. As a bonus, there’s also an Extra menu where you can review high-resolution scans for the package design, cartridge, and manual for Gimmick! and Mr. Gimmick, with the Mr. Gimmick manual being longer than the Gimmick! one since it includes all languages for the Scandinavian region. Gimmick! Special Edition is out on Nintendo Switch with a $14.99 price tag.
This Gimmick! Special Edition review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Bitwave Games.