Game Review: Gimmick! Special Edition (PS4, XBox, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Gimmick! I have to be totally honest, I went into this one blind. Up until the review code found it’s way to me, I’d not heard of this game. I had, of course, heard of Sunsoft as the team behind many childhood games. Initially, from the visual-style of the main character, I had been expecting a puzzle-bobble type game. I was very wrong.

So, today I played Gimmick! Special Edition on the PS4. This a modernisation of the Sunsoft’s 1992 effort; Gimmick! (released as Mr. Gimmick outside of Japan). Originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, this rerelease is being unleashed onto the PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC with a few added features to justify the ‘Special Edition’ moniker.

Gimmick! Special Edition follows Yumetaro, a little green youkai out to rescue a girl he befriended. Armed with the ability to shoot stars, Yumetaro treks across an alternative dimension facing numerous enemies and obstacles.

Sad to say, despite the nostalgia factor, I didn’t particularly enjoy this game. The reason for this is down to the difficulty which carries over from the original. I’ve never been a fan of games that feel like you’re being bludgeoned over the head with the difficulty. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a challenge but I also enjoy progressing in a game without that frustration.

With that negative out of the way, the overall presentation of Gimmick! is actually quite attractive. The colourful graphics of the original have been  recreated perfectly. A lot of older 8-bit games can look a little muddy but the visuals of Gimmick! are very distinct and everything is very clear.

The controls can be a little slippery in parts which can add to the difficulty. I often found myself jumping to a platform and just slipping off the other side to my death. These can be particularly frustrating especially when combined with the new rewind function. During my many deaths, I activate rewind and often when releasing the rewind button, found myself overshooting a platform that I’d hit previously as it’s difficult to accurately control where you come out of the function.

Overall, while this game didn’t really appeal to me, I can see it speaking to people who are fans of punishing, old-school platformers. It’s in that category of 8-bit games that some people remember fondly as being incredibly challenging. It’s got bright colours, simple characters and a great retro soundtrack that will really resonate with an aficionado of older games.

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