Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Classic Review: Gimmick

Genre: 1980’s style platformer.
Platform: NESReleased: 1992
Publisher: Sunsoft
Developer: Authentic Entertainment


Gameplay: 3 - 80’s style platforming with a few unique twists.

Level Design: 3 - Generally solid with a few cheap shots thrown in.

Art: 4 - Amazing use of limited hardware.

Music: 3 - Strong, but not remarkable.


I like platformers, especially the 1980’s style platformer. There is an elegance of design in the 1980’s style platformer that generally isn’t seen anywhere else. The technological constraints and prevailing design sensibilities of the time created a genre that was extremely focused, delivering a simple but surprisingly deep challenge at the core of the game.

Gimmick is a great example of the 1980’s platformer. Inhabiting a space somewhere between Super Mario Bros. and Kirby’s Dream Land, Gimmick brings enough unique ideas to the table to set itself apart from the mess of platformers of the NES and SNES era, including an approximation of a physics engine that will play havoc with your platforming skills until you work out the quirks of the system. Overall, the unique features add a great deal to the game, making the old platformer genre feel new again.

There are 2 other fairly unusual mechanics. First, when an enemy is jumped on it is not killed. Instead most enemies can be ridden, SMB 2 style. Second, Gimmick can throw a star shaped projectile. The projectile is thrown at a sharp downward angle, conserves momentum,  and can be ridden like the enemies. These two mechanics, combined with interesting level design, make for some interesting platforming. Many jumps require creative use of enemies and your projectile.

Another highlight of the game is the artwork. The limited NES hardware is used brilliantly to create a game that looks good 20 years later. People interested in sprite art should take notes.

Final Score

3 - A very strong NES platformer. Highly recommended for anyone interested in old school platformers.

For a breakdown of my scoring system, view this post.

I am currently accepting recommendations on what to review! I will review anything, from Shakespeare to taco salads, but I can only claim expertise in video games and I will only review something if I feel like it. Put recommendations in the comments or send them to

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