Retro Gaming Review: Mr Gimmick! (Nintendo NES)

Every once in a while, you come across a game that makes your jaw drop and question if you're playing it on the right console. Mr Gimmick is one of those. From the second you turn on the NES/Famicom, you're sat questioning whether it's a Super Nintendo game running while enjoying every challenge it has to throw at you.

Lets jump right into Mr Gimmick and find out why it's one of the best NES games ever.

Mr Gimmick (or just 'Gimmick!' in Japan) was developed and released by Sunsoft in 1992. A very unusual date to be creating games the Nintendo NES, especially considering the Super Famicom had already been available in Japan for two years. Regardless of this, SunSoft continued with the NES/Famicom to create something special.

While Sunsoft released Gimmick in Japan like any other regular release, European and American gamers were left rather puzzled regarding this release. For some unknown reason, Mr Gimmick decided to skip America and Mainland Europe completely. Mr Gimmick had set his sights on somewhere colder and further North and became one of the few Scandanavia only PAL releases. Due to this unusual release, the PAL English language Mr Gimmick fetches rather high prices at auction, due to its limited release.

Price tags aside, once you sit down with the game and spend a bit of time with it, the price tag becomes rather reasonable. Without question, Mr Gimmick is one of the finest releases on the Nintendo NES without question.

Another NES Platformer?

MrGimmick-1At first glance, Mr Gimmick fools everybody into thinking they have an easy ride ahead of them. You're first introduced to Mr Gimmick during a young girl's birthday, wrapped up like a small dog on Christmas day, he pops out a box ready to set off your cute alarms.  Sporting those massive puppy dog eyes and a cute plumpy green body, the cuteness of Mr Gimmick is overwhelming. And while Mr Gimmick has you in this jelly-like state, he is going to drain your lives and take advantage of the cute factor.

Aside from the charming green protagonist, your ears will begin to catch onto the catchy chiptunes coming from your TV/Emulator. Mr Gimmick didn't only put full effort into the graphics, but also the audio. The first few riffs of the first level theme will lift any bad mood away and raise a smile. You'll instantly recognise you have found a perfect example on how to compose a soundtrack for a Platform game and your ears will thank you for it.

Jumping into the game, you're presenting with tight controls and a new approach to platform gaming. Instead of your traditional jump-n-squash enemy killing, enemies can be rode by resting on their heads. The only way to destroy them is to summon the projectile star from Mr Gimmick. But once again, bending the rules of platform gaming, the projectile star can also be used as something to stand on, something you will no doubt need later on. Hidden paths and tricky jumps may require you to make the most of that star.

A tough challenge

MrGimmick-6Back in '92, Sunsoft knew exactly what makes a good game, a perfect balance between audio-visuals and solid gameplay with a challenge. Like most games, the first level is a rather easy walkthrough introducing you to the games mechanics. But be warned, once you have passed that first hurdle, you're onto something tricky.

The aspect of the game which makes Mr Gimmick so tricky is the limited health you are given. Although there are Potions to use at will, sometimes it feels like it's not enough to help you survive what's ahead. Lack of health is not your only obstacle, their are many tricky platforms to traverse requiring perfect jumps leaving you open to one more problem... Enemies! And these enemies have no mercy, they will approach you on these platforms (as if jumping across them wasnt enough) and do their upmost to push you off. Time to bring out the star!

Once you've managed to fight your way through the clever level design of each stage, you're greeted by a typical retro gaming End of level Boss. The bosses in Mr Gimmick are almost close to the inventions of Dr Robotnik in terms of effort. Each one is different requiring a new approach to tackle, while keeping it enjoyable. Starting off on level one, with a nice and easy three-hit-kill larger version of an enemy found in the stage, you'll be wishing it was this easy further on. Level two introduces you to the plank of a pirate ship with a swordbearing captain who will do his upmost to push you into sea. While in level three you're stood on a slippy slope and introduced to a creature hiding underwater. Unfair? Wait till you see the later levels.

Although whats written here might sound like Mr Gimmick is waiting to destroy you, it's an incredibly fun and challenging adventure that becomes rather addictive.

Worth it?

Without a doubt. Mr Gimmick might command a price tag around £100 for a cartridge only copy, but that by no means should put you off. For those who have modern consoles, you're happy to spend around £60 on Call Of Duty and £40 on Fifa 10, so why not skip the next two 'big' titles and spend that hard earned money on something that will leave you with memories. Not only will you be buying a great game, but also a piece of gaming history. There aren't many games you can pull out of your collection and say; 'This game was only released in Japan and Scandanvia'.

Overall Mr Gimmick is one of those games that has the 'one more go' appeal to it. You know it will beat you, but mastering it becomes so important you'll be playing it over and over again. To accompany the addictiveness are the beautiful visuals and amazing soundtrack, which both compliment the gameplay so well.

Last Updated ( 08 December 2010 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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(Link to this comment) TwoHeadedBoy 2010-03-05 01:50
Ooh, it's a tricky one, is Mr. Gimmick. I can get to the first boss, and no further will I pass...

A few more goes are required before I pay the big moneys for it, certainly.
(Link to this comment) Lorfarius 2010-05-10 19:20
Look's like a really fun game but I'm ssooo glad it didn't come out in the UK, might not seem like a lot to spend £100 on one game for my collection but it would be really difficult to hit the Buy button :oops:
(Link to this comment) ClassicGamer12 2014-02-24 22:11
This game has the big bucks!

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