If you’ve read any of my past reviews, you’ve possibly learned two things about me: 1) I enjoy the Nintendo e-Shop and 2) I will buy almost anything that grabs my ADHD for more than five minutes, provided it’s under three dollars. This has led me down some particularly unique and interesting rabbit holes, with a few experiences so memorable that they’ll go down as some of my favorite vidjya game moments of all time (of which I will never commit to a list). Others are two pronged attacks on the senses. Fever dreams that dissappear back into the strange ether they emerged from. There are some that defy explanation, and Gangsta Magic is nearly one of those. Oh man, this could be the most $1.99-ass game on the Switch.
In fact, I know I tend to be positive about games I review because to be honest, I really only write reviews for things I like. Every once in a while there comes a game that stands out, but not necessarily in a good way. More in a “come and look at the dead racoon” way. I got Gangsta Magic because the title and screen shots made me belly laugh for at least five minutes, and it was cheap enough for me to use e-Shop coins to get it, making it free. After playing, I can’t say I got a deal.
One really noteworthy thing this game has going for it is that the title screen loads faster than any game I’ve ever seen. It’s freakish! You select it on the home menu and it’s ready. The rest of the loading times aren’t nearly as impressive, but it loads that ugly title screen in record time!
Upon selecting a level, you will note the distinct lack of gangsta shit anywhere. There are no gangstas to be found and the soundtrack is… something, but it sure as hell isn’t hip-hop. So if our theme is “confusing”, what is our setting? I don’t know. I couldn’t possibly tell you what’s going on. There’s this guy:
Meet Protagonistman, or at least I think we’re the protagonist. He is PS2 Nicholas Cage with dreadlocks. He is dressed in the edgy clothes from the Facebook ads. He looks like Dave Grohl doing a low effort cosplay. His dreadlocks flop about in the breeze like brown-n-serve sausages as you DragonBall Z his ugly ass around equally ugly-ass environments. I feel bad. And while I feel like I’m being mean and shitting on someone’s art, most of the environments just aren’t even finished. It’s pretty jarring. Normal gameplay looks like you’ve glitched through the map.
It is our valiant mission to look super rad and defend whatever all this is from the evil hover-turret and slightly spiky purple demon man army. You are armed with a roundhouse kick that is as damaging as slapping someone with a wet restroom paper towel, a super jump that makes zero sense given we can fly around like Keith Richards at a wedding reception, a telekinetic power to move specific objects that neither I nor the developer will ever understand, a dodge roll that feels more like the Dark Souls dodge roll than games that spend their entirety trying to emulate said Dark Souls, and three kinds of elemental magic with three forms to each. The fire magic was most fun, so thats what I stuck with for the rest of the time that I could endure.
There are floors that will kill you immediately, and there are floors where the texture is just visibly wiggin’ out. Best of luck figuring out which is which. Each level starts with zero context and ends with that same deficit plus the Murracone we are tasked to find. I lied about our great mission earlier. Your goal is literally to find an American flag cone. There is absolutely no indication where in the level it is making it frustrating to find, it’s always in the same place killing replay value and you can just run up on it making all our other abilities pointless.
The final straw arrived when I found a purple demon man next to a lava pit. It was my earnest wish to spinning crotch kick him into an Anakin Skywalker ending, which I did…earning me a game over. I tried again a few times with the same results. I’m sorry, Mr. magical gangsta Hot Topic man, that’s how I roll. If that behavior doesn’t fly in your game, than I can’t fly with you.
I can’t really recommend this one as a “so bad it’s good” kinda game. It’s more like how a dumpster fire would distract you in traffic. The experience is fleeting, and there is nothing to be gained from it. I am only glad that you, dear nerd, do not have to experience it to enjoy it’s strangeness, as it is quite an odd game. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on some NWA and make this game “disappear” from my Switch.