Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “christmas”

Delicious: Emily’s Christmas Carol (Gamehouse)

It’s Christmas in Snuggford and Paige is the star in the Christmas play.  As luck would have it, she screws up during rehearsal.  Therefore, Emily, Patrick and the rest of the family board the Miracle Express to meet Santa Clause and boost Paige’s spirits.  Unfortunately, Evelyn doesn’t want to come.  Can the family boost Paige’s spirit while finding out why Evelyn is so afraid to board the Miracle Express?

If the plot sounds predictable to you, you couldn’t be more right.  This is one of those Santa Clause is real storylines that became very popular in the eighties.  Such a subject is very delicate and you need to handle it with tender loving care.  In Fables, they did say that Santa’s real and, just like the rest of the characters, he’s a fable.  Therefore, in that case, they managed to pull it off.  In this one, they do an okay job but it’s not great.

The Miracle Express is, like the Polar Express, a train ride to see Santa.  The game, at one point, claims that only believers can power it.  However, Patrick and Emily do talk about having the former dress up as Santa in order to give Paige a pep talk.  Yet the train carries them to their destination with no problem.  Even when people ask why they would want to do such a thing, they still assume that it’s the workers taking the Santa act too seriously.

As I said earlier, the game is predictable and explores every Christmas Special cliché in the book.  In one venue, Paige manages to nurse Rudy the reindeer back to health so he can ride at the front of Santa’s sleigh.  If you’re wondering who Rudy is, let me give you a hint.  He has a big and shiny red nose.  Another venue explores the story of a rich and friendless kid who keeps all of his toys for himself.  You can bet that Paige befriends him and teaches him how to share.  However, I should tell you that, in my opinion, said child’s transformation happens a little too quickly to be believable.

Despite the many clichés, the game does have one shining moment.  It claims that Christmas magic can be for anyone at any age.  Anyone who’s read the Narnia chronicles knows that, after Prince Caspian, Peter and Susan could no longer visit Narnia.  According to Aslan, they’ve become too old and must live out their lives in the real world.  This also brings to mind a discussion two people who host a channel called Bad Fanfiction Theater had when reading My Inner Life.  They talked about Labyrinth and discussed one thing they loved about it.  Despite Sarah maturing at the end, the magic in her life doesn’t leave her.  It’s why they love the movie because, in their opinion, if you found a magical place you could no longer be part of when you grew up, it would drive you insane.  I have to say that I agree with them.  This is why, at the end of the game, when Evelyn starts to believe and wants to ride up front, she claims that you’re never too old for Christmas magic.

The game play is typical of your average Delicious game.  You deliver food to customers at tables or at the cash register.  In the case of the former, you have to clean the table in order to seat new customers.  You have to reach at least one star in order to advance to the next level, but try for three stars if you feel lucky.  Each level comes with a mouse you have to catch and a challenge you need to complete for diamonds.  Use the diamonds to invite people to Paige’s school play and, this time, Angela’s included.  You can also purchase upgrades between levels and unlock new products throughout the game.  Don’t forget to collect all of the trophies, if you want an extra challenge.

The game is simplistic and yet fun.  I give it 6 out of 10, not the best Christmas themed game but worth checking out.

Christmas Stories: A Christmas Carol Collector’s Edition (Big Fish Games)

Your uncle Scrooge writes you a letter, asking you for help.  In order to grant his request, you must work with his good conscience and the ghosts of Christmas to save him from himself.  Careful, because Scrooge’s evil alter ego seeks to undermine you at every opportunity.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure that you’re familiar with the classic story, A Christmas Carol.  It is the tale of a rich old miser who must change his ways for the good of the world and himself.  This game chose to take a different turn by having you take the role of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred.  I’ll admit that this change is not one I’m crazy about at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against change and I do love the story Zombie Christmas Carol.  The only difference is that the zombie version managed to stick to the original theme of the story with an extra plot about the undead walking among them.  This version undermines the moral of the classic story.  In the original Christmas Carol, the three ghosts of Christmas visit Scrooge to scare him into changing his ways.  The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge his past, forcing him to observe memories from his traumatic childhood and demonstrating how it made him the man he became.  It also forces Scrooge to see the mistakes he’s made, such as choosing money over Belle, and showing the few bright spots in his life to make him see that he’s wrong.  Scrooge is helpless to change his past and the bad decisions he made, showing a deep regret for some of his choices.  The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the life he’s missing, such as taking him to Fred’s house, and the depravity of the world he refuses to face.  It also demonstrates to Scrooge how he has the power to do something about this depravity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come takes the appearance of the grim reaper and never speaks.  This is to demonstrate how scary and unknown the future can be.  Its job is to show Scrooge the future he will have if he doesn’t change his ways.  Let me tell you, said future is not a good one.

In this game, the ghosts each make an appearance.  However, spoiler alert, you get to change Scrooge’s past.  I’m sure you remember the scene in the original story, when Belle didn’t like the man Scrooge became and broke off her engagement. Well, in this version, Scrooge tried to propose to Belle but the evil alter ego steals the ring and Belle gets angry, thinking Scrooge played a cruel joke on her.

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Don’t worry, you can get the ring and change Scrooge’s present so that he and Belle not only marry, but also get to have children of their own.  As I said earlier, the whole point of the Ghost of Christmas Past is to show Scrooge how bitterness and greed consumed him.  While Scrooge is helpless to change his past, he can still learn from it.

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The Ghost of Christmas Present asks you to take a letter to Scrooge from Bob Cratchit asking him to get medicine for Tiny Tim.  Unfortunately, said alter ego took the letter and tries to destroy the medicine.  That’s right, Scrooge’s current misery isn’t because he let greed and bitterness consume him.  It’s because a little demon goes out of his way to sabotage him at every opportunity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes its appearance and it talks.  The whole point of this spirit is that it doesn’t talk.  You also get to see Scrooge’s miserable present, which doesn’t make sense considering that you changed his past.  He’s not the same man anymore, so he wouldn’t have a bitter future.  There are also two other plot issues, such as Fred saying that he misses Fan.  Since she died giving birth to him, he wouldn’t remember enough about her to miss her.  Another one is that, when you first get to Scrooge’s house, he has a Christmas tree.  The whole point of the story is that Scrooge hates Christmas.  Why would he put up a tree in his house?

The Collector’s Edition comes with an extra story line where you explore kitty cat world and help Sherlock Cat find Santa Cat.  It’s An American Tail with felines.

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I’ll admit, this story is adorable but it really has no point other than to get you to shell out more money.

The game play is actually quite fun, with you going around and collecting objects to add to your inventory.  You can use them to advance throughout the story.  Some items require you to take place in a hidden object scene for you to collect.

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You also play mini games that you have the option of skipping.  If you’re stuck, use a hint.

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While this game seems like the typical hidden object formula, it also has one extra addition.  Remember Scrooge’s good conscience, who comes with you?  He can animate objects in order to help you with your quest.  In the extra storyline, this feature changes into a magnifying glass so you can collect paw prints.

This game is fun, but undermines the original story.  I give it 5 out of 10; making an adaptation that completely ignores the message severely damages the game.  However, the addictive game play makes up for it.

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