Ho, ho, ho, ’tis that time of year again. The time of year where things become jolly, people decorate their deceased trees and it becomes socially acceptable to use the contraction ’tis. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I love me some Christmas, and that love of Christmas extends to video games as well! In fact, only last year I made an entire video series where I played a new Christmassy video game for each day of advent. If there is one thing that making that series taught me, it’s that there are very limited video games out there for Christmas…oh also, I am never doing that ever, ever again.
So instead, I present a brief series throughout December talking about some of the Christmas offerings available for those holiday-centric gamers out there. Stay tuned for the good stuff.
As well as being a fan of Christmas, gaming and Christmas gaming, I am also a fan of stealth games. I loved Dishonored, I’ve played Styx to an uncomfortable degree and Mark of the Ninja fills me with genuine ecstasy. So finding out that there was a stealth-themed Christmas game was the icing on the awful tasting fruit cake.
Secret Santa is a game all about Santa making his yearly rounds to deliver presents to the good kids and coal to the bad ones. On his busiest night of the year, he must sneak past kids out to catch him, avoid overprotective octogenarians with rifles and navigate James Bond-esque security systems.
The basic gameplay of Secret Santa involved avoiding being detected or killed by a variety of hazards. These usually come in the form of grannies and hyper kids, but there are also bear traps, laser grids, and guard dogs to watch out for as well.
The thing about this gameplay that is so compelling to me is that the entire thing could easily be mapped to an Atari 2600 controller, which is probably intentional considering that the game looks and sounds a bit like and old Atari game, if a little more advanced than the 2600s line-up.
You do have a single weapon at your disposal to help get past the kids: sleeping dust. Certain obstacles can be bypassed by putting them to sleep, but you can only do this 3 times per level, meaning you must choose wisely how to use your limited power.
The game isn’t the most highly polished in the universe, but it’s not bad considering it’s available on Steam for a few pounds. There are at least 25 levels, and the difficulty ramps up well. As well as that, there are a handful of Halloween-themed levels that have slightly different mechanics in case you can’t wait for December to start actually playing Christmas games.
Santa’s Special Delivery
Well, this one is interesting…okay, it’s just downright weird, but if you’re down for some short arcade action, then you might have found just the ticket with Santa’s Special Delivery.
The game is basically an arcade/rhythm game. As Santa in his slay, you must fly across the night sky throwing coal, presents and elves into the right chimneys by pressing A, B or X. Once you hit the end of the level, you are then presented with a mini-game.
The mini-game is the weirdest part about the game. It involves having Santa violently shit down the chimney of a really bad kid until his house explodes with human feces. At the beginning of each mini-game, you are presented with the reason why the house is being filled with ‘Christmas cheer’, and that’s probably the most novel part of the game.
Obviously, as an arcade game, the only real reason to play is to get more points as there is no story or real progression. Chances are that you’ll probably get very limited game time out of it, but you might have a bit of fun in showing off the game to your friends.
Well, that was a good start, wasn’t it ?…okay, well it was an alright start, at least. Tune in next time, and hopefully we’ll find some really festive treats to sink our teeth into!