Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Filed under: cheapo games — Will @ 10:00 am June 23, 2010

Game: Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Purchased from: Target
Price paid: $4.98
Platform: DS

Why am I talking about a Christmas game in June? It’s been oppressively hot in this area for the past several days, so I figured I’d try and have cooling thoughts by playing a game based around Christmas.

I might have been the only person on the planet that didn’t rush out to see Disney’s latest version of A Christmas Carol when it hit theaters last fall. Yeah, it’s got Jim Carrey playing a ridiculous number of parts, but other than that, it’s the same old story we’ve all heard before. I mean, imdb lists about 40 versions of the thing.

But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here to talk about a game based on a movie which was based on a book. Being that far removed from the source material kind of concerned me a little bit. It turns out that I needn’t have worried, the game has precious little movie content, and other than the picture on the front of the box, I wouldn’t have even known that this was based on any kind of movie.

The game follows, more or less, the events of the story, so I’m not going to go into them here. But you’re presented with a scene from the story as a point ‘n’ click puzzle. Like most point ‘n’ clickers, your job is to click and rub on things in the correct order, through trial and error, mostly, to make things happen. Unlike most point ‘n’ click games, you can blow into the microphone on your DS to make everything onscreen that you can interact with light up, making things pretty easy.

Clear a scene and you’re treated to a short animated cutscene to further the story, and then another set of puzzles to solve. It’s all thrown together surprisingly well, and the difficulty is just high enough that you won’t breeze through them, and low enough that you won’t get frustrated and quit. It’s all pretty standard stuff, and it’s even halfway decent. But there’s not much of it. I was able to blow through the game in just over two hours, or about the amount of time that would have taken me to watch the movie, so that’s a wash.

The game also has a couple of cute extras. It has the full-text of the original Christmas Carol story, presented in giganto-print format that fits about ten words on the screen at a time, which is pretty decent. And there’s also an Advent Calendar where you play a ‘spot the differences’ game where you’re presented with two pictures and have to find the differences between them. The calendar is supposed to reveal one additional puzzle per day in the month of December through Christmas Eve. Except the year must have been hard-coded into the game because the first time I turned it on they all unlocked immediately.

Ah well.

The game is actually decent, and it doesn’t hurt that there is a reasonably-complete list of hints on Disney’s site to help some of the less-experienced players make it through. Add to all that the fact that the game can be completed in an afternoon, and it’s a nice diversion. Even if you’re using it to escape the crazy heat of the summer.