It’s that festive time of year again. The time of year that turns 50% of the population into starry-eyed tosspots and the other into insufferable grouches. If you find yourself fitting into that second category, then you’ve come to the right list. We present the definitive list of the worst offenders of ‘Christmas games’ to ever wear the label. From games that don’t make sense to games that make you feel sick, here are 5 lumps of coal for you to give to your annoying nieces and nephews (let’s face it, they deserve it).
Looking for games more worth your time? Check out our list of the 5 best Christmas games.
5. Adolescent Santa Claus
Visual novels are already a strange genre in their own right. Now try playing one about a ‘cute’ teenage girl version of Santa where the dialogue feels like Jean-Paul Sartre wrote it on Quaaludes. Welcome to the nightmare world of Adolescent Santa Claus. As you can probably guess from my horrific description above, this one’s a visual novel where kawaii Santa visits a lonely guy on Christmas. That sounds like it could be fun, but honestly, I’m more confused than anything.
The art is well done, at least, but the dialogue is absolutely mind-boggling. There’s a lot of talk about death, and the script just repeats itself endlessly for basically no reason. Whoever translated this one didn’t do a perfect job, either that or they did a great job, and the original creator is insane. I can’t actually tell. The only saving grace here is that the game looks decent, is relatively short, and happens to be completely free on Steam. You’ll want to cleanse your game library once you’ve played it, though.
4. The Turkey of Christmas Past
From the mind-boggling to, well, the even more mind-boggling. The Turkey of Christmas Past is a bit of an enigma. It’s a third-person hack-and-slash game released in December 2016 by a developer who hasn’t made anything before or since. You control Tom De Cat (clever), a humanoid cat who is a master swordsman for some reason. You are plonked right into a medieval castle and have to murder many turkeys who are annoyed about the whole ‘eaten in droves every year’ thing and want revenge.
The controls are completely insane. You have approximately one move that you repeatedly mash while fighting basically the same three or four enemies for two solid hours. You unlock more of the map by beating key-holders, but other than that, it’s just swarms of angry turkeys taking up 90% of the screen. You’ll get bored in about 10 minutes if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be stun-locked by a swarm of angry fowl and turned into a cat pie or something.
3. Xmas Lamers
Most people have heard of Holiday Lemmings. They’re holiday-themed versions of the world-renown puzzle game featuring little green-haired, suicidal critters. Apparently, one developer thought that Lemmings sucked, so he made Lamers, a lazy ‘parody’ game that sits right alongside games like Pyst in the category of ‘jokes only stoned teenagers would find all that funny.’ Well, after the success of Holiday Lemmings, someone thought that Xmas Lamers would be a good move, and so here we are.
As it’s a parody of Lemmings, there is a similar premise. There are groups of tiny little people trying to get to a place through various Christmas-themed levels. The only difference here is that instead of trying to see them safely to their destination, you’re trying to murder all of them. The gameplay is mostly fine but incredibly repetitive. There’s no solid puzzle-solving to save this one’s poorly drawn graphics and monotonous sound effects. Not to mention, you have to kill all of the Lamers in each level to progress, which stops being worth it the second you start the game.
It was unlikely that we’d make it through this list without at least one game from the home-microcomputer-boom-era, and so here we have Elfred, the world’s dullest game ever made. Much like our 5th best Christmas game, The Search for Santa Clues, Elfred was a free pack-in game for a magazine in the late ’80s. It was intended as a family software piece that you could play with the kids over a mug of hot chocolate and candy canes. It ended up being the best way to send your kids to sleep early on Christmas Eve.
Elfred tasks you with helping an elf pack up Santa’s bag before the big day. You select how many bags you want to fill, what you want to fill them with, and how fast you want to fill them. Then you wait for the right gifts to move over the bag and hit space to pack them. That’s literally the entire game in a nutshell. You press a single button if you see the right symbol crop up, then do that again another 4-24 times, depending on how many bags you’re packing. If you select anything below the medium speed settings, you’ll be passed out before the first sack is filled. What I’m trying to say is it’s incredibly boring, even for kids.
1. 3D Xmas Adventure: Santa’s Rescue
Ahh, the DOS era, was there ever a more prolific time in PC game development? While all those games did end up giving us a lot of shovelware, there was also a lot of really decent stuff that rose to the surface. As you can probably tell by its inclusion on this list, 3D Xmas Adventure: Santa’s Rescue is not one of those gems. It was actually an example game for the Pie In The Sky 3D game engine, but it’s not a great sales pitch.
You’re plonked down into a badly-put-together winter landscape and told to save Santa, and then you wander through the woods for 20 minutes wondering what the hell is going on before being swallowed whole by a yeti. The controls haven’t aged well, and neither have the graphics or sound, for that matter. There is little to no direction on exactly what you’re supposed to go or what you’re supposed to do either. It’s a bad state of affairs when someone comes along a year later with a much better version of this exact idea.
From everyone here at TechRaptor, we wish you a happy holidays, and we hope you’re enjoying your favorite games!