It’s not worth the money, let’s face the facts, The Grinch: Christmas Adventures is no holiday smash. Looking for a festive platformer? This is a good option, but be warned it lacks replayability and variety in audio, gameplay, and level design.
Developer – Casual Brothers
Publisher – Outright Games
Platforms – PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series XlS (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch
Review copy given by publisher
The Grinch is on an adventure to ruin the day by stealing presents on his way during Christmas Day. Outright Games and Casual Brothers Limited brought the world a brand new game for the Holiday featuring one of Christmas’ worst enemies, The Grinch. This game is inspired by Dr. Seuss’s original illustrations that follow the story of the cranky, solitary creature who tries to frustrate Whoville by stealing Christmas gifts and decorations.
Right from the start of the game, you are introduced to the story from Dr. Seuss of How The Grinch Stole Christmas word for word of how the book actually tells the story. After you are introduced to the game you’ll start off in Grinch’s Cave giving you basic levels to playthrough. As you progress further into the platformer you’ll approach new enemies and gain abilities, but you have to unlock these said abilities.
Joining you on your adventure with The Grinch is Max, who can be controlled by a second player to provide a co-op experience. If you choose to play solo, you will be required to control both characters in order to unlock certain doors.
While you are playing through each level you will be able to collect presents and there will be a certain number of puzzles to collect. The puzzles are an important part of this game if you want to finish the game and gain all of the abilities. There are three important abilities: Candy Cane Lasso, Jetpack, and Snowballs.
In order to unlock any of those abilities you will need to complete puzzles and these puzzles come up after you collect a certain amount of them hidden along the worlds in this Christmas Adventure. It’s a neat way to unlock features in a game and does provide some replayability if you missed any throughout your playthrough.
When it comes to the gameplay in The Grinch: Christmas Adventures at first it feels fresh and if you’ve ever played platformers you’ll find it very basic. While moving along into the Countryside or Who-ville you’ll start to notice the same thing repeat itself by going through houses occupied by gingerbread men or by Who’s to get to the other side while stealing gifts in the meantime. In order to defeat enemies in this game, either throw snowballs or jump on their heads like when Mario jumps on Goombas.
You’ll find yourself running into Nutcrackers, Spiders, Stockings, Music Notes, and Christmas Trees repeatedly. After an hour of playing it can get a little boring after practically doing the same thing with a somewhat new aesthetic.
The level design in The Grinch: Christmas Adventures is questionable because I’ve jumped down to certain areas of the game where there is seemingly no point in going as it leads to dead ends. Even the art of the levels remains the same, but maybe there are more Christmas decorations displayed with actual tall buildings occupied by Who’s.
When finishing a level you aren’t quite sure sometimes if that’s the end unless you hear music bringing you to a screen sharing the percentage of what you collected. I wish there was something present that showed the ending providing a sense of accomplishment to kids playing this game.
The Grinch: Christmas Adventures comes with uninspiring audio. After hearing the continuous moaning and groaning from The Grinch while jumping or performing an action I found myself getting bored and frustrated with it. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to put a variety of music audio when playing through a level instead of everything being quiet besides jumping on top of enemies or dying.
I was disappointed with the way this game ended. There was no music in the last mission creating an exciting moment, and completing it felt more like a relief than a triumph.
There’s not much to say about the story. If you know the story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas then you will understand the entire game. Casual Brothers did a great job including portions of the book being narrated in the game. If there is a positive I can say about this game it’s the dialogue whether it’s the cutscenes of the book or during the game when playing where it teaches you how to use an ability or introduces new enemies.
The Grinch: Christmas Adventures provides a short and basic playthrough with a maximum of 4 hours to fully complete the game including its Achievements and Trophies. Outright Games and Casual Brothers made it clear from the start that this is a kids game and The Grinch: Christmas Adventures definitely shows that. Although it may be a good option for the younger audience the game comes with its shortcomings in replayability, level design, audio, and gameplay.