Santa Claus is Coming’ to town is a video game adaption of the Rankin Bass Holiday special, if you have not heard of the film nor Rankin Bass (which is doubtful I hope) you should stop reading this and go watch the special. The special can probably be viewed on Netflix or if you go to any superstore you can probably pick up the DVD. Now you go and watch that, I won’t go anywhere, promise, okay I’ll see you when you are done.
Alright, you all set? Good. Santa Claus is Coming to Town for the DS is essentially nothing more then a plethora of mini-games, these mini-games can be played as stand alone little games or you are presented the option of playing an “Adventure” mode which essentially is broken down into short talking sequences with mini-games laced between them. Now I know what you are thinking at this point, “Well Mike there is no possible way this game could be any good or accurate right?” Well dear readers I can assure you that this game is far from bad, at worst the game is mediocre which is still a far cry from Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde.
fuck this game I rather dislike this game.
I think it’s prudent that before I move on I make it known to everyone that over the course of this game you will hear “Santa Claus is coming to Town” playing constantly in the background. Seriously. I’ll admit it plays at a low enough volume that it doesn’t feel to obtrusive, though it gives the game a similar feel to walking through a super market during the holidays at first, eventually though it just becomes white noise. An alternative to listening to the music in the background is shutting it off through the options menu, but in my opinion it isn’t worth it as you won’t notice it after a while of playing.
The game’s story is identical to that of the holiday special sans Fred Astaire (due to a legal matter of course). You start the game off as Special Delivery Man Kluger who opens up by telling you the story of Santa’s origins from there you get to more or less experience the film entirely through text and mini-games. You also get to play the game from two alternative perspective’s which I guess adds more depth to the story(?).
Please Meister of all Burgers, rear this child to be so good with burgers that one day he may become a Burger Meister.
Mini-game wise the good ones are all platformers while the others are really shallow coloring games or “singing” games. Platforming wise there are three games in total and all of which are very straight forward and don’t require much to beat as all you do in each game is jump and it’s impossible to die or time out. All of the other games are incredibly shallow but for the age demographic (5-8 year olds?) the game is tailored to the mini-games are probably appealing as they consist of coloring games, a game where you get to dress-up and take care of topper (Santa’s pet penguin), seek and find games, mazes, and a memory match game among others. Ultimately the games are nothing to shake a stick at but for what they are the mini-games are solid in their own rights and aren’t blighted by poor controls or glitches.
It reminds me so much of Pitfall.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town isn’t (in my opinion) a game in the traditional sense, if anything it’s an accompaniment to the special where it contains some games based on the film and a mode which contains little descriptions of the characters (which solidifies my point). The game is entirely Christmas themed and as such it is by no merit a game which will pull you to play it during any other time then the winter months, though I think this is the games biggest selling point and the main defining reason to actually play it. Santa Claus is Coming to Town is the kind of game where when you are feeling in a particularly festive mood it provides one with an outlet for that festivity in the form of its simple mini-games and Christmas soundtrack, it also helps that it is designed after the Rankin Bass film which has become a regular holiday special.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town is by no means a game worth investing in unless you have either children or you personally feel the need for a video game themed outlet for any overburdening Christmas spirit you may have; my biggest gripe about the game is that Fred Astaire’s puppet isn’t present and they instead replaced him with a puppet which looks nothing like him, this is a personal issue and by no means should it impact your feelings on the game unless you are a purist when it comes to adaptions of movies. Santa Claus is Coming to Town is a decent little Christmas game which you can pick up and play during the holidays, if you aren’t interested in mini-games you can pick up the Wii version which is a platformer where you collect snowflakes and deliver presents (it also features voice-acting :o ).
Also there’s Flute Hero.
Fun Fact: Fred Astaire isn’t in either game because upon his death he placed it in his will that he didn’t want any person or entity to use his personage as he was sure they would misinterpret his character or some other nonsense.
Have a Happy Holidays/Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/etc.