Ho, ho, ho and a Merry Christmas to all. Okay, maybe it’s not Christmas yet, but the holidays are here and everyone is feeling the spirit. The MMOs are releasing holiday festivities in their worlds, Playfish is updating their titles with festive graphics, and other companies are releasing titles just for the season; which, as you can guess, is what Christmas Carnage is for.
Though the game doesn’t really support the title’s claim of “carnage” it is still quite entertaining to play. Santa’s sleigh has crash landed in Christmas Town and the presents and elves are scattered about everywhere. Playing as one of the reindeer, and armed with just a wooden mallet you are charged with rounding up all those mischievous little elves and collecting as many presents as possible in the time allotted (five minutes) in the hopes of saving Christmas (exactly how many times in December does this holiday get threatened?).
The game play is pretty simple, and at its most basic core, it sounds pretty boring (run around and collect stuff). However, keep in mind that games such as the legendary Mario series have a boring core mechanic too at first glance: Run around and jump on things.
However, what makes simple games like this successful is the style that is applied to it, and that is exactly what Christmas Carnage does. All you do is race the clock and pick up items, but some of the presents you unlock are so absolutely hilarious, such as fake reindeer poo and that ever coveted “brain training with Paris Hilton,” that playing is more than worth your while. In addition to these clever ideas, the sound effects are wonderful, as the game is littered with classic, slap-stick, cartoon sound effects as you whack those scurrying and suspiciously short elves with your trusty mallet.
The game also saves all of the unique presents you unlock and allows you to send them as virtual Christmas gifts to your Facebook buddies. Though this gift giving is nothing unusual, they will definitely get a laugh out of them. Unfortunately, after you have collected all of the unique gifts the game does get dull very quickly, but until then it is extremely entertaining.
Christmas Carnage also brings some new style to the social table as well. Unlike most Facebook titles, this game is fully 3D and looks fairly decent as compared to other apps. What is most curious though is that the developers, Caspian Learning, have created a platform that enables other developers to also create similar games very quickly and at minimal cost. Caspian also states that they are looking to hear from any interested parties in order to co-develop more titles like Christmas Carnage in 2009, especially those that focus on MMO and psychology based games.
The question to ask now, is will we begin to see more fully 3D games on Facebook next year? It is highly doubtful that this would not be the case, though the 2D RPG style applications are definitely going to remain the dominate “species” in the space since they are significantly easier for a wider range of developers to create. Regardless, as long as the games themselves are fun, it is unlikely that anyone will really care if they are 3D or 2D. As for Christmas Carnage itself, while the fun factor lasts only for a short time, it puts a smile on your face, thus making it worth the time invested. Consider it a virtual Christmas gift.