Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew
Producing a game based on Christmas (or any season for that matter) is not without its problems and while there's clearly a great deal of themes and assets available, the whole thing has something of a limited shelf life. For that reason most of the games we've previously reviewed revolving around 'the most wonderful time of the year' have generally been a movie tie-ins. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is based on the song of the same name (and 1970's Stop Motion TV special) and while you may remember these, is there really enough material here for a whole game?
While Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer takes it's inspiration from the TV special it's actually split into four original stories. You'll have to read these before you do anything but unfortunately there's heaps of text and given the age range this is aimed at, most games will want to skip the story all together. Sadly, this is not possible and you'll be forced to sit through what seems like hours of tedious storytelling in order to unlock the various min-games. Once available these mini-games sit in the 'activities' section and are definitely the 'highlight' of the whole package with some games, which actually manage to embrace the whole Christmas Season such as making snowmen and decorating trees. There're also old favorites such as Word Find (Word Search), Jigsaw Puzzles, Paint By Numbers, Pairs and Dot-to-Dot but astonishingly there's still a few awful 'fillers' such as the 'racing' event.
Given that this is a collection of mini-games you'd expect it to be stylus driven and, guess what, it is. That is all except for a rather poor excuse for a racing game which simply requires you to press 'A' in order to reach your goal before the other competitors. Avoid at all costs!
All the visuals here are lifted from the TV special and they actually look quite pleasing on the tiny DS screen. There's little in the way of animation and like a great deal of 1970's Saturday Morning TV, the height of most characters interaction is blinking their eyes. Far less pleasing are some of the mini-games, which appear to have no design behind them, what so ever and the term 'ugly' would be something of an understatement.
If you don't know the song ' Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' you will be dreaming about it for weeks after playing this game due to the tune being played repeatedly throughout the game. There is a little rest bite to be had during some of the mini-games where another (very similar) tune kicks in but there's absolutely no dialogue, from any of the characters and some of the sound effects appear to be from a different game all together. One very odd piece of design is where gamers are 'challenged' to sing-along to the song itself although whether you chose to indulge in this or not you'll still be congratulated on your wonderful voice at the end.
All of your interactions here take place on the bottom screens and the interface makes it reasonably easy to get around. The games themselves generally require a tap, drag or a select and should you manage to get completely lost, the top screen always displays the instructions.
While Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer comes from the same developers as Santa Claus is Comin' to Town it's actually a little better although that wouldn't be too difficult. It's still all designed for the younger gamer in mind and they'll still be forced to sit though an agonising amount of text but at least the pay off here is some rather entertaining Festive Games. We'd still advise not paying anywhere near to full price for the opportunity to actually own this cart but if you do happen to see it (very) cheap it's probably worth a look. Anyone looking for a true 'Festive Fix' should try and route out a copy of Santa Jr., a classic DS platformer which was released some years ago.
Pro: Some Entertaining Mini-Games, Tree and House Decorating
Con: Far Too Much Text To Read, Truly Terrible Racing Game.
Final score: 3.4
|Publisher:||Red Wagon Games|