It’s not unusual for game studios to release games to coincide with a huge movie coming out, but it is common place for those games to be absolute gubbins. It’s also not unusual for movie execs to churn out horrific Christmas movies in time for the holidays, a trick that video game studios seem to have now picked up. This latest stocking filler I’ve got my hands on discards all those typical Christmas movie aesthetics, the romance, the magic and the laughter, and instead replaces it all with a foul mouthed, candy killing goblin … merry Christmas y’all, this is the night Christmas ended.
The Night Christmas Ended is a brand new, 2D arcade shooter from the aptly named Giant Goblin Studios, which is available right now on Steam for a mere £3.99. Players take control of a small goblin … sorry the world’s biggest goblin, who must save Christmas when Santa has been shot out of the sky, armed with his totally badass ghost gun. The land has become overrun with dastardly demonic candy, evil pinetrees and a floating Rastafarian cyclops, you know, the real symbolic creatures of this festive holiday. Charge side to side blasting your ghost gun upwards to destroy ferocious marshmallow monsters and ghost bat things, and once the ground has been taken care of you will soar through the night sky on a whimsical reindeer, who defecates on all your enemies … this is definitely my kinda Christmas story! It’s a simple looking, controlling and sounding game, but is it any fun? More importantly, will you still be playing it long after the holidays are over? I think so, because it’s bloody difficult and I refuse to go to sleep!
Giant Goblin Studios state that “The Night Christmas Ended aims to please veteran gamers of the genre, at the same time it also welcomes new gamers by making it easy to pick up and play”, and in all honesty, it seems to do just that. Much like a throwback to the 1980s, this 2D shooter is both incredibly challenging and easy to play, making it a very addictive game to try and conquer. Using nothing but your keyboard, simply move from left to right shooting upwards to kill your enemies, whilst at the same time avoiding attacks from above and a barrage to either side; they never said it was an easy game to complete, just an easy one to pick up. By killing particular enemies you’ll be awarded power ups for your ghost gun blaster, however some of them are more obvious than others meaning you’ll sometimes carry on playing unsure of exactly what difference it’s made. You’ll also be ‘awarded’ with a kind of curse for killing the wrong kind of enemy, which in turn could flip the screen upside down or turn it into a psychedelic trip, so this game can be difficult in many different ways making it challenging for players of all ability. At times it can seem a little too difficult, particularly for me who isn’t overly familiar with the genre, however the disappointment and rage of being beaten by this simple game is enough to keep you from sleeping until it’s finished; it’s a very challenging, addictive and enjoyable game.
The studio has a lot of pride in their first release, and so they should, it’s a terrific achievement and one that was only possible thanks to fan feedback and ‘Let’s Play’ers, who have played a huge part in bringing this game to life, figuratively and literally. Some of those that assisted in its development have also voice acted on this final version of the game, voiceing dialogue which would have only been written by those that have actually played it; the goblin comments on how well or bad you play, he makes pop culture references and even dismisses whether Markiplier himself would suck at the game. The voice work is daft, the characters are stupid, but you know what, the ludicrous content makes the game that little bit better, even if the sudden influx of F-bombs and racist stereotypes shocks you at first. It’s a ridiculous story, with outrageous characters and a bizarre concept, but despite the poor visuals and sound quality, it’s tremendous fun!
If you’re after a festive, arcade shooter that truly challenges all that play, then look no future than The Night Christmas Ended. It’s cheaper than a selection box, it’s fun to play and it’s easy to get the hang of it, and its ludicrous characters, daft plot and foul language makes it a game that really has to be seen to be believed. It’s by no means the greatest game ever made, but for £4 you’d be a scrooge to pass it by, so make the guys at Giant Goblin Studios’ Christmas and give it a crack this holiday season. Congratulations on releasing your debut title, and have a very merry Christmas!