To capitalise on the festive cheer, I decided to review a game about Christmas or holiday celebrated around the same period. I couldn’t find any truly neutral holiday games, so I had to stick with Christmas. So, of all the brilliant Christmassy games out there (Daniel Remar’s Garden Gnome Carnage springs to mind), why did I decide on a game in which you have to boot Saint Nick in the tender area? I mean, it’s a game in which you line yourself up with the jolly guy and try to get your kicking power to maximum to take him out. That’s it. But, in a slightly infantile way, it’s genuinely funny.
It even starts off funny. As a gentle, festive tune plays and you see a pixellated night sky, the words “Kick Santa” fade in gracefully. After a couple of seconds it adds underneath “In The Nuts”. Then, as you play, you choose a character and are thrown onto a sidewalk. Enter Santa. You walk up to him, hold Control down… and release. Thwack. With a strong crunch sound that will make any male that’s experienced such an action feel a little bit of Santa’s pain, he falls down and crawls slowly off-screen. Enter another Santa… and repeat. It’s very much a one-off experience – repetitive, stupid, yet funny to play the first time.
The game’s humour and light-heartedness is aided by good-looking, colourful pixel art that manages to sit comfortably between “detailed” and “retro”. You can see the pain in Santa’s eyes as your character’s boot makes satisfying contact with his genitals. You can see the strain he’s having to go through to claw his way out of your movable boundaries. And maybe most importantly of all, you can clearly see Pinky & the Brain toddle along in the background every now and then. It’s the little touches in the game’s aesthetics that raise it from “passable novelty” to “tell your friends about it and watch them crack up too” territory.
Sounds & music, I’ve pretty much covered. There’s not a huge amount. A jolly tune plays in the background of the menu, though I didn’t hear any in-game. There are a few generic “Ho-Ho-Ho”s here and there, and of course, the aforementioned crunch. They do the job nicely, though it felt empty without any gameplay music.
No matter whether or not you like arcade games, or whether or not Christmas is the holiday you celebrate in December, this is a game well worth playing, if just the once. I mean, why waste your time with an intelligent game when you could kick Santa’s nuts all the way back to Autumn?*
*I had a better euphamism for this, but I was politely informed by a… “colleague”… it unintentionally sounded filthy, so I replaced it