So it’s the night before Christmas, and Santa got shot. This is either going to lead into a Law and Order holiday special or it’s A Goblin Xmas Tale by Giant Goblin Studios. As much as we’d want it to be both just so that we could see Robert Goren chase down a holiday themed killer, it’s the latter. We actually got wind of this 100% goblin owned and operated studio when they snuck into our cupboards and enjoyed our controller shaped cookies. They gave us some candies in exchange for the cookies they gobbled up; however, they turned into ghosts and attacked us while they ran off into the horizon.
Disclosure: This review was written using a press copy of the game.
The defense of the Sticky Bunton office played a lot like A Goblin Xmas Tale if we were to be perfectly honest. You play as the tallest goblin of goblinkind, a giant goblin if you will, who must save Xmas after shooting Santa. Oddly enough it’s not the gunshot wound that you must save him from, but Valdeze, the big bad, has stolen the Naughty & Nice List along with the presents. It’s up to you to use your ghost gun to kill the undead desserts in between you and a happy holiday. Also you aiming skills, because this is a retro shooter after all.
While your shooting skills may vary, you’ll find that spastically shooting at the ghouls will be your best recourse. The ghost gun comes with two basic bullet types. If you watched Bleach, think of the bullet types as the two guns that Coyote Stark uses. One bullet type is much faster, but weaker, and the other is twice as strong but slower. The bullets do ricochet, increasing the odds that you can hit an enemy or yourself. I should mention that I’ve yet to complete the game, but I’ve not encountered any upgrades, though the rainbow Pacman ghost could be one, but I can’t hit that thing at all. Did I mention that I’m terrible at shooters?
One thing that took me off guard was that there was voice acting. Even some $15 games don’t have voice acting in them and this game is completely free. The voice acting wasn’t bad either. A Goblin Xmas Tale also has several modes aside from it’s story mode; including, survival, local multiplayer, and local coop. Like I said in the Super Mayan Death Robots review, in this age online multiplayer and coop makes more sense, but Giant Goblin gets a pass on this gripe because the game is free. Everything in this game feels like a labor of love created by developers starting off in the industry or doing it for fun. That’s one of the reasons I personally wanted to review this game. It’s too often that those starting out are not reviewed fairly and without a truly critical eye. Without that, newcomers to the gaming industry don’t get to know how to improve or where their strengths or weaknesses are.
I can’t say that A Goblin Xmas Tale is revolutionary as it’s mechanics are based off of the retro style of shooter showcased by Space Invaders. Its writing is very sarcastic and comedic, but sometimes its humor can fall short. Personally, I’d love to see more from them, but branching out from an arcade shooter to a side scroller or a non-shooter genre all together. I often mention that there’s potential in games, but very rarely say that a developer has potential, except for now when I believe that Giant Goblin has potential and passion to create fun, funny, and entertaining games, and would like to see something more in the future. Heck, they might even be at work on it now. A Goblin Christmas Tale is a funny joy ride to take as a side trip before diving into a world of serious space dramas and apocalypses. It’s free and you can find it on the Giant Goblin Studios website or Steam Greenlight. Go give it a look and let them know how you feel about it.