CHRISTMAS STORIES: THE GIFT OF THE MAGI – Collector’s Edition


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by ELEPHANT GAMES; BIG FISH GAMES

EXCELLENT SAVE XMAS STORY!

Story:  Everybody knows that Santa gives presents to nice children, but who visits the naughty ones? After your sister does something bad, Berta the evil Christmas spirit and her mean elves take her away. The only way to save her is by performing good deeds and helping make the holiday season more cheerful for others. With the help of Jack Frost, can you save the holidays before it’s too late? (Big Fish Sales Blurb)

I really liked the Main Game story, which was long and complex.  In it you carry the Globe of Good Deeds, which Jack Frost fills with the Xmas Spirit you gain for completing each good deed.  It also carried a great message for kids, while not shoving their face in it.  It is enjoyable to play.

Options & Main Menu:   Both fine.  MM clear and easy to use.

Music & Voice-Overs:  These suit the game really well.  Keep the music volume down so you can focus on the game, but keep it in the background as it enhances the game.

Bonus Content:  Concept Art; Collectibles; Hidden Objects (13); Mini-Games; Wallpapers; Achievements; Music; Screensaver; Secret Room; Bonus Game.

Desktop:   (left) Menu, Map, Elf Goody or Jack Frost or Mother Mouse(helpers); (Centre) Tasks, Inventory, Lists; (Right) Hint, Strategy Guide.  In the Bonus Chapter your helper is the Fairy Cat Godmother, or a Mouse.

Image result for christmas stories the gift of the magi collectors edition

Tutorial:  Really good for novice.  Can be skipped if you want to once you are comfortable with the game-play.  You get a Tutorial for the Bonus Chapter, and also for the Quest Game within the Secret Room – with the usual choices to opt out.

Graphics:   Very colourful, imaginative, detailed – full of winter snow, swirling snowflakes, icicles, and snow-laden landscapes and objects or paths obstructed by avalanches that need to be removed so you can continue.  I love these Graphics, as they make you want to explore.

Play Modes:   Casual; Detective; Super.

Map:  Interactive – shows where you are, what sites are active and where main next objective is. It also indicates which sites still have Morphing Objects and Puzzle Pieces to find.  If you mouse-over the terrain of the Map it will show the various sites in the snow-globe which appears over the Map-Key.

HOPs:   These are ingenious and diverse – Interactive; Lists; Double-HOPs; Find Pairs; Replace Items; Story-HOPs.  Some Find Pairs alternate between listed Names and Items to replace, each revealing a Fragment/Item to use at the end of the HOP.   They often contained Mini-Games which on the whole were clever and a little unusual.

Image result for christmas stories the gift of the magi collectors edition

Puzzles:   Mostly OK with a few random-action ones you could Skip.  I don’t like Puzzles if they are not logical, and if they only solve with the luck of the click.  And I especially groan when I see the Sliding Puzzles, whether in a confined box with a space, or with Arrows around the outside for you to move the pieces.  These are always long and tedious and no fun at all!  But many were quite clever and fun.  If in doubt, SKIP IT is my Motto!

Collections:   Jigsaw Pieces (36); Morphing Objects (14); Stars for Magic Box, occasionally.   You can collect any missing Jigsaw Pieces and Morphing Objects in the Bonus Chapter, but you cannot collect any missing Morphing Objects after the Bonus Game is completed.  The Jigsaw Pieces are held in the Secret Room doorway on the Bonus Content site – you put together 3 separate jigsaws to unlock the Secret Room.  Within this room are Quests in the various sites for a different range of Morphing Objects, designated at the Top Left of each quest location.

Game-play:   You progress steadily, finding and using Items to repair the damage and obstacles thrown in your path by the Bad Elves/Goblins.  Your Elf Helper, Goody, will assist you by climbing to places you can’t reach, or entering small openings.  But you can call on Jack Frost at times for his assistance, and he takes over from Goody for a while as well.   You unlock, repair, open, complete various entries, boxes, locks, and so on.  Make sure you locate all the Morphing Objects so that you can access the Bonus Content at the end.  This game is rather slow opening up new sites which halts your progress.

Image result for christmas stories the gift of the magi collectors edition

Player Participation:   This is good, continual clicking (a little tiring) and manipulating Items.  You get to use your brain to solve problems and determine where you will go next.  The Map is essential, especially as you begin to tire, as it prompts you to the next spot.  Also Hint can prompt you when your mind turns to mush and you can’t remember why you went to a specific site upon arrival there.

Satisfaction Factor:   It is gratifying that most of the characters are human, with Elves and Xmas legendary characters involved as well.  It makes for a better game if we aren’t only surrounded by talking animals.  But don’t get your hopes up too high – they return with a vengeance for the Bonus Chapter.

Frustration Factors:   These are mainly from the annoying Puzzles that won’t complete due to random actions, or taking too long to complete or only have a number of moves in which to complete them.  Along with the slow site-opening, these annoying Puzzles interfere with the game-flow, which is totally unnecessary.  We buy games to play and enjoy, not get riled up by trivialities.

Bonus Game:   Plunged back into a cat story, you attend the Cat Ball in this Bonus Chapter, solving their problems.  More of the same, interesting enough to keep you playing.  Unfortunately, this game seems to be a little heavy on the Puzzle side and light on the HOP side.

Image result for christmas stories the gift of the magi collectors edition

I recommend this game to those who love Xmas games.  There’s plenty of fun in this one.

Jud House 18/12/2017

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About judsartwork

I write reviews of Adventure and Hidden Object games that are Crime, Fantasy, SciFi, Renovation, Travel, Quest and/or Mystery by genre. I have a Masters in Writing (2006) and have been writing novels, both crime and fantasy for many years; plus Haiku, verse, and prose both fictional and literary. I am also an artist of modern, Acrylic, textural and hard edge work, underwater, fantasy, expressionist, and Cosmos paintings. I use mixed media (Acrylic, Watercolour, Pastels) in textural Monoprints, finding surprises to expose within each work. Having both an analytical and creative mind has meant that I have strong powers of observation, and the persistence required to follow computer problems through till I solve them. Of course I am not always successful, but am willing to ask for a little help in order to then unlock the main problem myself. My Troubleshooting Blog, 'Problems and Solutions', was the result of my tenacity.
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