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Christmas Clix - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Christmas Clix

WiiWare | JV Games Inc. / Munsie Games | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 1,000 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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3rd January 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

After having already released two casual games for the WiiWare service, JV Games Inc. recently released 
Christmas Clix, a holiday-themed puzzle game. The game was originally developed by Munsie Games for the PC and Mac, costing roughly $10 for both platforms, so it's of little surprise that this WiiWare-bound title costs $10 (1,000 Wii Points) as well. But is it worth the asking price? The answer to that question could very well surprise you!

    Gameplay centers around players matching presents of a similar colour to eliminate them from a vertical 9x6 grid. The controls couldn't be mapped any simpler: simply aim your cursor with the wave of the Wii Remote, then, click (oh, excuse me... "clix") the desired presents with the A Button, making formations horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or in even clusters. If there's a whole row of green presents, simply click the present on the far left and the one on the far right to create a match that will also get rid of all the ones in between. Occasionally, ice cubes will appear which have to be tapped on multiple times, as well as circular ornaments that can be matched to another one regardless of where it is on the grid. Once the tree is full of enough decorations, players will have to click a giant, smiling Star that will fall from the sky signifying the completion of a level. Your points are tallied and are added to your cumulative score which carries with you throughout the main quest. At its roots, Christmas Clix is, in essence, a match-three type of game but it's far from a "clone" of sorts, as the rest of the gameplay shows.

As presents disappear from plain sight, candy canes and gold coins will be released only to 
fall towards the bottom of the screen. Players will then have a short time to retrieve any of the fallen collectables simply by passing their cursor over them. As you continue through the levels in the game, you'll find yourself collecting tons of candy canes especially, all of which are tallied on the left of the screen. Both this along with the coins serve the purpose of awarding you bonus points at the end of each level to add to your cumulative score, set across the entire campaign.

    As players collect coins, they'll begin to fill a meter to the right of the grid which has a little picture of a toy soldier next to it. Once full, a toy soldier will appear with the next wave of presents, and will take you away to a bonus mini-game once clicked on. The mini-games involve such tasks as clicking gold coins that roll across screen, popping gold balloons, and throwing snowballs at moving snowmen targets. They're hardly stirring, and some of them are actually a bit of a drag to play but thankfully, they don't appear too often. They do help to mix up gameplay a tad, but they ultimately lack substance and aren't particularly fun. Younger audiences may enjoy some of the bonuses (like breaking icy blocks Arkanoid-style), in which case, the developers gave players the ability to replay any of the mini-games you've already played in a separate mode. Still, most won't feel inclined to go back to these more than once.

    By far, though, the yellow stars are the most interesting of all of the elements found within the game. As you collect candy canes and match presents, your Star Meter on the right side of the screen will increase. Once it's full, a yellow Star will appear with the next set of presents that make their way onto the grid.  These stars can trigger a number of events that make the game more lively and stimulating for the player, especially since you don't know what to expect. For example, sometimes toy fighter planes will come from the sides of the screen to drop candy bombs down onto the presents, releasing a swarm of collectables! There's a great number of events that will grow as you progress through the campaign and it's almost exciting to see these events take place as it makes the game much more compelling as a whole.

    As seen above, the game does a lot of things well. This feeling of success is also translated into the game's smooth presentation. Everything from the animations to the flashy effects have a childish feel to them which thoroughly suit the gameplay. Even the gameplay instructions have nice rhymes to them that further convey a sense of cheeriness. Additionally, the festive-themed music also accompanies the gameplay perfectly and overall, there's little to find fault with. What's equally commendable is the way everything flows together. It never feels like things are executed poorly, nor do you ever get the feeling that there are too many things going on at once. Clix introduces you to new elements in such a way that it hardly seems like a big jump in gameplay whatsoever, much like what was done in JV Games' game, "Incoming". In so doing, the game manages to maintain a sense of balance in gameplay that's neither overly simple, nor too complicated.

    The game contains 100 levels, and will clock you a good few hours. There are tons of levels, and the gameplay stays the same throughout, give or take a few new elements along the way. What's great is that the game doesn't get terribly repetitive thanks to the various gameplay elements that help complement its appeal. The game also features a mini-game mode (as was mentioned previously), but it's doubtful that you'll come back to this very much. So really, if the gameplay doesn't stick with you then there's nothing to come back to. Thankfully, if players are on the fence, they have the ability to try a demo of the game on the official site.

Probably one of the few complaints that one could address would be the lack of multiplayer battles. The gameplay is so well-suited for multiplayer bouts amongst two friends that it almost seems a logical inclusion, but sadly it's non-existent. This definitely would've helped the game feel more complete with added replay value so it's rather disappointing that this wasn't added in (even if the PC version didn't have it, it still could've been incorporated).

    Overall, Christmas Clix contains a good level of appeal for casual gamers of different age groups, both young and old. The gameplay is surprisingly fun and it'll keep you coming back for more. It's also rather impressive how the developers have been able to make the game what it is without making it overly-complicated, so kudos to them! It's possible that the game would've had even more appeal if it wasn't so holiday-focused and if the game had a battle mode of sorts, but Clix still delivers an enjoyable experience that you might just find to be worth the asking price.

22/30 - Good

Gameplay 8/10  - Balanced difficulty matched with addicting gameplay, events created by the Stars give the game life
Presentation 7/10 - Nice effects that all co-operate well together with gameplay, more appeal if it wasn't Christmas-themed
Enjoyment 4/5 - Surprisingly enjoyable for a single-player affair, mini-games bring it down a bit
Extra Content 3/5 - Lack of multiplayer is a shame, 100 levels, mini-games don't offer too much, high-scores

Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Christmas Clix
Review | Screenshot gallery | Trailer | Preview | Feature | Interview


Review by KnucklesSonic8

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