The Grinch is a mean one, he really is a heel, he’s as cuddly as a cactus, and as charming as an eel, but wow, my four-year-old daughter loves him – so much so that she simply HAD to play through The Grinch: Christmas Adventures with me. It’s actually pretty fun too, and whilst the lack of challenge and originality will be noticeable to older players, it’s a platforming delight for youngsters.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The Grinch: Christmas Adventures follows the beloved festive tale of the Dr Seuss’ classic, and whilst it isn’t necessarily a 1:1 retelling, the rhyming narrative and quirky shenanigans that unfold certainly embrace the heart (that’s two sizes too small) of the story. The storytelling is charming, and whilst it isn’t an overly cinematic experience, it certainly caught the attention of my little one who found herself invested in The Grinch’s journey to steal Christmas.
When it comes to the gameplay, The Grinch: Christmas Adventures mainly focuses on traditional 2D levels full of platforming challenges, collectible presents to find, and enemies to dispose of by jumping on them, whilst there are also 2.5D areas that see you exploring more interior locales and hiding from anyone who wants to show you affection. You’re able to switch control to The Grinch’s lovable canine companion Max too, who comes in useful when venturing through small gaps that The Grinch isn’t able to squeeze through – there’s also drop-in local co-op play involving Max, which is a great addition if you’re planning on playing with a younger family member.
The platforming itself is enjoyable enough, with the typical hallmarks of the genre showing up throughout. Moving platforms? You’ve got them. Ropes to swing between? Yeah, they show up. Enemies you’ve got to jump on to defeat? Plenty of those. Collectibles scattered across levels? You got it. There isn’t anything here that you wouldn’t have seen before and each mechanic is simplified to target a younger audience, but it’s all competently executed to ensure the game is entertaining. Sure, the jumping could feel a little clunky to begin with, but that’s something you get used to the longer you play.
“Everything in the game is simplified, but it’s done so to make sure kids can have playing, which is something I saw firsthand with my daughter who had a blast going through the adventure.”
That’s not to say that The Grinch: Christmas Adventures doesn’t try to spice things up a little bit. The Grinch will unlock new abilities as you progress for example, but players need to complete simple puzzles in order to get them. And no, I don’t mean platforming or logic puzzles, but actual puzzles where you have to put the pieces together to form a picture. Again, they’re REALLY easy to solve for adult gamers, but are perfect for younger players. My daughter felt really satisfied with each one she completed, whilst they add an extra bit of variety outside of the platforming action.
The 2.5D sections of the game make things interesting by having enemies stalk you throughout each section, whether that’s one of the Whos from Whosville or even a living gingerbread man… ok, ok, stalking might be a bit extreme (they’re actually trying to give you a hug), but still, they’re MENACING. Admittedly, it’s easy enough to evade them so they’re never much trouble to handle, but there’s also a stealth mechanic in place that allows The Grinch to hide away in certain places to keep out of sight. Much like every other aspect of the game, it’s stealth in its simplest form, but it does give youngers players something extra to chuckle at in the game.
Another part of the game I liked were the dramatic running sections where you’ve got to evade hazards, with it clear there’s plenty going on in The Grinch: Christmas Adventures to keep younger players busy. Everything in the game is simplified, but it’s done so to make sure kids can have playing, which is something I saw firsthand with my daughter who had a blast going through the adventure – It’s the first one she has actually completed, which made it even more special. It offered the right amount of challenge to keep her invested, but not so much that she was constantly failing and getting frustrated with the experience. Sure, there were some sections that took a bit of practice (she is four after all), but as an early gaming experience, it felt like a good introduction to 2D platforming. The only thing that did confuse her was the transition from 2D levels to the 2.5D areas because of the extra control over movement these sections offered, but it was something she got used to (or that she’d just get me to deal with for her).
Check out some screenshots down below:
It’s clear then that The Grinch: Christmas Adventures is made for kids, so if you’re an adult looking for some platforming fun, I’d look elsewhere. If you’re planning on playing with a little one, it’s perfect and a great introduction to gaming that’s come just in time for the holiday season. But if you’re hoping for another platforming fix after playing Mario Wonder? Yeah, you’re better off looking elsewhere, with the simplicity, easy difficulty, and lack of replay value making this hard to recommend to older gamers.
The Grinch: Christmas Adventures Review
The Grinch: Christmas Adventures is a festive platforming treat for younger players, with its simple yet enjoyable platforming action a good introduction to gaming. There’s a decent amount of ideas on show throughout the adventure to keep the experience varied for younger players, and whilst everything it does is very simple in design, it has the right balance of difficulty to ensure the experience never gets frustrating. My four-year-old daughter loved playing it, and I loved getting to experience it alongside her – whether that was whilst dropping in with the co-op play or just when helping her get through some sections she struggled with along the way.
Developer: Casual Brothers
Publisher: Outright Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC