Love the holidays? Want a game that captures the magic of Christmas? Then consider trying out A Very Bad Christmas Eve. This game, unlike many simulation games before it, comes with a charming and unique holiday flare. It was released December 18th, 2020, and was developed and published by Incineration Productions. While the premise is great, this game just didn’t put me in the spirit of the season. From the trailer, it looked like it would be hilarious hours of fun, but it just missed the mark, which is rather unfortunate. I launched the game via SteamVR and even tried using Virtual Desktop, hoping for a different experience, but nope. Let’s hope for an update to this game!
A Very Bad Christmas Eve is available on SteamVR for your regional pricing.
STORY – CUTE BUT SHORT
You are Santa’s last elf. What happened to the other elves? Did they go on vacation too early? Are they all off sick? There is no real explanation for this bit of the story, but that doesn’t make it any less charming to me. As the title suggests, it’s Christmas Eve, and you are Santa’s only hope to save the holidays. Will you lead the children to a joyous Christmas Day? Or will you ruin it for everyone with your neglect? That choice remains with you! Travel around Saint Nick’s workshop, building and wrapping presents as you go. Better do it quickly though, time is running out to save Christmas for everyone!
The story and premise for this game are great, as it’s unique but still full of holiday spirit. What didn’t work for me was the lack of explanation about what happened to the other elves, just another thing that makes this game feel rushed. I didn’t get the full experience of this game that I would have liked. I would assume there’s a bit of an ending if you beat the game in the essence that you’ve saved Christmas and Santa is happy with you or something.
GAMEPLAY – BUGGY AT BEST
From unstable wrapping paper to trouble navigating the workshop, this game had a lot of potentials but feels unfinished. Moving around is difficult and only allows you to teleport to certain portions of the workshop. The rest of your traversal has to come from you, so if you don’t have ample space, good luck moving around in this game! I feel like full joystick navigation would have suited this game a lot better. Or at least improvement on the teleport system would have been better.
The teleportation often throws you into a random part of the workshop instead of where you’d like to go. The unstable wrapping paper seemed cute at first, but it’s actually a nightmare of bugs causing the rolls of gift wrap to have minds of their own, adding to the difficulty of controlling the game. It felt like they may have done this intentionally to make the game more interesting, or perhaps it was just a way to narrowly explain away some of the glitches.
As for the rest of the game, more bugs were mostly what I found. Because of the walking issue, I wasn’t able to do much in the game or really capture the full experience. The next thing I knew, alarms were going off, and the game was over before I was even able to grab the book that I assume explains how to work everything in the game. A proper tutorial would have also been nice though maybe that was in the book that I wasn’t able to grab due to navigation issues?
From what you can see, it’s just a pair of floating elf hands that travel around the room. Unlike some other VR experiences where this felt OK, some arms or something might have better suited the immersion. All in all, A Very Bad Christmas Eve was just a very bad experience for me. I wish they had worked a little more on the game instead of releasing what feels like a very rushed game. Perhaps they should have used the “Bug Fixer” mallet on this game? I was just left feeling frustrated and disappointed with it. Perhaps it would have been better on the Valve Index?
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO – ADORABLE
This game’s only redeeming qualities are the graphics and audio. The music is wonderfully festive. If it wasn’t for the gameplay, as stated above, this game would have been very enjoyable and has a lot of potentials. I’m hoping they fix the gameplay in a later update so I can get the full experience with it. The audio is mostly very cute Christmas music though I assume there would have been more had I had the chance to explore and use the workshop in greater detail.
As for the graphics, they’re quite smooth and very charming. I wish there had have been more of an elf body for further immersion as you’re just working with a floating pair of helping hands. most of the detail is very minimalist, but I feel like that adds to the charm of this game. All in all, A Very Bad Christmas Eve is quite cute and has a lot of promise; however, it just feels rushed. I wish they would have put a bit more into it as it really is very intriguing for a little indie game. I look forward to possible updates to this game and hope to see more from Incineration Productions, as they definitely have a creative flair.
The review game key was provided by Incineration Productions and was reviewed using the Oculus Quest 2 via Oculus Link and again via Virtual Desktop.