Overall Score 43%
Santa's Rebels is a remake of the classic arcade game "Missile Command". Just how this arcade game fused with this seasonal archetype is anyone's guess, but married they are. The premise is as follows: Mr. Claus uses only male elves to help deliver presents while the female elves remained at the North Pole. To rectify this, Santa decided that this year the female elves would help him deliver presents. Angered, the male elves have decided to rain havoc upon Mr. Claus (reminder to self: do NOT anger elves) by launching a missile attack upon the storage area of the presents. Your job: defend the presents from the elves incoming missiles with your own cache of point-defense missiles.
Game-play consists of protecting 7 presents from incoming missiles. For each round, you have a total complement of 30 missiles which need to be protected as well from incoming missiles. There are "power-ups" in the sky that you can hit for such things as extra missiles as well. With each round, the missiles increase in both speed and number.
Santa's Rebels is a case of "What you see is what you get". After the title screen and written introduction to the game, you get to play a game that is minimalist at best. The game differs from the original Missile Command in that you have only two missile silo/launchers on the right and left of the screen, and there are 7 identical wrapped presents to defend. The missile launches and explosions are well done, though there are no cut-scenes that I encountered in the game that sets it apart from the game on which it is based, nothing stands out and says "Look at Me - I'm a new rendition of a Classic!" and has me saying "Wow!". As for the landscape, well, this battle could be taking place on the Moon if I did not know the difference.
At times, a minimalist approach with some games is a good thing- though in the case of Santa's Rebels, a rich sound-scape could only help a game that is already struggling. Again, like the graphics, the sound in the game is minimalist. There is a brief "Holiday-like" opening theme and that is all I found in the game other than the sound of missiles, explosions, and the sounds made when missiles and presents are counted at the end of a missile-wave.
So, here I am and I have to ask myself: "Do I want to keep playing this game and am I having a good time?" Likewise, it is here where I have to say that Santa's Rebels did not perform for me; I was not grabbed by the shoulders and drawn into this Elven rebellion of a game and found myself easily drifting off and doing other things.
The problem I found with Santa's Rebels is that the game is essentially the same game that Missile Command was 20 years ago. The difficulty curve, the features, and the depth of the game is about the same as its classic predecessor was when it was all the rage back in the 1980's. I found the game fun for a short-lived nostalgic blast and nothing more.
I have frequented the Indie world of games and utilities software for a while; as a matter-of-fact almost exclusively. Why? For the simple reason that I find my money is well spent on the creativity and innovation that I find. Unfortunately, Santa's Rebels did not cast this hook of creativity or innovation in order to reel me in and only managed to pull a brief nostalgic "Isn't this neat" out of me. Had I spent the asking price of $19.95 for the game I would have been left feeling a bit at a loss with Santa's Rebels. However, if you are a die-hard fan of Missile Command and its variations, by all means give the game a try.
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