(WiiWare)

Game Review

Happy Holidays: Halloween Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Sean Aaron

Take your holiday elsewhere!

The idea of sending greeting cards to your Wii friends isn't a bad one - after all you can already send messages with photos - so as a concept a cheap and cheerful greeting card program could easily have a place on your Wii, but a Halloween-focused one? Creating an application that will only be used once a year seems redundant from the start, and there's no DLC so maybe we can look forward to a whole series of these in the future.

The first thing you'll notice is that this looks like a Flash application, right down to the fact that it's presented pillarboxed in a 4:3 area on your screen. You've got five options - one of which is the Wii channel menu, but let's take a look around before we run screaming. Naturally you'll want to create a new card, at which point you'll be led through a lovely tutorial that shows you exactly how little time and effort has been invested in this game by its developers.

All card decoration choices are made from an area to the right of your card tableau: simply click with (A) and drag your items to the card area with the pointer. Once placed, decorations are stuck there and can only be removed with (B) so make sure you consider your choices well. You can choose an avatar (a boy or girl figure) from a wide selection of one of each (simplification means no worrying about skin tone, eye or hair colour -- brilliant!). After choosing an avatar you can dress it by choosing one of four hats and one of six outfits; choices are the same regardless of avatar gender which is surprisingly progressive. You also have the option of one of two "costumes," although since the hats and outfits are also costumes (unless a pirate outfit is eveningwear in virtual card-land, or wherever these kids live) it looks like someone lost their dictionary. The "costumes" consist of a Grim Reaper-style outfit (just for you, Corbie!) or a ghost/mummy. Finally you have a choice of four accessories: cutlass, fairy wand, pitchfork or broomstick. Clicking and dragging any of these things (including the kids) snaps them into place.

You can now pick your card design ("frame") from one of three choices, and this is where you get spoiled: a lounge, haunted woods or front porch at night. Oh, there's a fourth option of an empty white background, presumably for those who equate Halloween with a formless void. Of the three frames only two are actually Halloween-related - well, unless a sun-filled lounge with a sofa, table and cupboard is creepy. The frames have an animated icon in the lower right which is pretty nifty: the lounge has some colourful streamers that pop out of bell-shaped objects (this one is definitely a preview of Happy Holidays: Happy New Year), the woods feature a jack-o-lantern that spews out bats and the porch has a black cat that walks across the screen. These animations happen when the cursor hovers over them.

Frame selected, you can decorate the rest with virtual stickers. There are two pages of twelve each including ghosts, bats and jack-o-lanterns as well as banners saying "Happy Halloween" and "Trick or Treat" - it's truly the best part since you can rotate them and place them wherever you like unlike the avatar. Well, it would be, except that it's hopelessly broken. You see, moving the Remote closer to the screen is supposed to make the sticker bigger and pulling back should make it smaller, but nobody bothered to calibrate it properly, so even in total darkness your sticker will strobe rapidly between different sizes. If you want a small sticker just time that click for the tenth of a second when it's small! Of course you need to position it at the same time because once placed it cannot be moved.

The final touch is adding a soundtrack from one of three forgettable choices. Don't be put off by the fact that the music only plays whilst you're holding the button and pointing at the icon for the tune, or the fact that there's no visual indicator that dragging it to your card has done anything - no doubt it worked just great!

Okay, now you can save your card design, add a message and send it to a Wii friend (if you need to drag yourself away from this lengthy process part-way you can choose to save your card and finish it later). Helpfully there's no USB keyboard support or predictive text so just hunt and peck your way through your message. Once your poetry is complete click "Finish" to send it and your friend will shortly receive some Halloween wishes!

Of course your friend will receive a lovely static image with reduced resolution and no music or animations. That's because it's just a message! If your friend was also foolish enough to buy this program they can view the card in all its animated musical glory. Incredibly you can store 100 of your own cards and an equal number of cards that have been sent to you. There's a few weeks until Halloween, so it's conceivable you could be sending a dozen cards a day, so thank goodness the developers took the needs of people with Halloween-related OCD into account.

Conclusion

In all seriousness you'd need to have bats in your belfry to buy this bare-bones miserable excuse of a card-making application. That the only remotely creative part is totally broken due to not taking the time to properly calibrate the motion-based zoom function is just embarrassing. 505 Games should be ashamed of producing this one-trick waste of time and Nintendo should be ashamed for allowing it to pollute the WiiWare shop.

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User Comments (50)

#1

said:

I just posted a question on the fourms about this lol.

ballistikboy

#2

ballistikboy said:

LOL!! Ok, I'm guessing this is the worst score any game on this site has received? Scary stuff indeed!

grenworthshero

#6

grenworthshero said:

Wow, I was expecting this one to get a 3 or something, but it's even worse than I thought. Good review. I like the unabashed sarcastic tone.

Wiiloveit

#7

Wiiloveit said:

If it had Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Birthday themes, it would serve a much better purpose, but it was obvious from the start that this was going to be pointless.

SKTTR

#8

SKTTR said:

By all means, this isn't in the same league as Karate Phants, Incoming and Hockey Allstar Shootout.

It's the worst thing WiiWare could have. Instead of giving it one blue star, you should give it 0, and even delete some of the grey stars.

This product gives me nightmares with what is going to happen:
Happy Holidays Christmas
Happy Holidays New Year
Happy Holidays Easter
Happy Birthday
Happy Marriage
Happy Newborn
Happy My Condolescences

What a rip-off. Even all these made-up themes in one package for 200 points would be a waste with that lack of content and screwed interface.

Sean_Aaron

#9

Sean_Aaron said:

Yes, my wife noted that it deserved the first zero or possibly a minus in front of the one. Admins get on that pronto!

jhuhn

#13

jhuhn said:

I had a feeling 505 Games bombed on this program. They should have done all the holidays of the year on one program (space pending) including Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, etc.

Rawk_Hawk

#14

Rawk_Hawk said:

Why not combine a bunch of holidays together for 5 bucks. Art Academy:Second semester you are officially off the hook now for overpriced software.

Knux

#16

Knux said:

THIS is on WiiWare!? This piece of shovelware looks hilarious!! It certainly deserves a 1 [or worse], great review!

Reala

#17

Reala said:

This type of thing belongs in software, to be downloaded free along with the horoscope channel and the rest.

The_Fox

#18

The_Fox said:

Wow, what a piece of crap. There are hundreds of free applications online that do a superior job. Thanks for the shovelware, 505 Games!

JayArr

#20

JayArr said:

I'm holding out for the compilation disc after they release all the holidays!

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#21

Philip_J_Reed said:

Ever get the feeling NintendoLife hates you, Sean? What did you do to them?

Going by this and Karate Phants, I have to assume you murdered a puppy of theirs in cold blood.

Sean_Aaron

#22

Sean_Aaron said:

Karate Phants does deserve a higher score compared to this, I will admit.

If there was DLC that would have been better, if the stickers either had zoom that worked or didn't have it at all that would have been better. Sooooo many things would have been better, but rather than 500pts on this you could buy cards and have a more worthwhile experience.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#27

Philip_J_Reed said:

"Now I have to wonder, what isent getting aproved for wii-ware."

Now THAT's a spooky thought.

Metang

#29

Metang said:

ROFL
This game is so crappy I have to laugh at it.
There really should be a 0/10 enabled. Just when I think WiiWare can't get any worse, it gets worse. We STILL have no Cave Story, and Nintendo releases total poopoo like this every damn week. What the yodel are they thinking?

WolfRamHeart

#31

WolfRamHeart said:

Happy Holidays: Halloween(WiiWare)= EPIC FAIL!!!
I think that Webster should highly consider adding this definition to their dictionary, seriously.

JustaGerm

#32

JustaGerm said:

Spoken like a true playa. Maybe Nintendo will pull it when Halloweens over, makes sense right?

Ricardo91

#35

Ricardo91 said:

4th 1/10 Wiiware game. Beautiful. Times like these REALLY make me wish Nintendo brought back quality control...

Adamant

#37

Adamant said:

So not only is a ridiculously bad idea in the first place, it's also really horribly executed?
Brilliant.

Stargazer

#38

Stargazer said:

One star? I would have given them 3 just for having the balls to charge $5 for this.

SmaMan

#42

SmaMan said:

According to their site: http://505games.com they've done some kind of aerial combat game, a Hotel for Dogs license and a Foosball game... this game isn't even listed... and I see why.
EDIT: That was just on their US site actually, their UK site list a lot more that I guess they published. Cooking Mama and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core are on their list :O

I know that X-Play never gave a 0/5 for any game because they said that even a minimal bit of work deserves a star. (Or something like that) However, for games that clearly deserved no stars, they gave them Golden Mullet awards... I wouldn't be surprised if this was the next recipient.

This game is so bad... it's SCARY!
(sorry, I just had to say it...)

Xkhaoz

#44

Xkhaoz said:

This could have been better if it had all of the holidays. It also could be cool as a DSi thing. but still, this sucks.

darkshaddow42

#46

darkshaddow42 said:

Maybe for DSi... maybe if it could be less than 500 points... maybe if it included other holidays... maybe if it had keyboard support... maybe, maybe, maybe.

astarisborn94

#48

astarisborn94 said:

This game is so utterly embarrassing, I litterally laughed.

Let's make a Happy Hoilday: Haloween bashing thread.

ArmoredGoomba

#50

ArmoredGoomba said:

One year later it gets a release in the US. With no changes. The developer should be embarrassed for releasing this.

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