Shovelware is as much a part of Christmas as roasted livestock and silly jumpers, particularly for children whose parents don’t know any better, and it seems that Microvalue isn't happy with ending its Christmas Wonderland series as a trilogy.
Christmas Wonderland 4 is a point and click game that has you looking at a Christmas-themed scene and scanning the array of items, which have been photoshopped in it with questionable success or consistency. You tap on the items the game tells you to from either a list or silhouette until the game tells you that the job's done; that is, unfortunately, the extent of the gameplay. You’ll occasionally be subjected to some uninspired mini games that task you to match the pairs, complete a sickeningly simple jigsaw puzzle, or other such enticing activities.
You won’t be exploring the locales on offer in peace however. Two disturbing, rosy-cheeked children stalk you at every turn, declaring their intentions before you can enter any level, staring out of the screen with unblinking eyes. It’s not supposed to be frightening, but trust this reviewer, it is.
Thankfully the rest of the game is a less distressing affair from a visual standpoint. It is utterly dull though, and this is the real nub of the matter. These sort of games have been around for a long time, and they have the longevity and lasting appeal of the contents of a Christmas cracker. Children aren’t going to be playing this game past Christmas as it’s just the same tired old gameplay that’s been around for so many years before, and it wasn’t entertaining even at its inception. It’s mind-numbing, tedious and unfulfilling.
The only purpose of this game would be as a budget stocking filler for a child with simple tastes, but the fact that it can only be downloaded means that it can’t even really be used as a stocking filler, at least not in the traditional sense. This is essentially the same game as all the previous entries, and feels like little more than a cold, lifeless attempt to make a quick buck during the festive flurry of confused parents.
Whilst it functions in itself, there’s almost nothing to like about Christmas Wonderland 4. Its gameplay could serve as the very definition of tedium, and apart from a few choppy animations here and there, the majority of the game is based around still images with dozens of poorly rendered objects slapped all over them. Avoid like a Christmas plague.