20/12/2023

Christmas Massacre PS5 Review 8/10 “Bad Santa” ๐ŸŽ… ๐Ÿ”ช @PuppetCombo #GameDev #IndieGame @transvaalgf

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Christmas Massacre PS5 Review
Puppet Combo has been a revelation this year, Stay Out of the House and Night at the Gates of Hell have been real highlights of 2023, which is saying something when taking into account how great 2023 has been for gaming.

Seeing that Christmas Massacre had been ported to the PS5 was a nice, early Christmas present, one filled with screams, horror and a very eager, bloodthirsty Christmas tree.

You play as Larry, a man with terrible dress sense and someone you definitely don’t want at your Xmas party. As the Holidays are starting, Larry's Christmas tree starts encouraging Larry to kill. Yes, you haven't read that wrong - he has a talking Christmas tree, and one who seems to have only one thing on its mind, “kill!,kill!,kill! Larry” it encourages.


Now, most people would probably just get rid of the tree and never celebrate Christmas again, but Larry - who is dressed in just his underwear and father Christmas mask - likes what the tree is cooking and - after grabbing his trusty kitchen knife - off into the Winter night he goes.

Christmas Massacre PS5 Review

This is different from Puppet Combo’s other outings as you are usually a victim who is being hunted by a killer, but in this you are the killer on the loose. You go to various locations and your goal is to kill people as quickly as possible, you get a score at the end of the level that relates to how quick you were and how many kills you can chain together.


The first few levels are nice and easy but as you progress, areas get bigger, with more people present and you have to work out a path where you can kill the unsuspecting victims without having bodies being discovered, because when someone finds a victim or sees Larry, they hoof it to the nearest exit, and you instantly fail.


Christmas Massacre has elements of stealth in that you have a meter indicating if you are in the hidden in the shadows, but really, it’s about killing quickly and blitzing your victims. You only have a kitchen knife throughout - and one weapon on the final level which I won’t spoil here - but you can throw the knife as well, so although I would have liked more weapons - I did enjoy having the ability to throw the knife.

Christmas Massacre PS5 Review

As you progress through the game you can find costumes laying around and this allows you to finally dress Larry sensibly… like in a clown, or miner outfit, sensible clothes that don’t frighten people when you walk up to them.


One of the things I’ve loved about these Puppet Combo games has been the aesthetic, it’s rough, grimy, and paints the picture of a video nasty. In this game you have several different visual settings, VHS, PSX, Black and White, 8 bit, and a couple of others. Now, most settings seem to make the game darker than a Jeffrey Dahmer nightmare, so I stuck with PSX, but you can choose to have no filters at all if you can’t find one that you like.

Christmas Massacre PS5 Review

Christmas Massacre has a wonderful sound design that keeps you on edge, terrifying screams, sudden musical outbursts - the visuals and music create a such an uneasy atmosphere that throughout the game, it doesn't get boring, and adds so much to the horror, even though YOU are the killer! I still felt a terrifying chill as I explored each area.


The one knock that I will give the sound design is that during the final level there are constant screams, loud and ear piercing, if the neighbours hear this, they may call the cops. I had to turn the sound down so low as I thought a SWAT team may break down my door and ask me where I’ve hidden the bodies, they were unrelenting.

Christmas Massacre PS5 Review

SUMMARY

Not everyone may want to spend Christmas hacking up people in their underwear and that's perfectly understandable, but for the people who enjoy a good horror slasher, there is fun to be had here, all the things I loved about previous Puppet Combo games are present, except now you have a talking Christmas tree to guide you, what's not to love?

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