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Sweaters And Squirrels In My Stocking

// reviews by Jeff

Christmas Squirrel

It's time for some holiday fun, courtesy of our old friend, the Christmas Squirrel! Yes, even the animal kingdom is celebrating Christmas, so it's official: the holiday has officially caught on in the mainstream. So why not get into the spirit by testing out Christmas Squirrel, a Flash game that... oh, what's all this then? Why does that squirrel look so annoyed on the title screen? And his female squirrel friend looks fearful, actually, as though Christmas Squirrel has murdered Santa Claus and has kidnapped her and the reindeer in an effort to rule the skies once and for all! Is this game safe for kids? For adults? For humans? For anyone? For my computer? Is it going to burn a hole right through the screen then attempt to burn down my precious home?! Meanwhile, the title screen plays Jingle Bells, but only for a while before it repeats. That wouldn't be so bad if the cutoff point wasn't just randomly in the middle of the bloody song!

But what about the game itself? If you aren't playing with a partner, this game is going to be difficult because you have to control two squirrels simultaneously, each with controls on the opposite side of the keyboard. The male squirrel — let's call him Clemont — makes use of the A and D keys to move left and right, and the W key jumps. The female squirrel, Glandola, uses the arrow keys instead. I seem to be alone at the moment; there isn't even the usual stalker behind the couch ready to slice me like cheap bacon. I'm going to have to coordinate all of my mental capacities to make this work. Alright, here we go...

I made a squirrel jump, and they stole the jump sound effect from Super Mario Bros. for the NES. ...WHY?! Your goal is each of the various stages is to collect all of the acorns and then reach the goal. Moving both was indeed a challenge, but if you have them stand right on top of each other's sprite, you can synchronize them pretty good. It's a shame that Jingle Bells loop is still going strong. Also, when you collect an acorn, the squirrel sneezes. I guess they have allergies?

But in the second stage, I encountered a roadblock! One platform was too high for my characters to reach! Collecting a star made ONE squirrel jump higher... but not the other. The girl ended up getting the star, but...now I'm stuck! Better restart and try again. And this time, I let the MAN handle it. Turns out Clemont's the only one capable of pushing objects; I pushed a present over as a stepping stool for Glandola. He's so gentlemanly. He must get it from me. But he still looks so TICKED OFF!! The squirrels will soon learn other important abilities, such as breaking ice walls, — you know, all this things squirrels do in their normal lives. And... wh-wait... there are PORTALS too?! What kind of strange adventure are they having? Am I to anticipate Christmas GlaDoS as a final boss?!

This game can be downloaded for free as well, and in the archive's text file, here's the novel "game tip" they offer for us: "Control the two squirrels to collect ALL nuts and go home. Only boy squirrel can take up the box. Pick up GOLD star can make squirrel jump higher, pick up RED star can break the ice wall. Remember: cooperation is very important, they need to help each other." I'm sold.

There's also a walkthrough button in the game, which leads to a video showing exactly how to complete the game. It's very useful. I recommend it. It's a lot easier than playing or suffering through this.

Should you play this?

You can play this game by clicking here.


Ugly Christmas Sweater

I just fell face first into another dress-up Flash game, courtesy of the fine hard-working teams at DressUpGal.com. This time, however, the focus is on Christmas-related gear! Yes, it's Ugly Christmas Sweater, where you dress up a pencil-thin ski bunny in a variety of snappy festive outfits, in anticipation of a very special moment with her favourite boyfriend/girlfriend/goldfish under the mistletoe.

Once the lovely title (in the font from Hell) fades away, so do the clothes of our model, leaving her in a skimpy brassiere and underwear small enough to hold only the most modest of lipsticks. And she's staring at me... blinking... waiting for me to cease my gawking and to impart her with some dignity. So what's the first thing I add to this figure? A wine glass. If you're going to stand around on Christmas Eve baring it all, you might as well get drunk on red wine, Nature's grapiest nog.

But beyond this lies a wider range of customization. I can change her hair colour and style in six different ways, just like REAL hair! I'll go with the "giant furry volcano" style, as pictured above. Now let's add a necklace, subtle yet brimming with elegance and splendor, plus a pair of earrings that make you say, "Holy Hannah! You have ears." Tack on some futuristic bracelets and high heels that scream "dollar bin", and you have yourself one classy holi-dame.

But wait! I forgot to put ACTUAL clothes on her! I should be ashamed of myself. Luckily, I'm not. I've slapped on some skin-tight horizontally-striped black and white pants — suitable for Christmas and jailhouse sockhops — and now I'm ready for the main event: the UGLY. CHRISTMAS. SWEATER!

At this point, I'm giddy as a titmouse.

So what do I go with? The red hoodie with snowmen on it? The classic red and white sweater featuring three reindeer apparently having a much better time than I am? The "ALL I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS IS THIS FUGLY SWEATER" ensemble? Or perhaps the "I know how to vomit vertically in rainbow colours" look? There are quite a number of options for you to dress up your gal, but for me personally, I'm a strong traditionalist, and thus the reindeer sweater was the ideal choice.

And there you have it, folks: I now have a lovely friend for the holidays, and together we can drink, laugh, and be merry.

God I'm lonely.

Should you play this?

You can play this game by clicking here.


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