Review The Grinch: Christmas Adventures

Publisher of family games, Outright Games has decided to work harder lately. Between Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Transformers: Earth Park and soon Bluey, to name just a few, cartoons for (very) young audiences are the subject of a video game adaptation one after the other. Even if it is appreciable to see these licenses take the form of an adventure with which children can embody their favorite heroes, it must be recognized that these titles turn out to be correct at best, forgettable at worst.

In the midst of these popular animated series, the London publisher decided to take the Grinch out of his cave. Through a platform game called The Grinch: Christmas Adventures, the grumpy anti-hero returns to our screens five years after an animated feature film. To find another video game based on its story, we have to go even further back in time to the adaptation of the film with Jim Carrey, released in 2000.


Unlike the cartoons mentioned above, The Grinch: Christmas Adventures, available since October 13 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Switch and PC, therefore does not particularly benefit from any hype. And we will see that the quality of the title is not likely to reinforce it.

Test conditions: We played The Grinch: Christmas Adventures for almost 4 hours, enough time to finish the game, collect all the puzzle pieces, and test Mirror mode.

Another Christmas to spoil


For the part of the public who does not particularly know the Grinch, he is a character taken from the tale The Grumpy Who Wanted to Ruin Christmas, written by Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss. Recluse with his dog Max in his den, the green creature harbors a deep disgust towards Chouville. This city breathes joy, living together and the Christmas period exacerbates this aversion in the Grinch. No longer able to tolerate such good humor, he decides to spoil the party and steal all the gifts stored in each home.

Here is the original story of the Grinch, reproduced identically in this game developed by the small Casual Brothers team. Designed to be a family title, playable by two people, the adventure therefore takes the form of a classic 2D platform game. There are also infiltration sequences in houses, as well as a cooperation mechanic with the dog Max. This cooperation is carried out with two players, or solo via the L1 button.

As for the platform sequences, we are very conventional with a 2D view over which obstacles and enemies extend. Besides simply dodging them, the Grinch initially only has one jump to get rid of the threats in his path. For the rest, we follow the platforms and collect the dozens of gifts scattered everywhere while avoiding falling into the void. On rare occasions, the Grinch will need Max to unlock doors and thus continue progression.

And when it comes to sneaking in, the Grinch has to force his way into a house on a regular basis. Occupied by cookie figures or “Chous”, the citizens of Chouville, these dwellings force our hero to sneak towards the exit by crossing the rooms incognito. A gauge at the top of the screen tells us the noise we make while walking and collecting gifts, again scattered throughout the different rooms.

Once this reaches the maximum, or as soon as a resident sees us, a chase begins. Eager to give us a hug, each contact with one of them costs us a life point. Fortunately, there are hiding places where the hunt ends and the suspicion gauge drops drastically. We might therefore think that the adventure, by alternating between these two types of game phase, risks being rhythmic, but this is not the case.

Grumpy and lazy

The Grinch Christmas Adventures test screenshot 17 2

Throughout the fifteen levels that the game contains, a terrible realization is made only after having completed two or three: everything has been seen. Same thing if you simply watched the gameplay trailer released by Bandai Namco. The 2D phases almost continually recycle the same enemies, for example with hanging Christmas socks which function in the same way as spiders. It’s not much more vibrant on the platform, where sometimes you swing from rope to rope, and at certain times trampolines appear. We still welcome the possibility of unlocking additional movements for the Grinch.

By collecting puzzle pieces, it is possible to increase your life points, unlock a double jump, a lasso-grappling hook to climb to hanging points, or even a jetpack which allows you to reach even higher heights. higher. The very small interesting feature is that it is necessary to complete puzzles with the pieces collected earlier in order to have these bonuses.

Between 9 and 25 pieces, the puzzles remain affordable for young people by indicating where to place the pieces thanks to a preview displayed on the screen. Learning these movements offers the possibility of accessing secondary paths where other gifts and puzzle pieces are hidden, if ever reaching 100% is a desired objective. The puzzles also unlock the Christmas costume to properly dress the Grinch for his big misdeed.

When it comes to crossing levels, intrusion into houses is certainly the worst thing to play throughout the game.. The pattern of biscuits or chous doesn’t really give clear signals on how to sneak past them. So, of course, there are quite a few hiding places and we can use the fact that Max does not trigger any alerts to make him retrieve the various collectibles scattered throughout the rooms of the house. But clearly, what happens is that we quickly end up not bothering anymore by wandering around like a nag while escaping the pursuit of the residents. The infiltration is therefore completely missed, and given the number of intrusions into the houses that we play, we end up gasping at each sequence of this kind.

Far from being a gift

The Grinch Christmas Adventures test screenshot 13 3

A game with a classic and repetitive structure would be a little more digestible if we didn’t also feel a lack of polish on several aspects. The Grinch’s rare vocal expressions are made through noises superimposed on each other, and the sounds made by the inhabitants of the houses give a truly disturbing result. The animation of their approach is no more fun, just like that of the use of the lasso, in addition to being quite complicated to understand at the start.

The decorations are not shameful but are often the result of recycling caves or houses, not to mention their overall lack of life and enchantment. And taking into account what we have said so far, let’s add a very small number of music and we realize that there is not much to break the ambient monotony. Only the sliding sequences at the end of the worlds, although not very thrilling, remind us that it is possible to bring variety.

The desire to tell the story of the game in the manner of a tale, using rhymes and repeating the original script almost word for word, could have been fully appreciated. Only these bits of history are almost randomly intertwined between certain levels, without almost ever having a link between these moments of reading and what we do during the courses. The narrator also takes care of the tutorials, always in rhyme, but it is not a constant success, especially when the advice is repeated each time the Grinch passes the level of the zone where it is triggered.

Let us be clear, we do not hide the fact that the game is made to be played by a very young audience, but that does not justify such laziness which results in mortal boredom. History is full of examples where children were able to appreciate and enrich themselves with cultural works without them being made fun of, and particularly in video games. Here, it simply feels like the choice was made to capitalize on a name, cobble together two gameplay loops and clone them for 4-5 hours.

Not the shadow of a little enigma (apart from the rare push buttons), of a game phase decidedly different from another, nor even that of mini-games, which could have had their place within a game like this. And what about this Mirror Mode. Unlockable after having collected all the puzzle pieces, this mode only allows you to go through the entire game in the opposite direction. A perfect definition of artificially boosted lifespan. No different enemies, nor slight variations in platform layout or collectible locations. No one will therefore want to put 4 extra hours into the game. The replayability will also not be made up for by the cooperation, which turns out to be superficial as possible when it could have really given rise to pleasant moments of sharing. At least Max is invincible and a perfect choice for younger kids.