It was two weeks before Christmas when all through the house, you could hear me screaming as though I’d seen a mouse. Instead, I jumped in the air while the Grinch gave me a glare. It seemed that from his shiny PS1 case, he could not keep up with my pace. Okay, I could try and fail to make more rhymes, but I don’t want to hurt your eyes anymore, so let me start again by saying it was December 2000, How The Grinch Stole Christmas was in theatres, and The Grinch videogame was in my home.
I have such fond memories of stealing Christmas with the Grinch, so much so that it saddened me when my copy broke, and it became a somewhat rare game to get your hands on. Well, earlier this year I finally managed to make it part of my collection once more, and while Adult me was thoroughly charmed by the nostalgia, the journalist in me can’t deny how bad that game is. No, the fact that it’s a PS1 game isn’t a free pass; the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy VII are still a joy to play in their original form.
So, given my immense love of The Grinch, it’s no surprise that the release of The Grinch: Christmas Adventures helped my heart grow three sizes once more. It’s the modernized version of the 2000 classic, albeit a bit different, and that’s honestly a good thing. So, in the original Grinch game, you still had the end goal of stealing Christmas, but dodgy controls and glitches that see children stuck inside the Grinch ruin things a little bit.
In the 2023 game, all of the naughty and mischievous fun from the first finds itself in a charming platformer where you get to be sly with a stealthy Santa suit. You know what? I used to associate stealth with ninja games and attire, but then I realized something. You never see Santa. The man is just that good at his job, so instead of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, I very much want The Grinch’s Santa outfit for Christmas.
As you journey through each level, you need to, in typical Grinch fashion, steal all the presents from the citizens of Whoville and maybe throw a snowball or two at the pesky carol singers along the way, or any other creature (such as nutcrackers, spiders, and cookies) daft enough to get in the way of the Grinch’s noble cause. Perhaps the cookies are the worst culprit as they, god, give me a moment here. They want to… hug him! Eww, who hugs cookies? Well, I do. They bring great comfort as I eat them, just don’t tell Grinchy that.
Naturally, the Grinch has some dastardly tricks up his sleeve, which you can unlock by collecting puzzle pieces throughout the level and piecing them together. This is how you get those valuable snowballs and the prized double jump that we all know is vital in a platformer such as this. However, I myself am partial to the snowboard. Who would have thought snowboarding around the Grinch’s humble abode would be so fun?
Speaking of which, when did the Grinch go on Flip or Flop? His home is a lot more cozy than it appears to be in the Jim Carrey movie. Don’t get me wrong, in the spirit of the holidays (sorry, Grinchy), I’m happy that the lad is living with a bit of style and comfort these days, and I’m especially happy for Max, who appears to have his own house up in Mount Crumpit. At least, you find him in a completely different living space than the Grinch when you look for him.
It’s imperative that you find his beloved pooch, too, for Max is the only one who can lead the way forward in some cases. Oh, and you can even have your player two jump in to play as the dog while you play as the Christmas-hating green man. Granted, the game isn’t long, but it’s a perfect way to spend some time together this holiday season. The second the book opens and the narrator starts speaking, you might just find yourself thrown back to being a kid once more.
The Grinch: Christmas Adventures is some silly holiday fun. The skills are fun to use, the world is adorable in the Dr. Seuss way, you can throw snowballs at those Who’s who are just too cheery, and the Grinch has an endearing run that reminds me of Jack Sparrow. The holidays are about being jovial, right? So go on a journey with the Grinch this Christmas. Perhaps your heart will grow a few sizes, too.