Demos are usually never reviewed because they are never the whole package, but Christmas NiGHTS is different. Christmas NiGHTS is a demo of the game NiGHTS into Dreams… that has been revamped and crammed full of yuletide goodness and fun little extras. Besides that, Christmas NiGHTS is one of the only demos, to my knowledge, that is a collector’s item.
Imagine that you’re out with your best friend, shopping for Christmas presents in your town, and something’s fishy about the Christmas tree in the middle of town square. There’s no star at the top! That’s the problem Claris and Elliot, the two main characters of Christmas NiGHTS, face. Randomly on their night on the town, they bump heads and go into a dream state. A mutual figure that appears in their dream, named NiGHTS, helps to resolve this Christmas tree dilemma, helping to get back that star. To view the ending of this tragedy, you must finish both characters’ dreams. It’s odd, but it works for the game.
Christmas NiGHTS has a simple but fun style of gameplay consisting of racing around, collecting ornaments for your Christmas tree, and flying through rings to get a high score. It really doesn’t seem like much, but remember that Pac-Man was also really simple and it ended up being an addictive and challenging game.
As a side note, I suggest getting a 3D controller for the Saturn because of its analog stick; it’ll make loops and maneuvering a lot smoother. It’s still manageable with a regular controller, though.
Along with the basic level play, Christmas NiGHTS gains ton of replay value due to the plethora of unlockables, called presents, to go with the whole theme. They range from image galleries and minigames to trailer clips and even karaoke. You have to unlock these by playing the matching game that comes after completing the playable level and defeating the boss.
When I first started playing Christmas NiGHTS in mid-2003, I was literally amazed. Given the time this game came out, it had top-notch graphics. There’s no slowdown, the colors are vibrant, and the animation is insanely smooth. It is definitely a visual feast to behold. Also, the detail within the levels is a sight to behold, because every pixelated inch of the scenery has a holiday feel.
The only thing I find to be mediocre is the sound. Although the implementation of Christmas music is a nice touch, I think the soundtrack could have had some beefier dynamics with the music; but it doesn’t detract from the game.
If you have access to this or just NiGHTS itself, I suggest that you give it a try. It shouldn’t disappoint with its addictive gameplay and enjoyable theme, unless you’re some sort of Grinch.