It’s Christmas in Snuggford and Paige is the star in the Christmas play. As luck would have it, she screws up during rehearsal. Therefore, Emily, Patrick and the rest of the family board the Miracle Express to meet Santa Clause and boost Paige’s spirits. Unfortunately, Evelyn doesn’t want to come. Can the family boost Paige’s spirit while finding out why Evelyn is so afraid to board the Miracle Express?
If the plot sounds predictable to you, you couldn’t be more right. This is one of those Santa Clause is real storylines that became very popular in the eighties. Such a subject is very delicate and you need to handle it with tender loving care. In Fables, they did say that Santa’s real and, just like the rest of the characters, he’s a fable. Therefore, in that case, they managed to pull it off. In this one, they do an okay job but it’s not great.
The Miracle Express is, like the Polar Express, a train ride to see Santa. The game, at one point, claims that only believers can power it. However, Patrick and Emily do talk about having the former dress up as Santa in order to give Paige a pep talk. Yet the train carries them to their destination with no problem. Even when people ask why they would want to do such a thing, they still assume that it’s the workers taking the Santa act too seriously.
As I said earlier, the game is predictable and explores every Christmas Special cliché in the book. In one venue, Paige manages to nurse Rudy the reindeer back to health so he can ride at the front of Santa’s sleigh. If you’re wondering who Rudy is, let me give you a hint. He has a big and shiny red nose. Another venue explores the story of a rich and friendless kid who keeps all of his toys for himself. You can bet that Paige befriends him and teaches him how to share. However, I should tell you that, in my opinion, said child’s transformation happens a little too quickly to be believable.
Despite the many clichés, the game does have one shining moment. It claims that Christmas magic can be for anyone at any age. Anyone who’s read the Narnia chronicles knows that, after Prince Caspian, Peter and Susan could no longer visit Narnia. According to Aslan, they’ve become too old and must live out their lives in the real world. This also brings to mind a discussion two people who host a channel called Bad Fanfiction Theater had when reading My Inner Life. They talked about Labyrinth and discussed one thing they loved about it. Despite Sarah maturing at the end, the magic in her life doesn’t leave her. It’s why they love the movie because, in their opinion, if you found a magical place you could no longer be part of when you grew up, it would drive you insane. I have to say that I agree with them. This is why, at the end of the game, when Evelyn starts to believe and wants to ride up front, she claims that you’re never too old for Christmas magic.
The game play is typical of your average Delicious game. You deliver food to customers at tables or at the cash register. In the case of the former, you have to clean the table in order to seat new customers. You have to reach at least one star in order to advance to the next level, but try for three stars if you feel lucky. Each level comes with a mouse you have to catch and a challenge you need to complete for diamonds. Use the diamonds to invite people to Paige’s school play and, this time, Angela’s included. You can also purchase upgrades between levels and unlock new products throughout the game. Don’t forget to collect all of the trophies, if you want an extra challenge.
The game is simplistic and yet fun. I give it 6 out of 10, not the best Christmas themed game but worth checking out.