GBA Platformer Course for Santa fetishists:

Santa Claus Jr.  (GBA)

What I want to say first is that I don't like this game very much.
There are many reasons why I don't like this game, but the art is very cartoonish and feels cheap. (See right image)
I even went out of my way to get the Asian version.
Asian version is ideal, because it uses a Santa Claus with a realistic depiction on the box art.
The title doesn't have the word "Jr." in it, but what's in it is a genuine "Santa Claus Jr".
There's no backup function, so you can't save the game, but you can choose all the levels from the beginning instead.
So let's get started.

Nick, the boy who becomes the main hero, suddenly receives a request from Santa Claus.
An evil wizard has put a curse on Christmas gift toys, and it seems that many frightened children have gone into hiding.
Santa wants you to help him find the children and give them their gifts in time, so you'll have to help him.
Well, that's how the game starts.
The game consists of only 2D platformer. You have infinite continues.

Western games on the GBA are notable for titles that have a lot of unnecessary levels and are easy to be boring.
It's not uncommon for levels with 5 or 6 different backgrounds to be repeated over and over again.
In that sense, this title has 12 different backgrounds, so it's not so bad.
However, it's "total of 36 levels" with three levels per 1 type of background!
So it's huge for 2D platformer to be played in a short amount of time during the Christmas season.

This game has practice levels apart from 36 levels of the main game.
In practice levels, the buttons to be pressed are shown on the map, so that even those who bought a cart only can learn how to control the main hero in one step.
So I'm not going to explain the controls.
However, there are some subtleties that you may not be able to understand in practice levels, which I'll explain later (as cons).

There are levels where you can ride the train to advance, too. However, after progressing through the game so far, will you feel like you're playing a Christmas game?
The backgrounds themselves don't give you much of a Christmas feel.
Of course, it ’s also because of the cartoon-like art, but I think the lack of Christmas-like objects is the reason why the game feels like a very ordinary platformer.
This is one of the reasons why I don't like this game personally.

Looking the background around here, it seems slightly warm with the light leaking from the room, and in contrast to that, the cold outside with the snow falling, reminding me of "Oh, it's December".
There are balloons floating in the air. If you bounce on it, you can jump higher.
However! If you don't press the A button the moment you land on the balloon, you can't bounce on it.
And the fact that those bouncing height is different every time makes it all the more frustrating.
There are scenes where a failed balloon jump causes you to fall into damage traps!

This level is a unique one with a roller coaster-like slide.
It seems rather incongruous that there is such a thing in the city.

An additional explanation should be given in that the jump height is different every time.
Suppose you jump from the platform that is moving up and down.
If you jump while the platform is going up, you will jump higher than the normal jump.
But if you jump while the platform is going down, you will jump lower than the normal jump.

It's weird, isn't it? The same is true for jumping from a pendulum platform, where the jumping distance doesn't increase and you fall  and say, "Why?!".
But it's possible to avoid those kinds of mistakes. If it's a pendulum platform, you have to jump just before swinging off, and if it's a vertical shift platform, you have to jump just before going up.
But I want to say, "Why we have do that?"

The light bulb in this level is a nice feeling. (The screenshot on the left)
The most difficult point of the game is that you can't often do the second jump, as you may have noticed in practice levels.
Most of the time, it's enough to hold down the B button and jump, but this is a major frustration because it's an essential action when you need to find children and bonus levels.
The second A button has to be a split second after you reach the highest point of the jump.
It would be useless if pressing the A button during the descent of a jump or hitting the A button twice in a row.
In short, it is that the timings are severe, but there's no need to be severe, right, in a Christmas game like this.

From here, you can see surreal backgrounds that I'm not sure where.
The group of levels I mentioned earlier was a graveyard, and thought, "Why a graveyard on Christmas?".
On the other hand, the difficulty becomes high, with scene after scene of "If you fall, you die instantly". And you've already known cons of the control of the game, right?
The realization that the more you play with inertia, the more frustrating it becomes.
The aerial controls are outstanding, though!

Here is a group of levels consist of moving spiked platforms and floating traps.
The reason I'm featuring this game, even though I don't like this game, is because this game is a serious 2D platformer.
It's the most challenging of all GBA Xmas platformers for the Santa fetishists.
And that includes the challenging elements I'll discuss below. Out of respect for it.
But we have to play a serious platformer for Xmas season? Hmm...

Finally, here's the twelfth and final levels with a background that's very similar to the one in the previous levels.
If you get the item with a bat symbol, you'll be able to fly away with your fairy, but in this level, there are only spikes walls, so you'll have to make adjustments, such as hitting the A button slowly and repeatedly to get through the spikes.

Final Boss: The Witch

There is a snowball on the foothold where you can go by jumping two steps, so you may think you can defeat the boss with it, but actually you have to step on him.
If you throw a snowball, the boss will escape to the top, so you have to chase him.
To do so, you'll have to climb around the map to the right, and the actions you'll need to do there are the Balloon Jump and the Jump from pendulum platform.
Don't worry. It's over now (lol).
In the save slot where you beat the final boss, you'll be able to make a level select.
As for the hand display:
If you simply completed the level, it's "open hand" status.
If you can find all the kids, it's in "thumbs down" status.
If you can completed within a certain time, it's in "thumbs up" status.
Just like the bonus levels, the time limit is severe!
The reward is a soundtrack.

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