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Review: Christmas Shaft
Christmas Shaft is a very simple game - your movement is restricted to left and right, and there are no other controls. Your objective is to fall down a shaft for as long as possible, without either falling off the bottom of the screen or colliding with the spikes at the top. Platforms are provided for you to stand on, but there's another twist that makes it even more dificult - there are two different varieties of them. Red platforms drain your health, while blue ones restore it.
That's all there is to the game, but as I've said before it's often the simplest of ideas that work. This is definitely the case here - in the title of "biggest office timewaster" we may have a Christmassy rival to Minesweeper in this game. There is no end as such - you just have to survive for as long as possible before dying in some way (which involves some inappropriate gore if you ask me, but it's nothing too serious). Comments are provided at the right hand side of the screen to encourage and distract you.
A "Hard" mode is provided, where the depth increases faster and the platforms also move more quickly. A good way to increase the longevity.
The graphics are very well drawn, there's evidence of the "touching up" applied to the game before its release. Particularly the Santa object and the ice on the platforms look very good indeed. As for music, it's a medley of Christmas songs, which suits the theme very well.
Thanks to some clever mechanics explained in the Readme file, the game is always made possible - there is never a shortage of blue platforms. However, it contains the strange "bug" that you can guide Santa off the side of the screen. There's no reason why you would ever want to, though, so it's fairly minor.
One other bug I found was that if you clip a platform on the way past after dropping off it, it still affects your health. This can be used to your advantage if you use this trick on a blue platform.
However, it's one of those games that initially seem very shallow, but will keep you coming back to beat your high score. Very worthy of third place in the competition.
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David Newton (DavidN)