Cthulhu Saves Christmas Review

Screenshot of Cthulhu, the Snow Maiden and Baba Yaga fighting monsters in Cthulhu Saves Christmas
You definitely get to fight some strange enemies in Cthulhu Saves Christmas

Quick Info
Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
Developer: Zeboyd Digital Entertainment
Publisher: Zeboyd Digital Entertainment
Release Date: 24 Dec 2019
Time played: 3.9 hours

All I Want for Christmas is Cthulhu

Firstly, I'd like to thank my brother for gifting me this game along with In Other Waters, Eville and Underground Blossom. It was very generous of him and best of all, it was gifted to me for Christmas! Cthulhu would be proud, or would he?

Anyway, as the name implies, this game is about Cthulhu saving Christmas. Yes, you read that right, Cthulhu, a cosmic entity of immense power worshipped by cultists and known as "The Great Old One" in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. A deity that when awakened intends on driving humanity insane and taking over the world. Admittedly, I do not really know much about Cthulhu besides playing a few games that make reference to him (including Super Army of Tentacles 3) but playing a game where he has a starring role in a wholesome holiday like Christmas was too good an opportunity to miss.

This isn't the first game I've played by Zeboyd: I've in fact dabbled with Cthulhu Saves the World for a few hours and quite enjoyed what I experienced. Unfortunately, I never finished it but that didn't stop me from wanting to play more from the series. Originally, I thought that Cthulhu Saves Christmas was a sequel to Cthulhu Saves the World but in fact, it's a prequel, so for those looking to get this game, keep that in mind!

Screenshot of the Hot Chocolate Ability in Cthulhu Saves Christmas
Christmas-themed abilities abound

It's Not Christmas Till Some Baddies Die

In this game, you play the role of Cthulhu who has somehow lost his powers. The only way he can get his powers back is if he rescues Santa Claus who has been imprisoned by the League of Christmas Evil. Along the way you'll meet allies that join you on your quest including the Snow Maiden, Belsnickel and Baba Yaga.

The game takes heavy inspiration from JRPGs of the 90s and the game mechanics are very similar to games of this era: you have a party of characters that roam around a map and occasionally you'll come across a random encounter that takes you into a turn-based battle sequence. Your party and the enemies take turns in either attacking, defending or healing. Once all enemies have been defeated, you win the battle, gain experience points which eventually results in your party levelling up and unlocking even more abilities to use. Loot can be found in chests scattered around the map that can give you helpful equipment or items.

I am not normally a fan of JRPGs so my knowledge of any innovations in the genre is limited and I often don't care too much about them to begin with, but I did like the “Unite" abilities in Cthulhu Saves Christmas. These are often devastating attacks combining the powers of two party members and they can be charged up over time to increase their effectiveness. While I was able to pick up on some of the synergies at play in this game (and it was quite satisfying when they caused a lot of damage) I didn't need to get down in the weeds to figure out how everything worked while playing on the easiest difficulty, which suited me just fine: this allowed me to enjoy the best parts of the game which are its characterisation, humour and music.

Screenshot of Town screen in Cthulhu Saves Christmas
In town you can choose who to spend time with at a variety of locations

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

In between missions you'll have the ability to walk to different buildings in town and either talk to local citizens or spend time hanging out with your party members. In terms of tangible benefits, you'll often be rewarded with some new equipment you can use as a result; it also gives you the opportunity to get to know your party members better, similar to chatting with crewmates on the Normandy in Mass Effect. Having Cthulhu as a maniacal, egotistical villain turned anti-hero means conversations are often hilarious involving many awkward conversations where he attempts to keep his fearsome reputation intact. The game is also riddled with puns (especially Christmas-related ones) and breaking of the fourth wall. If you like those old Mel Brooks or ZAZ comedies from the 80s, or adventure games like The Secret of Monkey Island but in a JRPG format, this is it.

Also, the soundtrack to this game rocks. Considering the game is inspired by JRPGs of the 90s it seems only fitting that the soundtrack sounds like it comes from that era too. As you battle you'll be treated to hard rock with wailing guitar solos but unwinding in town is a different story with wholesome, easy listening style tracks along with some funky jazz-like music. My favourite has to be “Carol of the Bels" which sounds similar to Trans-Siberian Orchestra's treatment of this classic Christmas carol.

Screenshot of Cthulhu breaking the fourth wall in Cthulhu Saves Christmas
Cthulhu often breaks the fourth wall with hilarious results


If you like flippant Christmas games with lots of humour, great characters and a rockin' soundtrack then Cthulhu Saves Christmas is for you. It doesn't even matter if you're not really into JRPGs since playing on easiest difficulty will allow even novices to experience the genius of casting a sassy Cthulhu, villain turned anti-hero, sleighing the enemies of Christmas.

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