- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2009

Families can celebrate the upcoming holidays huddled around the Wii in We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Destineer, $19.99).

A collection of about a dozen activities and minigames greets up to four players looking to get into the holiday spirit. The festivities begin with a virtual walk into a large living room containing a barren tree in a stand, a comfy throw rug, a cabinet and fireplace featuring some garland, stockings, wreaths and the obligatory line of nutcrackers.

Simply point and click the Wiimote around the area to enjoy the themed games and activities. For example, keep the fireplace warm by dropping logs in the hearth (pick them up using the controller), toss some magic dust to add color to the flames or roast a virtual marshmallow (twist the Wiimote to cook the sweet treat) and devour it, complete with a gulping sound coming from the Wiimote’s speaker.

The games, which reside as statues atop a cabinet, test wits, memory and dexterity.

Among the six challenges, players will love going elf bowling. Roll a candy ball down an icy lane for a regulation game knocking down Santa’s pointed-eared minions. Or carefully mimic preparing a cup of hot cocoa, including pouring the milk (yep, hold the Wiimote like a bottle and tip to pour) and adding the chocolate and extras such as marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, whipped cream and sprinkles.

I also liked the complexity of the Present Catch game, in which gifts fall from the sky and a player controls an elf wielding a hand trampoline to bounce them into Santa’s bag.

Those bored with the games can go back to the room and write a note to Santa by filling in blanks on a template using an on-screen keyboard (don’t be surprised to get a letter in return), place stickers in a book or decorate the tree by hanging ornaments won in the games along with adding lights (one at a time), garland and toppers.

And what would the holidays be like without some caroling? Click on the radio next to the fireplace and sing along to about a dozen classics, including “Deck the Halls” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

Although the graphics won’t win any awards, it’s hard not to appreciate We Wish You A Merry Christmas just for its low price point and the holiday cheer it spreads.

Joseph Szadkowski’s ROMper Room is a place for children and their parents to escape the world of ultraviolent video games and use that gaming system or computer to actually learn something while having fun. Send e-mail to jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com.

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