Technically this was released last Christmas but it feels every bit as fresh and relevant now as it did then. Media-collage-abusing developer Jack King-Spooner (creator of Dujanah) wishes to share with us the tale of three shepherds on a long winter's night, awoken to share stories gifted to them by the heavens above.
And it all begins with the most grungy, urban retelling of The Little Match Girl that I've ever had the fortune to hear.
You can find Jack King-Spooner's strange little Christmas anthology here on Itch.io. It can run direct in a browser but does have a downloadable version available if you'd rather.
It's only ten or fifteen minutes long, so won't dig too deep into your reserves of free time, and it's well worth a peek. So, what did you think?
Personally, I found it all a bit like being told a deeply depressing story of tragedy and loss by an affable clown, the story somehow retaining its bitter edge despite being told through the medium of hastily improvised balloon animals. Some would describe it as tonal whiplash, but that would require either facet taking precedence over the other for a moment. Not so here - the world-weary tone never wavers, nor the whimsical Scots-tinged narration.
If you've acquired a taste for this particular brand of offbeat storytelling, you'd do well to check out Jack's other works, such as the cheerfully hellish Will You Ever Return series, as well as the sludgy sci-fi haze of the Sluggish Morss. His commercial releases to date are Beeswing, a pseudo-autobiographical short about his own childhood in rural Scotland, and the more recent Dujanah, a middle-eastern tale of mourning painted in lurid, dreamlike tones interspersed with traditional videogame imagery - giant robots, spider-demons and FMV-laden arcade games - to beautifully surreal effect.
Merry Christmas one and all. Stay safe, and may your holidays be equal parts cheerful and weird.