Elf Squad 7 was developed by Stardock. It was released December 2, 2011 for 80 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Developer Stardock is known for its great PC games, but now they made their first venture into XBLIG with Elf Squad 7. This game may be the best replacement for televised holiday specials ever: it’s great for kids, charming, fun, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. While a decent game, it won’t survive the holiday backlog. This game works best as a bridge between Christmas and your new presents; it helps you get in the spirit, but once the season is over you’ll probably put it away for next year.
Here’s what we liked:
Holiday spirit – If one word describes this game, it’s Christmas. Playable elves and reindeer, snowy environments, a plot to ruin Christmas, and gameplay that revolves around wrapping presents. The graphics and music are old-school and pixelated, similar to Scott Pilgrim, which adds a child-like feel to the game. There’s no way you won’t be in the Christmas spirit after playing this game.

Pick up and play – The game’s controls and premise are simple enough for anyone to pick up in a couple minutes. Shoot toys to wrap presents, pick up presents before time runs out. What makes things sweeter is that the game can be played with up to four players, making it very fitting for a holiday party. Things can get really crazy with four people running around to catch presents, but not so crazy it become distracting. The game has three difficulties, each with six unique levels. Each difficulty can be finished in around an hour, but has to be played in a single sitting.

Here’s what we didn’t like:
Pacing – The game starts very slow. You begin with only a basic shot attack, and gathering enough presents in the time limit is a breeze. It takes a few levels, and a few power-ups, before the game becomes more exciting and time becomes an important factor. What’s worse is that the game has no save feature. Although it is a short game, you’ll have to sit through the dull starter levels every time you play. Changing difficulty has some effect, but not enough.

Glitches – This game has so many glitches that take away from the gameplay. The game freezes a lot, usually only for a second but that’s enough to annoy anyone. There are also times where you run into a wall, and it shoots you to the top of it. Although it runs smoothly much of the time, even with four players, a patch is sorely needed.

Elf Squad 7 is definitely a seasonal game; you’d only want to play it this time of year. The basic gameplay is good, and allows for multiple replays with friends and family. This game is meant for Christmas; this game can be played with all ages and it is dripping with holiday cheer. It is rare to see a holiday-themed game on a console, so while not perfect this game fills the void rather well.

Score: Try it! (and have a very happy holiday)