Everyone has heard of Santa Claus and generally knows his story - toys for the kids on the nice list, and coal for the kids on the naughty list. But do you know the story of Krampus? He’s kind of a dark Santa Claus - or as some people call him, the anti-Claus. Originating in Europe, the story of Krampus tells of a half-goat, half-demon monster that comes during the Christmas season to punish bad children. In many countries, he is actually a companion of St. Nicholas, and the two visit homes together to either give gifts or give punishments depending on the children’s behaviour. In older stories, sometimes Krampus would take children away in a sack for their punishment, but often he is now used just as the one who brings coal instead of toys and sweets.
It’s a bit strange to think about Santa Claus as a character in video games, but what about Krampus? As a half-demon entity that has some pretty scary stories about him, it’s not a far stretch to imagine him as a video game monster. While it hasn’t been a common trend, Krampus actually has made a few appearances in games over the years! Usually, he comes as part of a Yuletide event for the season, but in some games, he is a regular monster to face. So if you’re a part of the growing interest in the Krampus story or just interested in seeing a darker side of Christmas in your video games this season, we have made a list of the Top 6 Games with Krampus for you!
- System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, OS X, Linux, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Re-Logic, 505 Games, Merge Games, Headup Games, ak tronic Software & Services GmbH, Chunsoft, 505 Mobile S.r.l
- Developer: Re-Logic, Pipeworks Studio, Codeglue, Engine Software, 505 Mobile S.r.l
- Release Dates: May 22nd, 2011
Terraria is an action-adventure sandbox game similar to well-known Minecraft. It lets you play through exploration, mining, creation, and combat in a 2D environment that is generated automatically by algorithms. Terraria’s graphics look a lot like the Super NES, using all 2D sprites. The player advanced by collecting raw materials to be crafted into what they need. You can find these materials through exploring and mining, as well as by defeating enemies. These enemies show up according to location, time, and players meeting certain objectives to summon them. Eventually, NPCs can also be recruited to live in the spaces you build and help you.
Krampus is a somewhat rare monster that can be encountered in Terraria. He only shows up if you play on hard mode, and only then after you have defeated the boss Plantera (which can also only be fought after defeating a series of other enemies). Krampus also only comes during the Frost Moon event, which can be started by opening the Naughty Present item at night and lasts only until morning. The Frost Moon event is Christmas themed but can be activated any time during the year. In Terraria, Krampus takes on his usual goat-demon form complete with horns and a long tongue. He can be defeated to earn event points.
- System: Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Kingsisle Entertainment
- Developer: Kingsisle Entertainment
- Release Dates: Sep. 2nd, 2008
Wizard101 is an MMORPG where players take on the role of a witch or wizard studying magic. The game takes place in the Spiral, which has multiple areas within it. Each of these areas can be accessed either temporarily or permanently based on gameplay and what players are willing to pay. The over-arching plot of Wizard101 is that the Spiral is in danger, and you have to team up with other players to save it. Combat is done in a turn-based fashion in duels, with teams of one to four players fighting either other gamers or computer enemies. Damage is done by spells, and each player chooses at the start of the game which school of magic they are going to learn, which determines their spell inventory.
Krampus appears in Wizard101 only during the Yuletide event. He is a boss located in the Krampusgarten, which can only be accessed by using a gold skeleton key. There are three ranks of Krampus that appear in the game, each one getting progressively harder. Krampus looks like a black, bipedal goat with huge horns, wielding a demon stick and wearing belts with jingle bells. Krampus often calls the players “naughty” during the battle, and can also cast a steal charm to take all charms from players claiming them as “gifts” for himself. His pet is also a lump of coal. Wizard101 Krampus does a good job of combining both original Krampus lore with other Santa Claus stories.
4. Don’t Starve
- System: Android, iOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox One
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Developer: Klei Entertainment
- Release Dates: Apr. 23rd, 2013
Don’t Starve is an open world survival game. You play as Wilson, a scientist dropped into a dark and mysterious world after he made a strange machine following instructions on his radio. In this world, he only has one clear goal - survive. To keep Wilson alive, you have to keep him fed, healthy, and mentally stable. That isn’t easy when the world is full of monsters and other psychological terrors trying to eat him! There are also plenty of other characters with superhuman abilities in the area that are very dangerous. Meanwhile, Wilson’s only ability is to grow a beard that keeps him warmer in winter but makes him overheat in summer. Good luck staying alive!
Krampus only shows up in Don’t Starve when you kill innocent creatures, though you’re likely to do this for food eventually. Kill enough of these animals and Krampus will appear when your “naughtiness” level is high enough! Krampus is actually a neutral monster in Don’t Starve, but be careful because we will steal items from your inventory as well as anything left around on the ground. And he will still attack with high melee damage himself sometimes, and his speed makes him hard to kill. He has the appearance of a red-skinned, goat-like creature, walking on two legs with a huge sack slung over his back. The longer you play the game, the more Krampi that can spawn at one time, and they won’t disappear until they’ve taken all the items that they can!
3. The Binding of Isaac
- System: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
- Publisher: Edmund McMillen
- Developer: Edmund McMillen
- Release Dates: Sep. 28th, 2011
The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike video game inspired on the Biblical story of the same name. In the story, God tells Isaac’s mother that she has to sacrifice him to prove her faith. He and his mother have always lived a simple life, with Isaac playing with toys and drawing pictures while his mother watches Christian television. Everything changes when his mother starts to hear the ”voice from above,” though, and she starts to take everything Isaac loves away and locking him in his room. Before she can follow the final command to kill him, Isaac escapes through a trap door in his floor into the monster-infested basement and finds himself still having to fight for his life.
The Binding of Isaac has a lot of religious themes and questions in it born out of the writer’s own questions with the Catholic faith and his born-again Christian family. This religious atmosphere is actually what gives Krampus a place in the story, weirdly enough. He only shows up as a surprise boss in a room that the player normally makes a deal with the devil. Instead, if Krampus appears, you have to fight him. When defeated, Krampus leaves behind a lump of coal. The first time you fight him, he also unlocks a crazy weapon - Krampus’ own head! He takes the appearance of a floating devil with horns, fangs, and wings, but the lump of coal binds him back to the Christmas story of Santa Claus. Originally appearing in the Christmas update for the game, Krampus has a 10% chance of appearing in a Devil Room.
2. Killing Floor 2
- System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
- Developer: Tripwire Interactive
- Release Dates: Nov. 18th, 2016
Killing Floor 2 is a first-person shooter game and a direct sequel to Killing Floor. Military clones have spread unchecked across Europe, collapsing governments and communications networks and spreading chaos and violence. These clones, called Zeds, attack the player in waves until eventually there is a boss fight. Killing Floor 2 is all about doing this kind of gameplay in different stages, either alone or with up to six other people. The more players there are, the more Zeds will spawn. There is also a player vs player mode that lets you fight other gamers instead of just the computer.
Krampus is actually a new addition to Killing Floor 2. Seasonally appropriate, he was added in the December 2017 “Twisted Christmas” update for the game. Not only was Krampus himself added, but his whole lair was added as a stage to play in! It’s a lumberyard, factory, and prison all rolled into one. In Krampus’ Lair, you have to fight your way through everything to reach his lair where he keeps the Naughty List. Krampus himself serves as a boss, and when the Twisted Christmas event was happening, there were several special objectives such as smashing his trinkets to earn extra experience. Beware not only Krampus, who is a huge, armoured monster with an axe, but be careful of his wood chipper trap, too!
- System: Arcade
- Publisher: Midway Games
- Developer: Midway Games, Atari Games
- Release Dates: Oct. 31st, 1998
CarnEvil is a rail shooter game that was popular in arcades. As a rail shooter, it takes you through the various levels automatically, allowing you to shoot at enemies. Set in Iowa, it follows an urban legend that if a golden coin is inserted into the mouth of a jester on the grave of a ringmaster at the cemetery, a haunted amusement park will be revealed. The unnamed protagonist you step into the shoes of does just this while on a hayride in the cemetery, and the amusement park does indeed appear. The park is anything but fun, though, and is full of undead monsters! The protagonist takes a rifle from the shooting gallery, using it to try to escape from the amusement park.
CarnEvil is known for being full of graphic, realistic violence. The game is very bloody, and coupled with the scary setting, is an adrenaline rush to play. Amongst all of the other monsters and undead that you face in the game likes Krampus. He served as a boss in CarnEvil to complete the Rickety Town level, taking the appearance of a much more terrifying Santa Claus. He has huge antlers and pine tree claws, and attacks by throwing lumps of burning coal or hitting the player with his giant sack. Krampus also only speaks German, adding to the oddly terrifying aesthetic of the ordeal. He must be defeated to progress in the game, serving an important purpose in CarnEvil.
While Krampus doesn’t have his own complete game yet, he can be found in the world of video games if you look hard enough. Whether he’s a big boss battle or just a monster to kill, Krampus has left his impression in the world of gaming as well. So if you’re looking to see what you might face if you’ve found yourself on the naughty list this year (you know who you are), be sure to check out at least one of these titles if you can get a chance to play them! Hopefully, Krampus will continue to show up in Christmas updates and full games more in the future, too, as we become more interested in this interesting twist on the usual Western Christmas story.
Have you played any games with Krampus in them? Would you like to see him used even more in video games? Are you going to try to play one of these this holiday season now? Do you think Krampus has a place in video games at all? Let us know all your comments below!