Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Holiday Havoc' Review - Santa Claus is Back in Town

The Holiday season is commonly characterized by crowded stores, gift wrapping, and having Crazy Aunt Suzy over again.  If you can find anytime at all to escape during this busy month, your time will most likely be taken up by a quick-up and play game you found on the App Store. Fortunately, Holiday Havoc, a game that certainly lives up to that description is about to be released.
Holiday Havoc is basically a endless shooting game in the vein of Duck Hunt. You play as Santa, who is determined to stop the evil toys from stealing all of the Christmas presents.  You must save Christmas by using your Snowball gun to freeze these miscreants in their tracks. To shoot you tap exactly where you want the projectile to go, but after shooting about six of them you have to reload. Though the gun does have unlimited ammo it can be easy to forget to reload in the heat of battle.
Various enemies come from either side of the screen and it can be fairly rewarding to take down a whole crowd of them. The only thing that is not rewarding to shoot are elves which give you additional presents which turn into bonus points. If you hit three of these little guys its gameover for you. Your opponents can have various attack styles like fast movement or grouping together in a mass. If an enemy manages to steal a present from the stack you are on top of it is game over as well. The enemy design is great and you can tell the developer took a lot of care in creating these characters.
Amidst the frantic action there are two power-ups that you can pick up that give you special abilities. First is the Snowflake Gun which is a special freeze gun. You tap once to freeze and tap twice to kill. This weapon can be very useful when there are lots of enemies on the screen at once. The Icecube power up slows down all enemies currently on screen. Both last for a maximum of 15 seconds.
The music and pixel graphics are very nice and complement the theme of the game perfectly.
Despite being slow to start with, the action starts picking up around the 40 second mark and gets rather hectic. Also I feel that the game would benefit greatly from some sort of a weapon or upgrade system desigend to get that "one more play" mentality into your head.
Overall, this is a nice Christmas themed shooter that certainly gets you in the spirit of Christmas and in a gift giving mood. Definitely a good buy for those times in-between shopping trips. Look for it on December 1st for 0.99.


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