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iPhone App Video Review: Santa's Giftship

by Andrew Koziara

Many games get Christmas themed makeovers around the holidays, but few get full Christmas themed homage titles released. Santa's Giftship from Code-Monkeys takes the basic concept of surprise hit, Zombie Gunship, and adds a lot of holiday cheer to the formula. And yes, it is an homage and not a rip-off, as they talk about Zombie Gunship within the app itself. It's not a bad game, but it's also very bare bones and fails to capture the frantic fun of the title it's imitating.

Rather than save civilians from zombies and protect a bunker, you're saving elves from… *sigh* From protesters that are "Occupying the North Pole." How very topical.  Rather than a gunner on an orbiting AC-130 gunship, you play as an Elf on an orbiting Santa's sleigh. The machine gun now shoots candy canes, the medium sized cannon now shoots explosive snowballs, and the large cannon shoots giant lump-of-coal bombs. Once you accidentally kill four elves, or let the protesters reach the workshop, it's game over. At least in this game the protesters aren't trying to eat the elves alive… though that could be interesting?

Some aspects of the original game are totally left out here. The camera seems to scroll much slower for example. Santa's workshop is sitting in the middle of the map, so the terrain doesn't really play into your strategy. There is no currency or upgrading system to speak of, which really takes away a lot of the depth and replay-ability from the original. OpenFeint Leaderboards are supported though.I really like this concept.

The very basic and colorful graphics look nice. The soundtrack kind of gets on my nerves, but that might just be me. The voices of the elves and protesters make them sound like Foamy the Squirrel. The game is iOS Unviersal and only costs one dollar, but it's just too weak as it is for me to recommend. It was very obviously rushed out for the holidays. If the concept alone is enough to pique your curiosity, feel free to download it. Just don't expect too much from it.

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