Developer: SERIOUS GAMES INTERACTIVE
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Christmas and tower defense: two great tastes that taste great together? Mmmmmmm…maybe not so much. But you have to give developer Serious Games some credit for trying this type of mash-up. Unfortunately, the results smack more of Dudley Moore’s Santa Claus: The Movie than a perennial holiday classic.

If you’re familiar with any tower defense game, you’ll already have a good sense of what this game’s all about, as it rarely deviates from the established pattern. Wave after wave of rebel toys (led by a disturbing-looking anti-Santa robot) attempt to invade Santa’s workshop. The waves come quickly, so it’s up to you to mount defenses like igloo ice cannons, snowmen and even a dreaded turkey launcher (though I think a fruitcake launcher would be more appropriate – and more deadly) to destroy the enemies before they reach your headquarters. As is usual, you can choose to spend the money you make from destroyed enemies on upgrading your established weaponry, or you can add more weapons to the field. It’s the combo of highly upgraded weapons and sheer numbers that will win this war.

You also have at your disposal a unique array of “Santa Powers” that allow you to break the rules of the game every 24 seconds. For example, the Santa’s Boot power damages all enemies on the screen, and Santa’s Piñata gives you special rewards to use in the game. This is a nice touch, but it doesn’t do enough to differentiate Christmas Defense from the wide array of very, very good tower defense games already out there in Apple’s App Store.

Matters aren’t helped by rather bland-looking maps that showcase no real graphical finesse. And some of the enemy character models are well-rendered, but they are also a little disturbing (the giant teddy bear with an “I Hate You” sign hanging around his neck immediately comes to mind). So, if you were thinking this is a kid’s game, think again.

Kudos to the developers for trying an unusual combination; unfortunately, simply combining two concepts doesn’t always create unique or riveting gameplay.


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