iPhone Life magazine

The 12 Reviews Of Christmas: A Quick Two-Fer (Day 7)

As Christmas day approaches I find that I have a lot of Christmas games to talk about and not much time to discuss them in. Here’s a quick look at a couple of holiday themed games that I’ve really enjoyed palying. You won’t find any ratings at the end of these reviews, but suffice it to say that I recommend both of them.

 
Uggles CE
 
First up is an old game with a new skin. Uggles is already on my recommended list, and you can read my review of the original here: http://www.technobrains.com/?p=5160. CE stands for Christmas Edition (not Windows CE as I first thought), and as you can imagine it is basically the game of Uggles with a Christmas twist. I will say that either the controls have gotten a bit more sensitive or I just haven’t played it enough lately, because I don’t remember being as bad at the original as I am at this one. On the plus side, Uggles CE has OpenFeint integration (the original didn’t last time I played), and in Easy and Medium modes there are actually arrows showing you which position to put your hands in so that you can catch the Uggles. I actually wish this feature was an option in Hard mode, since I don’t really think it would diminish the “difficult” aspect too much, and it would be great for people like me who apparently aren’t very good at the game.
 
 Look At All My Choices
 
So if I don’t want both versions, how do I pick one over the other? Well, just like Frootrees (regular vs. Halloween) it really boils down to your taste in graphics and music. I like the visuals in Uggles CE better. So far I’ve managed to unlock three Uggles, but I like the default ones so much I haven’t used the new ones yet. The Uggles are just as cute this time around, and while it’s probably used in almost every Christmas game, I’m still a sucker for a good snowfall effect. As for the music, please don’t get me wrong. I love Jingle Bells as much as the next guy, but there are many other lesser used but just as wonderful Christmas songs to choose from. This should have either been some modern remix or a different Christmas song. Fortunately you can turn the sound off, and you won’t miss much without the sound effects.
 
There’s no question about whether you should have a version of Uggles in your collection or not. The real question is which version should you have? If you’re not sure, get them both. Sure the game play is the same, but you can switch between themes whenever you like and it’s still a lot cheaper than most games on any other platform. Personally, if you can handle a Christmas theme all year around, my suggestion is to get the Christmas edition. Pudding will thank you.
 
 
Rudolphs Kick N Fly
 
I have to say this one ended up being a pleasant little surprise. I didn’t know Donut Games was working on a Christmas game, so naturally when I saw this listed in the App Store and saw who the game was from I had to buy it. It’s definitely a Donut Games product!
 
The premise is simple. There are a bunch of trees and ornaments scattered about each level, and you must collect them by launching one of Santa’s helpers at them. To do this you drag your finger to set an angle, and then let go when the power meter is where you think it will have the most impact. When you let go Rudolph will kick the helper and the helper will take flight. The helper will collect every tree and ornament that crosses his path. He can bounce off of clouds and mushrooms to get some extra air time, and he also has a secret weapon. On each level you have to chances to keep Santa’s helper aloft by causing him to fart. Yes, I bought a fart game (though in my defense I didn’t know it at the time). To execute this maneuver simply tap the screen once the helper is in flight.
 
Santa's Helper Has Launched
 
Eventually the helper will run out of momentum, at which point he will either end up face down in the snow or sliding to a stop (or if you’re real lucky, doing a nose dive down a well). Like most of the more action / puzzle oriented Donut Games fare you must collect a certain number of objects to beat the level, and you can earn extra stars by collecting more objects above and beyond the break even point. To date I would say this is the most difficult game I’ve played from these guys. That isn’t necessarily a problem, but unlike most of their games where I feel I can make steady progress, in this one I’ve come to a standstill quite early in the levels. I guess that means I just need to try harder.
 
Graphically the images seem to be a bit smaller than many of their other games, but it still as that 80’s pixel art charm and attention to detail that we know and love. However, the background behind the upper portions of the levels tends to be a bit bland, which is kind of a disappointment. Still, seeing Santa’s helper slide across the ground or watching the little puffs of snow as he falls into the well certainly make up for the lack of scenery. The sound effects aren’t too bad, especially the laugh that Santa’s helper emits. Once again I’m a bit disappointed because there is no music, and music is usually one of the high points of the aesthetics in a Donut Games product.
 
I can’t say this is my favorite Donut Games game, and if you were only to choose one or two of their products I’d go with the likes of Action Hero, Rat On The Run or Spikey’s Bounce Around. Still, if you have an extra buck and change to spare or are a huge fan of Donut Games (which you should be) there’s no reason to pass this one up. It may not be their best work, but it’s still definitely one of the gang.
 
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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.