To get myself in the mood for Santa Hills Pro, I devoured several mince pies and slurped a cup of cranberry tea. I’m not entirely sure if they enhanced the gaming experience, but they were certainly delicious.
Santa Hills Pro is one of thousands of Christmas apps on the App Store (seriously, search for “Santa” or “Christmas” – it’s insane), but is it any good? That’s what I’m here to tell you, man.
If you’re familiar with the likes of Tiny Wings, Dragon, Fly! or Moon Chaser, you’ll immediately feel at home with Santa Hills Pro. It’s almost identical. For those of you unfamiliar with said games, allow me to explain.
You control a little character (Santa, in this case), and automatically move to the right across a series of hills in a side-scrolling fashion. With a tap of the screen you adjust not your velocity nor your direction but gravity. Yep, gravity is the key.
Essentially you want to apply gravity when Santa is heading downhill, in order to increase your speed. If Santa’s heading uphill when you tap the screen, he’ll grind to a near halt.
Build up enough speed, and you’ll launch into the air at the top of your next uphill run. If you’d rather not fly, you can always apply gravity near the peak to keep Santa grounded. You might want to do so if there are presents on the other side of the hill, for example.
While in the air, you’ll want to aim for a downhill landing. This means you can keep your momentum going and hopefully land another huge jump before long. On the other hand, if you hit an uphill slope when you return to earth, Santa will groan and slow significantly. Bah.
If the sun comes out, it’s Game Over. You can keep the sun at bay with little collectables, and by generally going really fast and stuff.
And that’s how Santa Hills Pro works. Again, it’s almost identical to the aforementioned games. In fact, it’s really just a re-skinned Tiny Bee, Nurogames’ other gravity-based scrolling thingy.
In terms of game modes, we’ve got the pointless Endless Mode, which removes the time restriction, and 10 levels in Story Mode (Easy, Normal or Hard).
Santa Hills Pro is fine. Perhaps even good. But it’s seasonal, so you’re not going to want to play it come January, and even now the Christmas music grates. But maybe that’s just me.
Right, I’m off to eat more mince pies.
- 10 levels
- Two game modes
- 12 achievements
- Not exactly original
- Very samey
Summary: Santa Hills Pro is a fairly bog standard side-scrolling gravity game, and handicapped by the fact that you’re only going to want to play it around Christmas time.
Requires: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0.1 or later.
Price: 69p @ App Store
(Also available for 99p on the Android Market as Tiny Santa – Xmas Hills Pro)