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For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Take snow prisoners

Product: SnowJinks | Developer: Uppercut Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Action, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
SnowJinks iPad, thumbnail 1
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Jack Frost nipping at your nose? Then it’s time to wrap up warm as the the annual avalanche of festive iOS treats arrives, delivered straight down your App Store chimney with seasonal cheer.

Take SnowJinks, for instance - a delightfully Christmasy shooting gallery game that features all the snowballs, winter woollies, and jingle bells your festively-inclined fingers could ever need.

It’s a simple and charming little diversion that sees star Jack (or Jill) patrolling a snow-laden neighbourhood, single-handedly taking on local tearaways in the mother of all snowball fights.

Each progressively more demanding fixed-camera stage presents you with a selection of unruly kids - dotted along rooftops, tucked behind bushes - who are all more than happy to pelt you down with high-velocity snow and ice.

You, meanwhile, are tethered to the foreground and - using intuitive, responsive swipes - can dodge left and right or duck under cover. Lobbing your own chilly missiles back at opponents is simply a matter of prodding them on-screen.

There’s a bit of strategy required, too, with different enemies demanding different tactics. A succession of dodge moves is the only way to avoid ice block-encasing snow streams, for instance, while last-minute lurches are needed to escape super-sized ground-pounding snowballs.

Icy what you did there

As each stage unfolds, coins, chests, and loot bags appear, upping your money stash to spend on quirky new outfits, snowball upgrades, and more effective power-ups between games. These power-ups range from health-replenishing hot chocolate to enemy freezing Ice Time, and even fireballs for extra quick takedowns.

SnowJinks is far from sophisticated, but the satisfying controls, slick Unreal-powered visuals, and surprisingly competent enemy AI combine to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable slice of frenzied, reaction-based, ball-flinging action - and the constant supply of daft cosmetic rewards makes it even more compelling.

There are minor niggles, of course - the game’s series of colourful neighbourhood landscapes are few in number, only serving to underline SnowJinks’s rather repetitive core. It also gets pretty tough, pretty fast - meaning that, despite the game’s kid-friendly charms, it might be too much for the young ‘uns.

Still, as a cheap, cheerful, festive diversion, SnowJinks is great. Its colourful Christmas veneer perfectly captures those wily winter afternoon snow scuffles, and its rewarding, accessible shooting gallery action feels just right. Only an utter grinch would give it a frosty reception.

Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 13 December 2012
A kid-friendly, snowball-infused shooting gallery game that delivers a surprising amount of festive fun given its simple setup
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