New Elf Bowling iPhone Game Is Instant Hit – Top 50 Sports Overnight

Fayetteville, North Carolina – New iOS game studio, Catharsis Labs, jumped onto the scene this December with their first effort, Santa Strike, which went live on December 11, 2010 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The app went live at midnight, instantly moving up the charts, eventually settling into the top 300 overall, and reaching as high as 32 in the sports category, and 66 in the very competitive arcade category.

This is an impressive start for a game that had very little PR or major marketing push going into its release. “We didn’t really have the time or budget to hire a PR agency, and no one really knows who we are, so we went with the grassroots approach,” said Catharsis co-founder Nathan Hangen. “Our friends and family came in big for us.”

There are nearly 50,000 games in the Apple app store, with 900 being added this month alone. They’re spread out across 19 categories, the two most competitive being the Arcade and Action categories; they have been dominated by Angry Birds over the past several months.

When asked about the app’s early success, Catharsis co-founder Nathan Hangen offered said he was “cautiously optimistic.” “We spent weeks working 16 hour days, building, designing, and testing this game, so we’re really, really happy to see it get off to such a good start. That being said, we’ve still got a lot of work to do if we really want to make a dent in the marketplace.”

Many of the top spots in the app store have been dominated by studios with large budgets and reputations, which is why seeing Santa Strike achieve such gains upon its is such a notable achievement, especially as Catharsis’ debut release.

“We’re new to this environment, but we’re trying to learn quickly. We’ve already been watching the reviews to see what we can do to improve the game for its next update this week. We expect to keep delivering, and we really appreciate the support.”

Mr. Hangen, a former US Army Soldier, said they got the idea when discussing Elf Bowling, which appeared on the web in 1999 as a Flash game. It became so successful that it spawned nearly 10 sequels and a movie of its own.

Apple seems to have noticed the game’s popularity, as they’ve already featured Santa Strike in the New and Noteworthy section for the Sports category. When asked how he planned to capitalize on their early momentum, Mr. Hangen noted that he was currently looking for a blog willing to host an exclusive Christmas giveaway.

“We’d love to give away 50-100 copies of the game this year. We’re just waiting for the right opportunity.”

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 4.0 or later
* 16.5 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Santa Strike 1.0 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.

Nathan Hangen
Santa Strike 1.0
Purchase and Download
Screenshot (Rankings)
App Icon

Catharsis is an indie game maker for iOS devices and Mac OS X. Founded in 2010 by Nathan Hangen and Shawn Christenson, they debuted Santa Strike, their first full release. Copyright (C) 2010 Catharsis Labs. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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