Kung Fu Santa in Review – Martial Arts All Dressed In Red

Move over Mr. Miyagi – there’s a new martial arts expert in town and he’s wearing red!  I love BIG BAD Flower (TMA Review), and I have to admit to being a bit skeptical when I saw the screen shots for Kung Fu Santa.  It honestly didn’t seem like a worthy follow-up to the craziness that was BIG BAD Flower.  Well I can assure you that all the craziness is intact, and I would challenge you to try this game and not get addicted.  I should really be writing some other reviews right now, but I’m spending so much time with this game I figured I should tell you about it!

You’d think it was finally time for Santa to quit trusting the elves, because year after year we’re hearing more sad tales of how the little miscreants are mutating and turning on jolly old St. Nick.  In this case they’ve decided to sell all the presents to make a profit, and it’s up to you to get them back and, as always, save Christmas.  What you’ll notice right away is that Kung Fu Santa is like no other elf bashing, gift retrieving game you’ve ever played.  For those who need a comparison, the closest thing that pops into my mind is Donkey Kong Jr., and not only is that stretching it, but that’s probably too old for many of you to remember.

The playing field consists of 3 poles that you can jump between by swiping (or tapping if you prefer, but for some reason I don’t get along real well with the tap method).  A quick swipe will just switch you from one side of the pole to the other, whereas a broader, more pronounced swipe will take you to the next pole – if there is one.  You can also slide up and down the poles by dragging Santa.  Like most touch systems it has its seemingly flaky moments, but it really is quite a responsive system overall.

As presents fall down make sure you’re on the appropriate pole to catch them.  To dispatch elves you can slide down on them from the top or swipe at them from the side.  The basic elves aren’t too challenging, but the jumping elves can get annoying, especially when there are multiple elves on the screen at once.  Besides the elves you’ll encounter gaps in the poles (swipe to a different pole to get around them – you can’t slide up or down over gaps).  You’ll also run across poisonous goo and bombs which have to be avoided in the same manner.  Occasionally you can catch a star that will make you immune to everything for just a bit.

You score points for collecting presents as well as defeating elves, and of course the game is integrated with Game Center so you can compete with your friends on a global leaderboard.  This is my weakness, because I’m actually doing quite well at the moment (number 9 overall), and I need to get a huge score to cement my place for a while before everyone gets better than me.  I’m RustySabre on Game Center, incidentally.

The graphics are fun.  The basic elf reminds me of a mutated Larry Hagman, and I love seeing Santa Claus with a long moustache and goatee instead of a full beard.  The visual sound effects ala the 60’s Batman TV show don’t hurt any, either.  The sound effects are a perfect compliment to the visuals, though I do wish the elves would be a bit more vocal.  The music is quite interesting because it’s not Christmas-y.  I applaud Big Bad Brush for doing something different in that regards, but an optional Christmas type tune would have been nice!

I really don’t know what there is not to like about this game.  It’s certainly “pick up and play” (though it might be challenging to put back down).  It’s easy to grasp yet truly difficult to master.  Above all else, it proves that Santa can get down to business when he needs to without resorting to heavy armaments and Punisher style tactics.  Kung Fu Santa definitely needs to be on your holiday game playing list.

App Summary
Title: Kung Fu Santa Developer: BIG BAD BRUSH inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 3.2
Price: $0.99 App Size: 5.3 MB
  • Highly addictive
  • Fun atmosphere
  • Santa takin’ charge
  • Nasty elves causing problems AGAIN


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