Tomten: Santa’s On-the-Job Training Manual

Price: $0.99

Tomten: iPhone App Video Review

Tomten for iPhone

Reviewed by Luke Patrick

It’s that time of the year, again: Once more, the holiday apps begin to roll in, bringing with them a mixed-bag of holiday cheer and occasionally buggy gameplay. That being said, we’re happy to announce that Tomten, by developer Johan Sanneblad, offers an entirely joyous sleigh ride without any of the aforementioned hang-ups. The app is solid, seasonal gold, and if you’re looking for the perfect, Noel-themed physics title to play during your Holiday commutes, this one is a keeper.

Concept and Gameplay

In essence, Tomten straddles the line between physics puzzler for the iPhone and traditional arcade games—with a healthy dose of Christmas thrown in, of course! The app has players driving Santa’s  sleigh across the countryside, bombing the village houses with gifts in an attempt to land them on the chimney. The gifts fall with a particularly frustrating parabolic motion that must be measured carefully to accurately land the presents. Either that or, as we tended to do, the player is free to spam the town with spray-gun style gifts, at the cost of an accuracy bonus.

As much as we loved this gameplay, though, we did have some concerns about the app’s replay potential. We wondered if the mechanic might go stale very quickly, but we were pleasantly surprised to find the developers had included an efficient safeguard. As the player rolls along, Tomten will actually assign goals and missions to the adventure. This could be as simple as delivering 30 presents, or as hard as delivering ten boxes in a row with no drops. Likewise, the addition of waypoints and time bonuses does a lot to keep the arcade element of the application alive and kicking, even after extended play periods.

Design and Controls

v=Tomten for iPhone

Tomten for iPhone

Though we were slightly underwhelmed with the application’s menu design, we certainly can’t knock it for its in-game graphics. Santa and his reindeer are wonderfully illustrated in a hand-drawn fashion that immediately snags our interest. Likewise, the houses are plush and warm, and the animations do a great deal to keep the scenery lively. We also greatly appreciated the simple controls, which involve only two buttons: One to pump Santa’s sleigh back into place, and another to drop presents. This makes Tomten easy to learn, though still incredibly hard to master.

Overall Value

We’ll make this simple: If you’re looking for this year’s Holiday physics game for the iPhone, Tomten is it. The app is a must-have for fans of the genre, as well as fans of the season. And at a smooth dollar in the App Store, there’s no reason not to give Tomten a test drive, especially as it won’t be breaking the bank. All in all, with efficient controls, engaging graphics, and an above average missions system, we have a feeling Tomten will fit perfectly into your App Money stocking.

Tomten for iPhoneTomten requires iOS 4.3 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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