Holiday Havoc by Underground Pixel icon

Holiday Havoc ($0.99) by Underground Pixel is a fun little gem to get you into the holiday spirit. I mean, it’s already December (where has the time gone?), and it’s only a mere three weeks until Christmas, so there’s no better time than now to have a little fun with Santa.

I’m a fan of the games from Underground Pixel, because they specialize in the retro 8-bit look that takes me back to the golden days of gaming. Pastry Panic became one of my go-to games for a quick way to kill a few minutes, and Holiday Havoc will do the same for this month (and maybe even longer). You will find NES-inspired vintage graphics that are fully optimized for Retina iPhones, as well as a catchy, holiday chiptune. I mean, really, what more do you need to get into the holiday spirit than some great chiptunes to fit the season?

Holiday Havoc by Underground Pixel screenshot

So here we have Santa, who is in his workshop at the North Pole, when suddenly, the evil toys come to life and threaten Christmas by stealing all of the presents. Your job is to help him shoot them down with the Snowblaster 5000 before Christmas is ruined this year.

The game is pretty simple, but there is a “How to Play” screen for first-timers. Basically, as the evil toys come on the screen (the nutcrackers and scary looking teddy bears), tap on them to shoot a snowball at them. Watch out for the elves carrying presents to the gift pile, though. Your Snowblaster 5000 can only hold six snowballs at a time, and you will need to reload after firing the six. However, don’t reload before the six snowballs are used up, or you will face a five point penalty. On occasion, power-ups will drop, and if you manage to collect them, you’ll get a nice boost in your onslaught against misfit toys.

Holiday Havoc starts off pretty slow, but don’t let that fool you. Once you start racking up some points, enemies will appear faster and things become hectic as you try to shoot them all down while avoiding elves, and also keeping an eye on your snowball levels. The game ends once an enemy escapes with a present or you shoot three elves.

This is quick and dirty gameplay that will satisfy any itch to pass some time, and that’s why I love Underground Pixel’s games. To satisfy your competitive edge, Game Center is integrated for global leaderboards, and there are 10 achievements to obtain.

Holiday Havoc by Underground Pixel screenshot

I’m definitely enjoying this game in time for the holiday season, but I would like to see optimization for the iPhone 5 screen in the future. It is currently in the letterboxed state. I also encountered a glitch while trying to view Game Center from within the game, though I’m not sure what caused it. However, a force quit and restart of the game fixed it. I had no problems during actual gameplay, though, so don’t worry about that.

If you are looking for a casual game to get you in the holiday spirit, then look no further than some Holiday Havoc. You can get the snowball blasting fun for your iPhone for only $0.99 in the App Store.