A new take on an old classic!
As it is with the rest of the world, Advent calendars are now going digital. Advent Calendar 2013 is a new take on an old classic. Gone are the wall-mounted winter scenes made of cardboard, with their little perforated doors hiding a piece of candy. This app has reinvented the Christmas wheel.
Right off the bat, I must say that I love the music and the colorful, fun little town which is the setting for the virtual calendar. Strewn across a snow-covered landscape are houses and storefronts decorated with lights and wreaths, singing carolers, a ferris wheel, ice skaters, and a Christmas tree, all under perpetually falling snowflakes and the twinkling northern lights.
As with a traditional advent calendar, each day of December leading up to Christmas, you open (or press in this case) the number that corresponds with the day of the month. The game won’t allow you to open any of them up early, so you don’t need to worry about anyone cheating. When you press on a day, you enter a mini game. Every time you complete one of these, a little wrapped gift pops up, and you open it to reveal your surprise. There are a number of different mini games, and only a few ever repeat.
The mini games are all quite easy, yet understandably so seeing as the app by its very nature is geared towards children. There are a few that are almost too simplistic, but for the most part, they seem to be about the right level of difficulty for the people who will be using the app. And I won’t lie, there were a few that even I found entertaining.
You continue playing the games and earning your rewards each day until Christmas. You can replay the mini games as many times as you like, whether just for fun or to improve your scores. The games are connected to Apple’s Game Center, so you can earn achievements and check your ranking on the leaderboard. You can even share your scores on Facebook or Twitter if you like.
Aesthetically speaking, the entire app is well done. It is nicely animated throughout, from the flashing lights on the buildings to the falling snowflakes. This combined with the festive music gives it a nice Christmas-y feel. It retains the concept and excitement of a traditional Advent calendar by having a game and a surprise reward every day. And the replay value added by having the games connected to the Game Center is not a bad idea either.
There really are only two cons to this app. A few of the games are overly easy. As I mentioned, this may not be a bad thing for the extremely young player, but an older child may not be so enthused by some of them. And the other is that on the last day, there is a reward like on the other days, but after that you’re just kind of done with the app. You can replay previous days’ games to try and improve your scores, but that’s it. Sure, there is no big finale at the end of any other Advent calendar, but I was left wanting some sort of big finish. Maybe Christmas itself is the big finale I’m looking for.
Advent Calendar 2013 does everything your average Advent calendar does. Actually, it does quite a bit more. It may not be the most entertaining app an adult has ever seen, but it’s a good fit for the little ones. So if you want some candy-free holiday entertainment for your kids, Advent Calendar 2013 is the way to go.