Christmas Comes To One of My Favorite Imaginary Worlds

There are plenty of inventive places to visit as a gamer, plenty of places to get lost and create your own fiction. But once you ask to be able to fashion the world around you, that list diminishes. Fortunately, what's left is pretty great.

Take for instance Junk Jack, a hard-to-put down digging, crafting and surviving game for the iPhone and iPad that seems to draw from the likes of Minecraft and Terraria. And that the game is viewed from a static side-perspective and features cutesy, blocky little art makes it all the more endearing.

In Junk Jack, you wander the landscape of the flat world tapping away at the ground, the trees, enemies, until they turn to collectible bits of rock, coal, skins, food. As with Minecraft, you can craft combinations of these things into useful items like swords, ladders, torches, doors; the list goes on and on. Unlike Minecraft, though, the game includes a book with recipes. And you can find additional pages as you explore. Among the many things you can craft are different sorts of crafting tables, which allow you to make more complex items by standing in front of them as you build. Eventually, you'll want to build a home for yourself, create a bed as a restore point, a chest to hold your items and doors to keep out the creatures of the night.

A bulk of the game's landscape is below ground, so making a torch, lots of torches, is a high first priority. Because the game is played from that side view, the developers created a two-layer backdrop. Meaning that you can dig down and also back a bit. This means that when you build your house, for instance, it can still have at least a wall that appears behind you in addition to the front and back walls.

With its massive map, constant collecting and desire to build out your house, Junk Jack is a hard game to put down. It also helps that developers Pixbits never seem to stop working on the $3 game. Just recently they released an update that included a massive amount of new enemies, rules, tools, items, bug fixes and, the best part, Christmas. That's right, now Junk Jack has Christmas trees, the ability to decorate them, presents, snow and new snow-themed critters.

If you're looking for a challenging, visually satisfying take on Minecraft on the go, I highly recommend you pick up Junk Jack.

Junk Jack [iTunes]