Christmas has come and gone, but there’s still time to celebrate and spread some cheer. SantaCorps is an arcade flight sim and present delivery game by Ethan Redd all about zipping around and giving gifts. Fast and cheerful, it’s this week’s indie pick.
It is the near future, 20XX, and Santa is getting tired. Worn down by how cynical the world is, he hires a team of men and women to don their red suits and deliver presents. They are the Santa Corps. It’s a silly setup for a wild game. In SantaCorps, you zoom your sleigh around a procedurally generated city where the goal is to decorate trees and leap down chimneys to deliver gifts and chomp down cookies. Flying feels like controlling a fighter jet running on energy drinks, and you can skydive into houses with the push of a button. The result is a cheer-fest bonanza of dives, swoops, scurrying, and merriment.
Capturing arcade sensibilities can be tricky, but Redd has it nailed down. His itch.io page lists four qualities behind his design philosophy: bright, loud, fast, and intense. SantaCorps hits these notes with aplomb. Bright neon streaks follow your sleigh, remixed Christmas tunes blast through the gameplay, and goofy interactions like tucking someone into bed or eating cookie create a puff of sparkles. Credit for that awesome audio to Skybridge and Roshi’s Garden. Redd calls his games “SEGAcore,” and insofar as that means capturing the raucous feeling of games like Space Harrier, Rez, and Space Channel 5, SantaCorp does a great job. Pick it up for ten minutes and spread some joy.
You can play SantaCorps on Windows PC and Mac.