If the sound of a pre-pubescent Aled Jones singing Walking in the Air evokes Christmas for you, then this new app will be a must-have.
The classic 1982 The Snowman has been a Christmas staple ever since Channel 4 first broadcast the 26-minute animation film, which was based on the 1978 story by Raymond Briggs.
This year, The Snowman is getting a makeover, receiving what programmers describe as a “fresh, not identical” remake. The original theme song, which was actually sung by Peter Auty but made famous by Jones’ cover version, is expected to be replaced.
It means parents who have grown up watching the story of the snowman who flies a little boy to the North Pole on Christmas Eve will be able to share the new version with their own children.
But, if you can’t quite wait for Christmas television schedule, Channel 4 is releasing a snowy blast from the past in app form. Called The Snowman and The Snowdog, the game is free for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Designed to be as heart-warming and relaxing as the film itself, it’s not for you if you like frantic, action games.
With a snow dog as an extra character in the new animation, the app follows the Snowman and the Snowdog in their bid to get to the North Pole. You explore a winter wonderland landscape on the way, including swooping over key London landmarks like the London Eye and The Gerkin. To keep your characters moving, you have to pick up snowflakes along the way, but really the game is all about the music from the movie by IIan Eshkeri, and enjoying the pretty graphics, which are rendered in the same beautiful hand-drawn style as the film.
There are lots of collectable items you can stop off for, including jigsaw pieces and Christmas fairies or you can simply concentrate on the task in hand and take the snowy heroes straight to the North Pole.
Produced by Crash Lab, the game is available through the Google Play store.
It has already won impressive reviews from critics, including Raymong Briggs who called it “Triffic!”.
Forum user Jason Anderson gave it five stars, saying: “Wow, what a beautiful app. Very well-developed and executed Got to be one of the top 10 apps.” Mark Stephenson says: “A really gentle game. This is a family friendly game. It’s slow paced with beautiful graphics.” And David Birdsey adds: “Great fun! I love the graphics and music. I can’t wait to see the new film now!”
And, while The Snowman and The Snowdog was clearly designed with kids in mind, it obviously has adults in its thrall to, with many admitting it has become a guilty pleasure. Richard Munn says: “Kinda embarrassing that I just spent the last hour playing this – beautifully addictive!”
If your little ones have tablets on their list to Santa, this will be a nice, free, festive game to get them started. As its makers put it: “The Snowman and the Snowdog is the perfect game for your children this Christmas.”