Aggressively minded birds aren't particularly in short supply on the App Store, but developer Podotree's latest release Chicken Out! is far from a cheap Rovio clone.
In this tactical grid-based puzzler, you flick a set number chickens at one another until you've knocked all but one bird off the board.
Podotree's Joo Hoan-Soo spoke to us about how his company approached the puzzle genre from a different perspective in Chicken Out!, why the title should appeal to twitch gamers, and how come a flying hen got the boot.
Counting your chickens
So, what makes Chicken Out! stand out in the App Store? Hoan-Soo believes that it's largely down to the fact the game has a distinct and unique personality, which is something many games in the puzzle genre lack.
"Many titles focus on the puzzle logic itself, so there's no room for any characters in the game," Hoan-Soo says. "Chicken Out! has five very unique chickens, though, and they each change the game's playing style significantly."
You have your regular hen, of course, but other types - such as the kung fu chicken - can pull off unique moves such as pushing two chickens in a row off the board in one move.
Utilising each hen's abilities at the correct time is essential to success, but with five different types the game's core concept doesn't become diluted. That number above would actually have been six, had Hoan-Soo not decided to cull a helicopter chicken character from the final version of the game.
"This chicken's special skill was jumping over a chicken in front of him and pushing the one behind it," Hoan-Soo explains. "After testing, we decided that this chicken didn't make the game any more fun, so he was pushed out. But, you can still see him on the main title screen."
Kentricky fried chicken
Chicken Out! may require a fair bit of brainpower to beat, but a lot of effort has been made to make it as accessible as possible - something Hoan-Soo stated was at the forefront of his team's minds during development.
"Chicken Out! is our very first game, so we made sure users can undo all of their moves on the board. This means levels can be easily cleared if need be," Hoan-Soo says.
The development team is so keen that everyone enjoys everything the game has to offer Hoan-Soo is eager to share a tip on how to unlock the game's Arcade mode.
"You have to clear stage 2 in Stage mode to unlock the Arcade mode," Hoan-Soo says. "I tell you this as we really want the users to play the Arcade mode before they delete the game. It's a totally unique experience."
Do you feel clucky?
Chicken Out!'s Arcade mode is almost the exact opposite to the game's Stage mode, which rewards patient and thoughtful play. In comparison, Arcade mode forces you to think fast - and move faster.
"Arcade mode is for competitive and thrill-seeking gamers," Hoan-Soo says. "You have to earn as many points as possible within a very short time, using various items like bombs, hammers, and timers."
The online option helps to elevate the experience, as well. "You can also share your score via Game Center or Facebook to compete with your friends," Hoan-Soo notes. "We wanted gamers who don't normally enjoy puzzle games to have fun with the Arcade mode."
Something to crow about
Podotree has plans to expand upon the generous number of levels in both modes via a future update.
"There will be even more stages added to the Stage mode in the future," Hoan-Soo reveals. "We are also thinking about adding special stages that have only Wrestlers or Kung-Fu Chickens.
"Currently, in Arcade mode there are about 150 puzzles, with the system picking one randomly each time. We need to add more puzzles, because we think there will be hardcore gamers who will memorise every level."
Chicken Out! will be flying the Podotree coop to settle down on some other formats soon, too.
"An iPad version will be released in April," Hoan-Soo states. "An Android version will also be ready by the summer, but there is no plan for it to come to Windows Phone at this time."
Chicken Out! is available on iPhone now, and costs 69p / 99c [iTunes link].
Check out the trailer for Chicken Out! below.