Hey, Angry Birds Fans: Check Out This App!

In a quest for new content for my iPad 2 (s aapl), I came across Chicken Balls HD today. It’s a new physics-based puzzle game for the iPad (any generation) that combines elements of two successful iOS gaming predecessors in one fun (and frustrating) new package.

It’s clear that Chicken Balls HD developer Endlooop Studios had Angry Birds in mind when it created the game. The main character is a spherical chicken named Crash that you launch via a jeep-mounted, slingshot-type weapon in order to free captive baby chicks who’ve been abducted by aliens. So for those keeping score, you’ve got birds, you got slinging, and you’ve got abduction in common between the two titles.

But Chicken Balls HD is no simple clone. It’s apparent from the start screen that the developers behind this game took a lot of time with the visual style of the graphics, and playing beyond the first few levels reveals that gameplay goes beyond the Angry Birds formula of just smashing things.

Visually, as I say, Chicken Balls is quite distinct. It sort of resembles Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii, if there are any console gamers out there. Characters, scenery and objects all look as though they were cut out of fabric or materials and affixed to the backdrop. It’s an appealing look, and it carries over the game’s general UI, too. I especially love how you can use iOS’ pinch-to-zoom function to get a closer look at the finer details of the level and character designs.

Five levels in, you’ll be able to activate “Farmageddon!” mode, which lets you activate a scoring bonus that fills the screen with falling farm animals. It’s a frenzy that will have you furiously tapping away at your iPad’s screen amid visual chaos to try to rack up the highest score possible. It takes skill to activate “Farmaggedon!”, especially in later levels, so don’t go thinking it’s easy after a few early successes.

It’s not long before gameplay becomes even more interesting with the addition of pinball-like bumpers and obstacles that bring a distinctive Peggle-like feel to Chicken Balls. It definitely adds a greater degree of difficulty and, in fact, you should probably prepare yourself for a bit of frustration. But it’s the kind of frustration that will have you coming back for more. Tossing Crash into a maze of pegs that send him bouncing around at crazy angles adds an element of absolute chaos that Angry Birds doesn’t provide.

Chicken Balls HD is now available in the App Store for a limited time launch price of $2.99. It currently boasts two separate level packs with 50 levels in total, and Endloop promises to deliver more periodically as well as GameCenter support and other new features. There’s also an iPhone version on the way, though it’ll be a separate purchase, not a universal app. If you’re looking for a new gaming fix for your iPad, Chicken Balls HD definitely provides.