In the battle of Egg vs. Chicken, fun wins.

There are a lot of thing vs. other thing) games on the App Store. From Plants Vs. Zombies to Pirates Vs. Ninjas, it seems like everyone has to be against everyone else. Couple that with the recent bird craze (both Angry Birds and Tiny Wings come to mind) and you might think a game called Egg Vs. Chicken seems like a bit of a trite “me too” in the App Store. You’d also be completely wrong, and missing one of the more enjoyable and original iPhone games right now.

A weird hybrid of match-three, block drop, slide puzzle and tower defense, Egg Vs. Chicken is actually a two-year old PC game that’s been updated to reflect iPhone’s play style and aesthetics. The goal of the game is to keep the eggs from being defeated by the marauding chickens. In an attack straight from the Angry Birds playbook, the eggs hurl themselves at the chickens to knock them back to their coops.

In order to launch an attack, the eggs must be lined up at the top of their grid on the bottom half of the screen. Any group of three touching like-colored eggs can be launched at the chickens by flicking your finger. If there’s an egg in your way that prevents you from sliding an egg into position, you can double-tap the offending egg to remove it. Finally, there are often obstacles that block your maneuvering the eggs into position, so you’ll have to ensure that you have a clear path without sacrificing too many other eggs for the next attack. Eggs regenerate slowly, so if you’re not careful you could be stuck waiting for more eggs to appear while your hay defenses are pecked into oblivion.

There are several kinds of chickens to defeat. Some simply require more hits to topple, while others sport elemental defenses. Naturally, to counter this, there are a number of elemental eggs like fire, ice and electrical. See a chicken wearing metal armor? Volley some electrical eggs at it. If a big boss chicken comes along, line up a row of rocket-propelled eggs for maximum damage.

It’s this combination of strategy – both in terms of attack and supply of eggs – along with the real time arrangement of these attacks and repairing your defenses that makes Egg Vs. Chicken so much fun. It’s a great combination of intense arcade twitchy action and quick-thinking puzzling. Egg Vs. Chicken definitely has a wonderful, original concept that’s easy to pick up, but can get deep if you want it to.

To make things even more interesting, you’re able to purchase items using the stars you earn when ranked for completing levels. From egg upgrades to mines that can blow up your opponents to repair items, Egg Vs. Chicken allows you to customize your offense and defense in whichever way suits your playing style. More items are unlocked the further you progress, with generous limits on the number of a single item you can buy.

Egg vs. ChickenEgg vs. Chicken

All of this great gameplay comes in a very slick package. Though it doesn’t have the immediate allure of Angry Birds, Egg Vs. Chicken has a charming personality. The graphics are colorful and funny, while the sounds of the birds being pelted by eggs and other weapons is great cartoony fun. The soundtrack, bright and brassy, complements the action perfectly.

The only downsides come in the form of “simply not enough.” The original PC game had a variety of layouts to defend, which changed the gameplay style along the way. In trying to make Egg Vs. Chicken more iPhone friendly, the gameplay is simplified into only shooting the eggs to the top of the screen. While screen real estate is surely a concern for the platform, some sort of alteration to the level design would have prevented Egg Vs. Chicken from starting to get stale near the end.

Unfortunately, that’s a problem too, in that the end comes all too quickly. The 36 attack waves won’t take you too long to finish. Even with Game Center achievements and items to unlock, there’s not a whole lot to go back to.

While it lasts, though, Egg Vs. Chicken is a blast to play. More importantly, it’s wonderful to see developers starting to stretch their legs and mixing up gameplay in new and imaginative ways. You knew this pun was coming: Get cracking on Egg Vs. Chicken today.