Drop The Chicken is fun and addictive, but it also feels like something we’ve played countless times before

If anyone doubts the influence the likes of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope have had on casual games, five minutes play on Drop the Chicken should be enough to convince them.

That’s not because it’s a crude clone in any shape or form, even though physics have a massive role to play here. But, rather, this is a game that mirrors the aforementioned Chillingo-published classics in keys areas; in their structure, in their design, and in their sheer addictiveness.

The concept, as in all physics puzzlers, is really rather simple. The idea is to guide a fluffy yellow chicken from a plank at the top of the screen to a basket at the bottom, feeding him as you go by steering him into the path of a number of green bugs hovering about each stage.

Like Cut the Rope, however, you don’t actually have any direct control over the birdie himself. Rather, manipulating the level that sits beneath his feet is the limit to your influence, with two objects – springs and random planks of wood – the only elements under your control.

As such, before the chick drops you’re given as much time as you need to move said objects about. Sliding them around with your finger is simple enough, but positioning them so they act as the perfect catalyst to the chicken reaching his goal is most certainly not.

It’s an approach that, as you might expect, becomes more and more complex as you move through the stages. Bombs, for instance, form a particularly familiar foe fairly early on, acting as what amounts to a series of walls within the levels themselves. The slightest of touches is enough to give your chick an early Sunday Roast, so placing planks of wood to act as barriers is often the only way to nullify their threat.

That’s not to say play ever becomes in any way predictable, however. Grouped together in set batches, Drop the Chicken‘s stages increasingly push boundaries in terms of their very composition. What starts as a case of navigating past one or two hazards eventually turns into a mini-game of pinball, where each and every element has to come together at just the right time to get the chick home fully fed.

But the surprisingly elaborate nature of Drop the Chicken‘s later levels doesn’t make this any less of a casual affair. As is the norm now, it’s up to you just how many of each stage’s goals you meet – winning a three star rating requiring you to pick up each and every fly along your way, moving as few objects as possible in the process.

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Though unlocking levels requires you to collect a certain amount of stars along your way, it’s still possible to breeze through many of the most difficult stages simply by ignoring the flies altogether – a clever way of keeping those who find Drop the Chicken‘s heavier moments a touch foul on board.

But this is a framework that’s already beginning to show its age. Drop the Chicken, though as unequivocal as it is compelling at times, feels behind the curve as a result by adopting what could accurately be described as ‘the Angry Birds model’.

The very familiarity of its set up is what may well lead to Drop the Chicken suffering a somewhat shorter stay of execution on a player’s iPhones than the games it’s unashamedly been inspired by.

And that’s the bottom line when it comes to Drop the Chicken. Had Sharp Creative’s ode to all this poultry found its way onto iPhone a year or so ago, it would have stood out as a game that was as addictive as it is creative. Turning up somewhat late to the party can’t sap Drop the Chicken of the talent that’s clearly been employed in its level design, but it will leave the coop it’s housed in feeling a little too familiar for many.