Paltry Poultry

Riding high on a name that sounds a lot like Angry Birds, Hungry Chicks is a puzzle game of another hen. For the asking price, the amount of content is respectable, but does this budget app truly pack a fun punch?

The premise of Hungry Chicks is simple: you need to move one or two mother birds around a collection of levels, picking up worms as you go in order to feed your “hungry chicks.” Moving your hens around a given stage is a matter of either tapping to the side of the birds to move left or right, or tapping just underneath the birds to make them fly. In latter levels, you’ll also need to tap above the birds to fight against wind shear.

Straightforward enough…

Unfortunately, the controls are the only real challenge in this game. Not only is your finger going to obscure the view most of the time, the level design in most cases is at complete odds with the simple touch approach of Hungry Chicks. Your hens will often wind up nestled on one side of a level where tapping them in the opposite direction is made extremely difficult. Intricate (and deadly) obstacles are also wholly impractical when your hens are fumbling around one another.

The physics in the game matches the sprite design fine, and it generally feels good. But again, most levels are simply too cramped and poorly laid out to make for a fun puzzle experience. It’s all the more disappointing since there are some truly fun ideas tossed into the mix. Later levels throw in new hazards and mechanics that glimmer with promise, but the frustrations associated with controlling your hens always manage to snuff out any hint of enjoyment.

In spite of having to redo particularly obtuse stages upward of 20 times, I still managed to complete the entire game in about a half hour. There are 36 levels spread out across three worlds. To be fair, I appreciate the bite-sized nature of the levels, and for the price, I would have been satisfied with the amount of content had I actually had fun with the game. Hungry Chicks, however, only occasionally reaches a level of being mildly amusing, while the rest of the time it feels like an exercise in frustration.

Hungry Chicks Hungry Chicks

Visually, I enjoyed its cutesy, vibrant art style. The developers seemed to be going for a distinctly casual presentation, something Angry Birds fans would be familiar with and enjoy. The animations are pretty, and the color palette is candy for the eyes. The sounds and music get the job done but are otherwise fairly unremarkable.

In today’s world of Buck Doubles and $0.99 iPhone apps, consumers have options when it comes to how they choose to spend their hard-earned cash. Some might say “you get what you pay for,” but when titles such as Angry Birds and Aura-Aura Climber are priced roughly the same and offer a much better gaming experience, you can afford to be choosey. Hungry Chicks has some decent ideas and a fine presentation, but it’s borderline fun without ever really crossing that border.