Egg Punch’s blend of mini-golf and 3D platformer shoots to the top of the free app charts

Egg Punch is the debut title from independent developer Pixel Juice, a three-man Danish studio founded in May 2011 whose members have previously worked on titles as diverse as Hitman: Absolution, Limbo and Watchmen: The End is Nigh. Egg Punch first launched in early December but has shot to the No. 1 position in the Free Apps and Free Games charts in the last few days, displacing the popular Temple Run from what had looked like a secure top spot.

Egg Punch is best described as a blend of minigolf and 3D platformer. Cast in the role of an anonymous bird who has had its feathers stolen by rabbits, players are challenged to negotiate a series of increasingly-intricate levels in an attempt to collect feathers and score as many points as possible.

The basic game mechanic revolves around pulling “back” on the bird, who has encased itself inside an eggshell, and then releasing to “flick” it in a particular direction. Courses feature a variety of obstacles ranging from simple walls to pipes (which transport the egg from one part of the level to another) and fans (which affect the egg’s trajectory while they are blowing). The main goal is to reach a rabbit hole and drop down it, but an additional objective is presented in the form of a number of feathers scattered around the level. These not only provide the player with a bonus at the end of the stage, but are also a part of the level-unlock mechanic.

Scoring is handled in a rather original manner — rather than following minigolf’s usual stroke play rules, players are rewarded for stylish shots involving bounces, use of pipes and collecting feathers. Completing shots in this manner fills a score bar in the top left corner of the screen, though this drains by a small amount with each subsequent shot taken, and gradually diminishes over time if the player takes too long lining up a shot. At the end of a level, the amount in this bar is converted into points, and then a bonus is added depending on the proportion of feathers collected. The player is then awarded with a bronze, silver or gold medal depending on their score, and also rewarded with in-game currency which can either be spent on powerups and custom egg designs in the in-game shop, or spent on unlocking later levels.

The game is monetized through in-app sales of these coins. Through normal gameplay, the player will likely accumulate enough coins to unlock future levels normally, but may find themselves short if they have also purchased powerups and other items. They then have two alternatives: either replay past levels to “grind” for more coins, or purchase a package of currency to top up their balance. This caters to all types of players — those who wish to simply progress through the levels may purchase packages of coins to unlock subsequent worlds as soon as they have enough feathers to meet the unlock criteria, while those who don’t mind repeating levels to chase high scores will be able to acquire currency in this manner. Players are also able to earn coins through watching a limited selection of promotional videos for other iOS games including SGN’s Fluff Friends Rescue, Booyah’s MyTown 2 and Glu’s Contract Killer. Finally, players can earn a one-off bonus of 25 coins for signing up for Pixel Juice’s email newsletter.

At the time of writing, Egg Punch is at No. 1 in the Free App and Free Games charts. Despite being a Universal app, it is performing less strongly on iPad, notching up only a No. 75 position in the Free iPad Apps chart and No. 36 in the Free iPad Games listing. You can follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.