This is a family friendly puzzle game from Chillingo and ZeptoLab. The concept is to feed a monster called “Om Nom”. It likes candy. This sugary sustenance is delivered by slicing ropes in a strategic fashion. One of the first things that popped into my head while playing this game was… why… why am I feeding this monster? This mysterious creature just shows up at my door and I’m supposed to feed it? How is this not the start of an alien invasion? What is Om Nom going to be when it grows up? With a steady diet of candy, I don’t think it’s going to be good.
However, the game has a super-adorable theme. The monster seems cute and friendly. It seemed harmless. So, I kept playing. My first introduction to Cut the Rope was via the “lite” version of the game. Once I played through the sample levels, I felt hungry for more challenges. If you like figuring out puzzles, this app offers a unique form of mental challenges. As the levels gradually increase in difficulty, a good use of skill, timing and planning is needed to complete the objective.
Cut the Rope is a highly polished game. With sharp Retina Display graphics, intelligent level design and pretty presentation, the game distinguishes itself from the glut of other iOS apps. I felt the difference from when I first tested the game physics. The way the candy moves through the scene is quite realistic. It makes for a more engaging experience.
The controls are fairly easy to grasp. Just swipe with a finger to slash a rope apart. The candy will respond accordingly. The game begins as one gigantic tutorial, as the new techniques are explained throughout the early levels. For example, some levels require multitouch cuts. Cut the Rope takes advantage of iOS hardware to make the game more challenging. Other features are just good game design. I especially enjoyed the gravity button, which reverses the way the candy falls.
Towards the later levels, reaching the goal can be quite a struggle – especially if you’re trying to collect the three stars on each level. The game’s gradually increasing difficulty is a paragon for the industry. Novice players can simply play through the game, while perfectionists can try to improve their score. More points are awarded based on how faster a level is completed. Players can be ranked by their score.
While the difficulty accelerates smoothly, it doesn’t seem to hit top-gear. If you’re not interested in participating in the global ladder system, or if you’re not interested in getting a perfect score, the game is on the easy side. I played through all the levels – with all three stars – in about a day. There are five main boxes – Cardboard, Fabric, Foil, Gift and Cosmic – with 25 levels each. That’s 125 levels and 375 stars to collect. A sixth box states, “New levels coming soon!”
Game Center achievements can add some replay value to the game, but those are fairly easy to complete as well. For example, the Tummy Teaser achievement is a cinch. On level 2-5, simply use the bottom air blower to control the candy’s movement.
Personally, I like a game to be a little on the easy side. I don’t expect days and days of gaming for only 99¢. I don’t want a game to annoy me either. I play games to relax and I appreciated the calm pace of Cut the Rope. But if the game is to be critically judged, it is a puzzle game. This app might be better suited for younger audiences that are new to the genre, as experienced puzzle players might be left unsatisfied. Only a small fraction of levels were a big challenge for me… like 5-17… I hate that level.
There are some additional flaws. I found the cartoonish music to be pleasant, but a bit repetitive. Fortunately, the music can be disabled in the option menu. Additionally, the position of the game menu button is lousy. The level design doesn’t always account for the interface. All too often, instead of controlling something in the level, I found myself tripping on the menu button.
Those minor offenses were easy for me to overlook. The game is cute and entertaining. I’m glad that Cut the Rope was a little on the short side. That’s when I knew when to stop playing. Cut the Rope is quite compelling and fun.