Regular followers of our 'This Week in Mobile Gaming' feature will already know about Cut the Rope, but for those of you who are uninitiated, here's a quick rundown: it's the next Angry Birds. Excited yet?
Of course, it would be ridiculous, not to mention slightly clichÃ©, to simply compare Cut the Rope to the iOS's greatest gaming success. After all, if Cut the Rope can't stand on its own as a force to be reckoned with, is it really worth all the praise that it has received so far? Fortunately for developer Zeptolab, it can... if not for very long.
To its credit, Cut the Rope employs an incredibly simplistic form of gameplay, and an even simpler story to act as a background; you, the player, have candy, and must make sure that it reaches 'Om Nom, the adorable monster,' whilst also ensuring it picks up the three stars that are placed precariously about the levels. To do so, you have to cut the rope(s). As the levels progress, they become increasingly difficult, with new gameplay mechanics introduced, including bubbles that make candy float, and spikes that simply disintegrate the sweet.
Astoundingly, when playing through Cut the Rope, every one of the introduced gameplay mechanics feels intrinsic to the experience. There are a couple toward the latter end of the game that left me thinking 'Of course! Why wasn't this here earlier?' And none that felt forced or trite. Every time a new mechanic is included in the game, the puzzles adapt to suit, and so the player is forced to think about the game in a completely new way. Whereas before, say, you might have had to blow a piece of candy from one side to the other, a new mechanic will fling it over there faster than you can say "Hey, where did my candy go?"
Unfortunately, therein lies Cut the Rope's greatest flaw: even with all these new, exciting gameplay ideas, none of the levels offer any real form of challenge. When playing the game for review, I completed (with 3 stars each, no less) the 100 levels in an evening. It was a tremendously enjoyable evening, I admit, but once it was over, I felt no real need to go back and replay any of the levels. Although a few of the later levels had me scratching my head, they focused less on inhuman levels of precision, and more on simple, logical rules of physics, and as soon as I understood the underlying principles of the level, I was already moving onto the next one.
In the grand scheme of things, however, the complaint 'it's too easy' is one that is incredibly subjective, not least for a game that relies on an (admittedly simplistic) understanding of the laws of physics. As someone who loves Math, it's likely I would have understood the answer far sooner than someone who hated Math at high school. Then again, as a reviewer, I can only comment on my own playthrough of the game, and allow you to come to your own conclusions.
Ultimately, Cut the Rope is a game that does a lot of things right. It's smart, funny, engaging and -- as is the case with all iPhone classics -- is a game that you'll want to show your friends. The only real detractors from an otherwise fantastic experience are its incredible simplicity, even during the game's hardest levels, and its too-short-to-be-sweet length -- which, thankfully, will be fixed in an upcoming update with all new levels. If you haven't picked it up already, I urge you to do so. You won't regret it.
Cut the Rope is currently available for all iOS devices, for the low price of just 99c.