Time for a game on the iPhone and this time it is a return to what I think is the genre that the phone does best. Of course there is always room for developers to try a little something different on the hardware, but at it’s heart the phone is ideally suited for fun, addictive puzzle games and they do not come much more fun and addictive than Cut The Rope. From the beginning, the game is a lot of fun with simple levels that you master within seconds as you are taught the basics of the game. But you can just tell, even from this early on, that things will soon get a lot more tricky.
So at the beginning of the story a cardboard box is delivered to your door which obviously contains a living creature of some description. This is hinted at by the great big label on the side of said box informing the recipient to “feed candy” which, let’s be honest, sounds pretty simple, right? So this gives you the basic aim of the game in that you quite simply have to feed the little green monster, who lives in the box, candy. Sounds easy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each stage of the game, of which there are many, has our little green monster friend sitting in a stationary position on the base of the box or on a platform somewhere high up, along with a piece of candy suspended in the air by a single or a series of ropes. All you as the player needs to do is, with a swipe of a finger, simply cut the rope holding the candy so that it drops neatly into your happy monsters mouth. Of course there is a little more to it than that, as cutting one rope and watching the sweet sugary treat fall to your monster every stage may get a little boring.
Also within every stage there are three gold stars, the ultimate goal being to collect all three stars using the candy before dropping it to the monster. The reason for collecting the stars is that you need a certain number of them to progress onto the next box. Again I am making the game sound easier than it actually is. It’s when you take into account the physics of the game, cutting a certain rope can send the candy into a swinging arc and becoming even more complicated due to the fact that in some stages the candy can be suspended by numerous ropes requiring you to slice through the correct one, with a wrong move meaning you miss a star or even worse mess up the stage altogether. The point of collecting the stars is to unlock further boxes. You begin inside a basic cardboard box before moving onto fabric, foil and finally gift box, which as you would expect get tougher as you progress. Each box has twenty-five stages within them and to progress onto each box a requisite number of stars has to collected over the previous boxes stages.
Of course things get a little more interesting as you progress to the other boxes, with new obstacles being added to the puzzles such as bubbles which, if you drop the candy into, float upwards until the monster has it within reach or the player pops the bubble. Stretched ropes which catapult the candy across the screen reaching stars that were originally unobtainable. Spiders that crawl along the ropes with an aim to stealing the candy, meaning the player has a limited amount of time before they have to cut said rope and halt the spiders advance. And my personal favourites, the air pockets, used for blowing the candy in certain directions with a very humorous raspberry sound effect, which led to me naming them “fart Cushions”. All of these things and many more are thrown into the stages to confuse and hinder the player, meaning that later on in the game you need to stop and think about what is required of you and what ropes must be cut. Unfortunately you do not always have that time to do so, as some of the later stages require quick thinking and actions as the spiders close in on the candy and the stars disappear within a set amount of time.
The controls of the game could not be simpler with the main one being of course a simple swipe of a finger to cut the ropes. Other than that it is mostly tapping or the sliding your finger on or across the screen in the appropriate time and place for popping bubbles, sliding sliders or tapping the aforementioned fart cushions. The controls, although simple in practice, soon become a little more complicated when you need to carry out multiple actions at one time and that is where the skill comes into play. Presentation wise the game only falls down in one area, and it is something that many of these puzzle games do that annoys me, it’s the music. The music in this game, and indeed other games of its kind, is so plinky, plonky and annoying that I now, before even playing this genre of game, disable it in the options menu. Cut The Rope is unfortunately no different when it comes to this.
On the looks front however there are no complaints at all. Sure the game does not ask for much graphics-wise, but everything it does need is nicely done. The little green monster is, dare I say it, yeah go on then, pretty high on the cute scale and the whole thing is definitely amongst the better looking games on the iPhone, meaning the game not only plays well but looks pretty good also.
So if you are looking for a new puzzle game that will make you stop and use your brain, but also aggravate you at times, that you can play on the move when you have a few minutes to fill, waiting on a bus or waiting for the kettle to boil, then you could do a lot worse than picking up Chillingo’s latest chart topping iPhone game Cut The Rope. There are plenty of stages, many of which are taxing enough to ensure the game will continue to be a fun challenge for a fair amount of time, especially if, like me, you are a perfectionist who sets themselves the goal to collect all three stars within every stage. If you are a fan of puzzle games then you should definitely gives this one a look.
Cut The Rope, by Chillingo, is available on the App Store for just Â£0.59