Jul 1, 2011

Cut the Rope

Edit: Cut the Rope is the third in a series of reviews covering the three puzzle games: Nano Panda, Burn the Rope, and Cut the Rope.

My first exposure to Cut the Rope was on Apple's platform. It, like Angry Birds, really didn't do much for me at first and didn't make me decide to purchase it. However, both arrived on Android for free (as ad supported titles) and after giving it time I came to enjoy both titles. Neither is stunning or flashy, but both are cute and well polished games. Another thing I look for in these kinds of games is how my kids react to them. Are they too difficult such that the kids just walk away? Are they too abstract such that the kids don't even take notice? Or are they just right... hard enough that adults aren't able to easily defeat them, but easy enough to give kids a fighting chance?

A few weeks ago my daughter, who has grown quite an affection for my iPad, found a game on Android that she liked called "Hey, That's My Fish!" (that has been reviewed already). She's able to beat it on easy mode... which basically says easy mode is brain dead as she isn't at the point where she is able to think several moves ahead, yet. However, that showed me the merit of having an easy mode. Game developers have to target all types. Anyhow, she's since started to enjoy a game now known as 'the clown game' on the iPad which is basically a Cut the Rope clone, but instead you cut chains and try to get the clowns into barrels. It's easy enough that she's able to work through most of the puzzle via trial and error, but cute enough that she persists. Cut the Rope has since made the list of games she asks for by name. We'll sit on the couch together and work through the levels. Some she can get and some she asks for help with. It's more difficult that 'the clown game' and often passing on to the next level is easy, but doing it and getting all 3 stars is hard. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Cut the Rope is a puzzle game in which you have to get the candy to the adorable, little monster. You do this by cutting various ropes that control the candy's descent. However, the game could have just have easily been called Pop the Bubble or Jump the Hat as there are many elements that are added throughout the game to maintain one's interest. Eash level also features three stars that you can get to improve your score. Oh, how I tire of collecting stars which is becoming a way overused 'theme' in gaming.

The graphics are on par with the other two puzzle games. They are good enough for a quality puzzle game. The audio is likewise not really differentiatiable from the other two games although the monster does make a cute "sigh" when he sees the candy fall right by him knowing that he'll never savor said tasty treat. Cutting ropes is done with a quick swipe of a finger (and popping bubbles requires a simple tap). The game is entirely touch screen based and makes for another good phone/tablet game.

I have to admit that I've never been perplexed by any of the puzzles, however I also tend to play just to get to the next level and not with a need to get all 3 stars. If I played to get all 3 stars that would change things so I started to do that and found that it made the game more fun. As I've written in the past, I am not someone that likes the whole 'locked level progression' thing that all new games seem to do. Why, if I'm completely stuck on a level, should a game block me from enjoying other levels? One thing I often talk about with regard to puzzle games is trial and error. For example, if a game relies on simply tapping switches in the right order and there are 3 switches then there are only six possible ways to even try and solve the puzzle. Trial and error becomes a very useful method to solve such a puzzle. Cut the Rope avoids this problem (and so do Nano Panda and Burn the Rope) by introducing timing into the equation. For example, if a rope is swinging back and forth then you may need to cut it at a specific time in order to get the candy to drop at the right point. Sometimes this leads to puzzles that can get into an unsolvable state and the only thing to do is reset, but it also always leaves me thinking.

qrcodeIt's hard to rate and compare puzzle games. What appeals to one player may be different from what appeals to another player. All three of the games I've talked about this week are good, but I do think Cut the Rope is the best of them simply for its balance. Taking time to sit back and think will often reveal the solution within, and I don't want to put exact times on this, say half a minute. That's a good balance for a game that is supposed to be part of my leisure. I can't go as far to say that I think this is the perfect puzzle game so I'll give it a 4.5/5 stars. What? Sorry, gotta go... my daughter wants to play "the rope game" again.

1 comment:

  1. A savvy developer should take your comment to heart about some levels just being too difficult. Maybe they could give you a free pass for every 5 levels you beat or something and then if you wanted to skip one you could. Somewhat like those seek-and-find games where they give you hints after you find so many objects. Anyway, I like Cut the Rope but I also thought that Rope Cut was pretty well done also (android clone). The one thing I can say about this game on the android platform is that it is well put together, never crashes and runs very smooth. Certainly can't say that for a lot of games on the platform that come out.