We start figuring out some pretty complex physics conundrums from a very early age, particularly when it comes to swinging stuff around.
Things like: at which point do I need to let go of this rope-swing in order to get the most air? Or: what’s the best length of shoe lace for an effective conker-strike?
Of course, we don’t realise we’re doing practical mathematics - it’s as instinctual as it is pleasurable. All of which might explain the warm glow experienced while playing Cut the Rope.
Sweet as candy
Your goal is to feed Om Nom, a ravenous (though cute) pint-sized monster with a sweet tooth. The fuzzy gobbler makes its home in four separate boxes, which represent the four distinct worlds on offer: Cardboard, Fabric, Foil, and Gift).
In each level, a piece of candy is usually hanging by various lengths of rope with all manner of obstacles between monster and treat. By tactically cutting these ties, you can swing the candy into Om Nom’s mouth and move onto the next level.
Within each level, you can collect up to three stars. While not essential to completing a level, they are vital to unlocking each world. As such, levels become a delicate balance of risk and reward, tempting you to go for all three stars at the risk of failing altogether.
The game offers up ingenious embellishments to this simple formula such as bubbles that send the candy skywards, whoopee cushions that can be used redirect it, and candy-hungry spiders who travel along the ropes.
Not all fit into the world seamlessly, and some levels can become too convoluted for their own good, but they’re mostly successful.
The swing physics are brilliantly realised, and backed up by an impeccably drawn world. Developer ZeptoLab has shown its pedigree when it comes to designing colourful, charming environments with Parachute Ninja, and Cut the Rope is easily its match (if on a smaller scale).
It also matches the developer’s previous game when it comes to taking familiar mechanisms and putting a fresh slant on them.
Rope cutting ceremony
We’ve seen numerous games with swing-related physics, and countless more that require you to collect a bunch of stuff en route to the level exit, but Cut the Rope stands out by combining all this in new and imaginative ways.
It’s nicely varied, too, with the generally laid back pace occasionally pushed aside in favour of reaction-based challenges.Cut the Rope is an expertly balanced mix of new and familiar, accessibility and challenge. All of which deserves to propel it - via a well timed swing and release - firmly into the territory of the casual greats.