In the music world, fans clamour onto forums to vent their anger if their favourite band changes too radically.
So most bands stick to what they know, producing a second album that sounds awfully like the first, only not as fresh or as good.
Spider Jack is like the ‘second album’ of a game trying to re-use the riffs and licks that made the original such a hit. Except in this case it’s performed by a cover band.
Cut the thread
While Spider Jack is published by Clickgamer/Chillingo, MaxNick is the developer in charge, and it doesn’t take more than a second to work out exactly where the inspiration behind Spider Jack comes from.
The idea is to lead your cartoon spider so that he collects three stars and finishes the level on top of a fly.
This is all performed by tapping a coloured peg to cast a strand of silk, and swiping across said strand to cut it.
Making things a little more complicated than Cut the Rope’s setup is the fact that Spider Jack tends to clamber up any strand of silk given a second or two.
Web of intrigue
Initially this (very slight) change to the formula feels like a seismic shift in how the gameplay functions.
Rather than constantly going down, Spider Jack is more concerned with ascending each level, meaning that a lot of the time near the start is spent swiping when he nears the top and tapping to catch onto another peg to create a wide enough swing.
But as the game starts to introduce incredibly familiar looking obstacles and features like bubbles (which raise you up) and portals, this change of gameplay quickly falls back into the familiar cut-bubble-pop-cut routine of Cut the Rope.
Unfortunately, a lot of what Spider Jack does feels either well-trodden or just not that well-implemented.
The climbing aspect of the game, for instance, is too difficult to judge - especially on the latter levels, with multiple timed electric gates.
Seeing Jack clamber up mid-swing, thereby missing the star you perfectly aimed for, is infuriating, as is watching him pause for what seems like an eternity before happily bounding into a (now active) gate.
The graphics lack the same level of charm as Om Nom and his bon bon, while the levels themselves can often be well-designed but only because they’re almost exactly like Cut the Rope’s - features, tricks, and all.
If you’ve already rinsed Om Nom’s adventures dry - and there’s an awful lot of people who have - then Spider Jack is a fairly harmless way of extending it.
But it lacks the charm, innovation, and fairness of its inspiration, and so you're unlikely to get caught in its web for too long.