The screenshots might suggest otherwise, but Catch The Princess is not like Cut the Rope at all. Sure, both games might be physics-led puzzlers, but that’s where the similarities end.
For starters, instead of guiding a sweet into the mouth of a cute monster you're guiding a caged princess into the arms of a cute monster. Totally different.
You might spend most of your time swiping your fingers across the screen, but here you’re cutting through chains. Not ropes.
Chains are, of course, much tougher than ropes, but they create an equal amount of resistance in this case, which helps make the game more accessible for new players. Not entirely dissimilar from Cut the Rope, then, but for entirely different reasons.
There are three objects to collect, but here they’re gems rather than stars. No sane person has ever mistaken a gem for a star.
Dust to dust
As you progress, you’ll come across fairy dust, a sparkling yellow orb of light that lifts the princess into the air in a way that is entirely different from Cut the Rope’s bubbles.
Then circular zones appear, with a new chain attaching to the cage from the point at which it intersected the zone. That’s a new chain - not a new rope.
There are also green bellows that you can squeeze to blow the cage. These are green, and with noticeably thinner nozzles than those protruding from the blue balloons in Cut the Rope, proving beyond any doubt that developer Robots and Pencils is using original ideas.
You’ll need to be very careful throughout, because many levels contain spikes. Sometimes they even spin around, and you need perfect timing to avoid them, which is something we’ve never seen before on iOS.
On other stages you’ll need the right momentum to grab all the gems and make it to the bottom in one piece, avoiding new hazards like – hold onto your hats - fire-breathing dragon statues.
The innovations don’t stop there. The 60 levels are split into three sections called Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. App Store scholars will not that Cut the Rope didn’t contain any Dante references whatsoever, nor any Latin words.
Brilliantly, even though Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso are supposedly different places, all three are set in near-identical dark, miserable dungeons. It helps the game maintain a visual consistency that is wholly absent from the multi-coloured stages of Zeptolab’s game.
Robots and Pencils deserves a great deal of credit for Catch the Princess. It would have been so easy to just copy a massive App Store hit and give it a different visual style to mask the obvious similarities.
Instead, it has chosen to create something genuinely original and different, and that deserves loud praise.
Enough sarcasm. In case you hadn't gathered, Catch The Princess is rather similar to Cut the Rope, but without the same degree of charm or originality. The puzzles aren't quite as well-designed, and the physics aren't quite as satisfying, but otherwise it's a solid clone that you might enjoy if you've already guided every sweet into Om Nom's mouth.