The Cut the Rope series has perfected the physics of a swinging length of string. The curls and flops of the various lengths of rope you slice through have always been satisfyingly weighty, and each drop and sway has felt honest and fair.
That's a tradition that continues in Cut the Rope: Time Travel. No matter the time period Om Nom finds himself in, he - and you - can always rely on the severed ropes doing exactly what you'd expect them to.
It's from that solid foundation that Time Travel expands itself, putting new and familiar obstacles between Om Nom and his delicious candy treats, but never feeling unfair or treacherous.
This is physics based casual gaming at its finest, and shows that there's life in the old sweet gobbler yet.Sweet tooth
The big twist to the formula this time round is the addition of another Om Nom. There are six periods of history to play through, and each one has their own version of the little green monster. So the renaissance Om Nom has a pointy moustache and a big hat, while Stone Age Om Nom is podgier and more devolved.
Two Om Noms means two lumps of candy, and you need to feed both of the creatures if you want to finish a level. There are the usual three stars to collect too, some of which are simple to grab, while others require some extensive head scratching before the route to them becomes clear.
You're still controlling everything with swipes and taps. Cutting through ropes with a drag of your finger is still eminently enjoyable, and there are new contraptions and combinations for you to get to grips with as well.
Thick chains can only be cut by spinning blades; bombs explode when they come into contact with anything else; bouncy platforms let you send your candy further; and portals suck your sweet in at one end only to spit it out at the other.
Getting the hang of toys old and new is an entertaining experience, but it's in the later levels, when you've got multiple gadgets to contend with, that the game really sparks into life. Here you'll be pausing time, moving objects around, firing through portals, flipping switches to reveal hidden Om Noms, and grabbing stars before they fade away.
While the early levels act as a primer, it's in the last three sections where you'll find the meat of the game. And a fine tasting meat it is too. It never strays too far from the Cut the Rope formula, but sometimes you can't help but marvel at the ingenuity of the puzzles that have been built for your enjoyment.Time changes everything
Cut the Rope: Time Travel has the same high production values as its predecessors, and the same warmth too. You can't help but like Om Nom and his companions, and the cartoon world they inhabit is a joy to interact with.
The soundtrack is a sly nod to the Back to the Future films, the bright colours and gorgeous animations are infectious, and the puzzles are never so fiendishly difficult that you'll give up in a sulk.
Yes, it's more Cut the Rope, and yes, if you didn't like the original games you're going to dislike this one too. The early levels can be a little samey, and while there are six worlds to work through you'll have finished them in a couple of hours.
Still, it's hard to think of a recent example of mainstream, casual physics puzzling that's quite so enjoyable. Cut the Rope: Time Travel is a whole heap of fun, pure and simple, and quite often that's all you want from your smartphone games.