February 12th, 2013
I’ve squeezed quite a bit of gaming out of my iPod over the past 2 years. Cut the Rope is one of my favourite titles. I don’t follow the mobile scene much, so if you have any good iOS game recommendations, please let me know in the comments.
- Cut the Rope follows a simple, repeated structure that’s easy to understand. The game elements obey form fits function, and there’s a nice visual contrast between them and the background. These qualities make this simple puzzler a great game to play, as well as watch being played.
- None of the levels require the camera to scroll both vertically and horizontally. Everything is either kept within a single screen or spread out in one direction. By keeping the camera only moving along a single axis at most, it’s easy for the player to follow the action.
- The physics add a playfulness to the gameplay. This is the game’s core appeal.
- Cut the Rope is an action-puzzle game, so even when the levels focus on problem solving (knowledge), execution skills (dexterity, reflex, timing) are still needed to carry out the solution (which is different from a standard puzzle game, like Picross or Crosswords). Most levels tend to focus on execution skills. This aspect, along with the physics and cute-n’-clean presentation, are what make this game so accessible.
- Each box is based on a certain game element, which is first introduced on its own and then combined with existing elements to create layered challenges. The game is logically organised around its gameplay.
- Stars are a form of scalable difficulty.
- Often, the way to obtain all three stars is different from the way to obtain the first two, which is usually rather obvious. The first two stars thereby facilitate the creation of a red herring in the player’s mind, which takes more knowledge and adaption skills to overcome. Level 2 – 21 is an example of this phenomena:
At first, the player is likely to cut the top-right rope, as not only is doing so the quickest way to reach the time-active star, but the rope itself appears to be the longest, drawing the player’s eye. After the player does this, they can’t reach the star on the right. When they come to repeat this level for a perfect run, they must think around the original solution to come up with another plan.
For more discussion on Cut the Rope, please check out this thread on the Critical Gaming Facebook page.