iPad Game Review: Cut The Rope HD Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Cut The Rope HD is a highly-polished and completely original take on the gravity puzzler. It has tons of personality, great controls, and an adorable (if self-entitled) li'l videogame character named Om Nom.
In Cut The Rope HD, as with its iPhone/iPod counterpart Cut The Rope (non-HD), your task is to using carefully timed and placed finger swipes to cut the ropes that are attached to a piece of candy in such a way as to guide it into Om Nom's mouth. While this is certainly a clever and original concept, the game's true brilliance lies not in being novel, but in its near flawless interface, polish, and level design. I'm sure Chillingo knew they had a winner on their hands, and the extra time they put into it really shows. At first, the job seems pretty straightforward; all you need to do is cut the strings in the right order. Thankfully, there is more to it than this. As you progress through the game's 125 levels, you will need to use carefully timed gestures, some simultaneously, to cut multiple strings at once. You will also have to avoid obstacles such as spikes, spiders, etc and manipulate the candy with puffs of air, bubbles, and anti-gravity devices, as well as many other surprises.
One of the hallmarks of this type of game is the Star System, where you seek to not only complete any given level, but garner a perfect score as well. While this concept certainly sounds good in theory, it is often highly flawed by nebulous and hidden rules governing when stars are actually awarded. Here also, the folks at Zeptolab (the developers) blaze a new trail. Instead of leaving it to the player to guess what he/she needs to do to get that coveted 3rd star, they have placed the stars directly on the screen; all you need to do is collect them. Obviously, this is not as easy as it sounds because these stars are distributed in such a way as to force you to devise more challenging solutions to each puzzle if you want that perfect score. This greatly increases the game's replayability and doesn't leave you wondering if it secretly hates you. Lastly, Cut The Rope HD offers online leaderboards and achievement tracking via both the Crystal gaming Service and Apple's Game Center.
The graphics in Cut The Rope HD are bright, crisp, and are so clear they almost look wet. The animation is beautiful and fluid, and contains lots of great touches. Om Nom doesn't just sit there like a toadstool waiting for the candy to come. Instead, he fidgets and moves around with a well-varied set of actions. This adds a great deal of life and personality to the game, but does not distract.
The sound effects in Cut The Rope HD really add to the immersive experience of the game. Everything you interact with has a subtle and perfectly appropriate sound effect and whenever Om Nom eats the candy he utters a charming and satisfying little squeak. While the sound effects are good, they don't exactly make you say: "hey, those are some good sound effects!" The music on the other hand completely took me by surprise. If you've ever played the original Frogger or Dig Dug, you will know what I mean when I say that the right soundtrack can make a good game great, or even a great game greater. I can count the number of iPhone/iPad games that I play with the music on with one hand; and Cut The Rope HD is one of them. It's playful, fun and fits Om Nom's personality perfectly. When you hear it, you smile. Yeah, it's that good.
Cut The Rope HD is a must-have iPad game. It's truly original, the interface is flawless, the graphics are excellent, and the music is surprisingly catchy. The only reason not to get this game is if you don't like gravity/physics puzzlers. For the rest of us, however, this is an instant classic.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful to look at with lots of polish Sound: - 5 - The sound effects are good, but the music is great! Controls: - 5 - The swipe and touch controls work perfectly. They are accurate and incredibly responsive. Gameplay: - 5 - Completely original and remarkably enjoyable gameplay.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Try working your way through the first group of levels without worrying too much about the stars. Once you complete a group, go back to the beginning and try for more. This will keep the game fresh and prevent frustration as you slowly master the interface.