Review: Cut the Rope (Xbox Live)


Cut the Rope has a lot going for it. A huge number of puzzles, an accurate physics engine, intricate level design, it's quick to play by design, and it's very bright and colourful. The only problem is that mobile gamers will have seen it all before on other platforms, because it has taken more than two years to release Cut the Rope for Windows Phone.

Author: Zeptolab UK

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Cut the Rope is a fascinating idea for a game - you have to navigate a sweet into the month of a cuddly green monster somewhere on the level screen. Gravity is in play, so you will swing the sweet around the level by cutting ropes and creating graceful arcs through the air to other attachment points, which see another rope attached and more swinging to happen.

You can also swing on elastic (which is rather bouncy), and be picked up by a bubble which will float the sweet up towards the top of the screen... until you burst the balloon and it falls back to the bottom of the screen. Don't let it reach there, though, because if you do it will be the end of the level.

Thankfully there are no lives here, you can keep playing each level until you crack it. As an added bonus, each level has three stars, and you'll get bonus points for each star the sweet picks up as it travels from the starting point to the mouth of the green monster, who probably has a cute name like Clive or Weatherill (he's called Boso - Rafe).

 Cut the Rope Cut the Rope

The levels are very fast to play, of the order of five to ten seconds per attempt, which might make you think that the 500 levels will be over rather quickly. Far from it, because each level is well designed to provide a different type of challenge. Some require quick reactions to cut the ropes and elastic bands at the right moment in the swing, others will require dexterity to cut just one of a number of ropes attached to the sweet to swing in the correct arc. Others will need a lot of trial and error to understand what can be cut safely, and yet more are filled with dangerous spikes or spiders all ready to get in your way and force you to restart the level.

It's perfectly suited to a touch screen environment, with a simple swipe of the finger cutting a rope. Multi-touch is also supported for those occasions when two cuts need to be made simultaneously. Each object has a slightly different main colour so it is easy to make the distinction between different elements on the screen.

There are two things that I think need to be addressed here - first something practical in the game code, and then the game itself.

I'd like to see Cut the Rope load faster, because it really is the sort of game that you can dip in and out of easily and Windows Phone's handling of applications does let the side down here in terms of quick access.

I can live with no trial version, because quite frankly if you don't know about Cut the Rope by now, then I can only assume you're brand new to mobile gaming not just on Windows Phone, but on any smartphone.

 Cut the Rope Cut the Rope

This is the problem I have with Cut the Rope. This Windows Phone version has been released in November 2012, more than 25 months after it was first released on iOS devices with a huge publicity campaign. Since then it's been touted around every single platform, including a major push from Microsoft as an HTML5 based game for Internet Explorer. It's had countless other titles lift the premise of the game (including Spider Jack for Xbox Live, reviewed here).

Finally arriving on Xbox Live is not a badge of honour for Cut the Rope, the developers, or Microsoft. It feels like a contractual obligation, to be done as late as possible with the hope that nobody starts asking awkward questions.

Which is a shame. It's a great game, but it's one that I've already played through, and have trouble mustering up the energy to play through once more. Cut the Rope has a wide appeal, but it's so wide I suspect that the target audience (people with Windows Phone devices, looking for Xbox Live titles, who have not already played Cut the Rope) is going to be a very small audience.

There is a chance that you're in this group, in which case hooray, you're going to love Cut the Rope. For everyone else, you've played it before, and now it's on Windows Phone. Download it? It's your call really.

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