Cut the Rope 2

Developer:  zeptolab
Download:  Get on iTunes
Official link:  Cut the Rope 2
Price: $0.99

Cut the Rope 2 is a sequel that’s gotten better with age… or, more specifically, updates! Though reviewers and commenters at one time knocked it for an apparently aggressive monetization model, it appears that has since been removed in recent releases. What remains is really a charming little game that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for simple or complex challenges, this is one of the best iPad games in the puzzle category and a worthy follow-up to a classic game.

If you’ve never tried the original (or any other) Cut the Rope game, you play by, uh, cutting ropes. But hang on, it’s way more fun than it sounds! Each level is a little physics puzzle that involves cutting ropes in different sequences and at different times in order to get a piece of candy to safely fall into the mouth of an adorable creature called Om Nom. You also have to work around other obstacles such as balloons, which can float objects upwards or be popped to release whatever is attached to them, and air guns that can push objects in different directions.

Unique to this sequel is the addition of several new creatures that can assist Om Nom on his quest to retrieve all his stolen candies. Roto acts like a helicopter and can carry candy and even Om Nom himself to different locations. Lick can shoot his tongue out and attach it to walls in order to form bridges. And Boo can scare Om Nom, causing him to hop up to new heights. There are seven new creatures in total, and they all add various twists to the gameplay and puzzles.

If you like these kinds of puzzles, you’re getting a great deal for a dollar. There are over 160 levels spread over seven different worlds. Each world has its own theme, ranging from green forests to big cities to underground tunnels. The graphics are colorful and crisp, making the game a delight to look at. It’s also full of cute animations and sound effects that help bring Om Nom to life.

The levels in each world typically start out slow and easy so that you can get used to any new creatures or elements that are crucial to solving the puzzle. In general, just getting the candy to Om Nom is pretty straightforward. Some levels are certainly tricky, but most aren’t that taxing. The challenge, however, comes in trying to collect three stars on each level. These stars are often located in places that are hard to reach and/or require you to perform actions at specific times. To perfect some of these levels, you’re going to be pressing the restart button a lot!

Further challenge is found in the special missions that award gold medals in each level. These missions force you to solve the puzzles in unusual ways. For example, some medals require you to beat a level without collecting a single star. Some missions have a time limit and must be completed quite quickly. Others have interesting limitations such as not allowing you to cut any ropes. And the hardest ones of all have a combination of all of these rules!

In addition to upping the difficulty of each puzzle, stars are used to unlock new worlds. Once you’ve collected a certain number, you gain access to the puzzles in the next areas. Medals, on the other hand, are needed to unlock 4 extra levels at the end of each world. You have to get every single medal in the world before you’ll be allowed to try these very challenging puzzles.

It’s important to note that this is a big change from when the game was first released. Originally, you had to collect a certain number of four-leaf clovers to gain access to these special levels. This made a lot of people upset because most four-leaf clovers can only be reached through the use of limited power-ups. If you mistimed the use of your power-ups or simply ran out of them, you had to purchase more. You can still, of course, take this approach to unlock the levels, but you now at least have the option to unlock them entirely through normal gameplay. (Though, it’s no easy task!)

The original game also apparently had aggressive video and popup ads that upset a lot of paying customers. I didn’t encounter any video ads in the current version of the game, though I did run across the occasional full-screen ad for other games made by the developer. Some reviewers also complained about all the in-app purchases available in the game, but you can play through the entire game without buying any of them, so I think that’s a moot point.

As far as puzzles games, Cut the Rope 2 counts among the best and most fun games for iPad. It can be simple and relaxing if you just want to solve the puzzles or very challenging if you want to perfect all of them. The game constantly adds in new elements to keep the gameplay fresh and creative. For all the charm and all the fun, it’s well worth the $0.99.

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