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Little about the act of slicing strands seems terribly appealing in our everyday lives, but that simple premise is responsible for one of the App Store's biggest sensations. Cut the Rope's diverse and colorful physics-based puzzles have made green alien creature Om Nom a household name across two entries – the original smash and the even-more-whimsical Cut the Rope: Experiments – and now Cut the Rope: Time Travel aims to push the formula further ahead by looking to the past for thematic inspiration.
While not a significant departure from the swipe- and tap-centric approach of the earlier entries, Time Travel does have very notable addition. Now there are two Om Noms to feed: the regular one, as hungry as ever, and another pulled from a notable time period like Ancient Egypt or The Stone Age. Each of the six included eras in the initial release features its own unique mechanic to master, offering a solid amount of gameplay diversity across the 90 total stages.
Adding another mouth and piece of candy to guide to it does more than simply busy up the screen in each slickly-animated puzzle – it adds one more thing to consider as you swipe to dice ropes or tap to pop bubbles. Each monster needs to be satisfied before the stage is complete, and that's not even taking into consideration the ultimate goal of collecting the three stars found on each screen. Many times, the two pieces of candy are connected, and thus the movement of one directs that of the other, which can be tricky.
Getting each to its respective destination requires careful planning and execution, and while that doesn't seriously shake up the Cut the Rope experience, it does tweak the dynamic just enough to keep things interesting. And the era-specific gadgets are a nice twist, as well, starting with spinning blades and metal chains before leading to a button that freezes all movement, a second candy that mimics the movements of the first, and a few other unique additions.
Time Travel admittedly isn't quite as big of a shift from the earlier entries as we'd hoped for; it's more of the same on a general level, but variety has always been a strength of Cut the Rope's puzzles, so it doesn't feel tired even after some 600 stages between all of the releases. Still, one complaint worth lodging is that this entry doesn't seem quite as challenging on the top end. That may be addressed in the coming level updates, but for now it's pretty breezy. Also, the HD version for iPad is functionally identical, yet costs three times as much.
The bottom line. It's the same Cut the Rope that we know so well, albeit with a little more to love.
iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 4.3 or later
Great, accessible physics-based puzzles. Nice twist on the familiar formula. Solid amount of variety across the 90 included stages.
Won't be terribly challenging to series fans. Separate iPhone and iPad versions, with the latter priced at $2.99.