Available on iOS and Android
I'm not sure what scares me the most; the fact that the original Cut the Rope is now more than five years old, or that the year it came out in – 2010 – was more than five years ago.
I could have sworn it just happened, you know? Kraft bought Cadbury, the BBC threatened to shut down 6 Music, Cameron and Clegg embraced each other (figuratively speaking) in the rose garden, and the biggest thing to come out of Russia since Sputnik, ZeptoLab's Om Nom, hit the App Store. Are we absolutely sure that all that happened half a decade ago?
Nevertheless, Om Nom's anniversary has given the studio the excuse it needed to bring out a game designed to celebrate the franchise's now long legacy and, arguably, Cut the Rope: Magic feels more like a bona fide sequel to that original encounter than Cut the Rope 2 ever did. That's because it does a great job of building on the original concept by adding new elements, but all without dragging it away all too far from what made it popular in the first place.
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As in the first Cut the Rope, your main form of interaction is rope cutting – swiping your finger through rope that holds up pieces of candy, with the idea being to use your knowledge of physics to guide it down so it drops into Om Nom's mouth. There are stars to collect along the way if you're after a perfect score, but Cut the Rope: Magic remains a game that, if they so choose, novices can swipe through without thinking all too much for all too long.
Where things begin to get mixed up, however, is when it comes to some of the new abilities on offer. For those interested in plot – and when the lead character is basically a green blob with little more features to its arsenal than a face, who wouldn't be – On Nom is now trapped in a magic picture book, which enables him to transform into different animals (a bird, a mouse, a fish, and baby Om Nom) mid-stage. This brings an extra element or two when it comes to planning your strategy and places even more focus on doing things in the right order: there's no point cutting a rope or two to drop the candy down if you haven't first turned Om Nom into a bird so he can reach it, is there?
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Unfortunately for our green furry friend, he doesn't have this magic book all to himself. Also popping up along the way is an evil wizard who wants all the candy for himself. Though he doesn't pop up in the main stages – an ominous appearance in Magic's opening cut-scene the extent of his threat for quite some time – he does feature in mini-games of tug of war with Om Nom, with the winner quite predictably taking home the sweet stuff and the loser being left hungry.
The standard stages also feature a hint system that takes you, step by step, through each move you need to pull off in order to get a perfect score, though this is limited to just a few runs before you then have to part with your cash to be similarly aided in the future.
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When it all comes together, however, all the new abilities form an especially subtle way of mixing the Cut the Rope formula up without trashing it in the process and, as some of the stages prove, it's allowed ZeptoLab's level designers to avoid retreading old ground and simply serving up the same portions of play with new, shinier graphics. Importantly for ZeptoLab, it's also evidence that a model people may have assumed was well past its best still has some life left in it, and could well be further rejuvenated by similarly subtle twists on the original title.
If you never took to Om Nom's adventures in any of its previous forms, then it's safe to say that this isn't the game to change your mind, but if you're a fan of old that's been looking to return to the Cut the Rope world, then Cut the Rope: Magic feels like the perfect point to hop back aboard the ZeptoLab train, ready for the no doubt exciting ride ahead.
A subtle twist on a model that's now half a decade old, Cut the Rope: Magic performs the delicate trick of staying in touch with what made the original game great whilst also adding new elements to it to keep thing exciting. More of a sequel than any of the games it follows, ZeptoLab has proven that there's more life in its flagship IP than we might have imagined.