Burn the Rope, a puzzle game for the iPhone, was released some years ago, but it never managed to attract the same degree of popularity as its close namesake, Cut the Rope. That’s not to say it’s not deserving. The idea was to, as you can guess, burn lengths of rope until there was nothing left. As you progressed, things got more challenging, and it was an addictive, fun little game with a memorable soundtrack.
Now, we’ve got a new version of Burn the Rope, and it has (perhaps) taken inspiration from Hollywood, and gone 3D. While that may be a concern when talking about some films, in games, 3D doesn’t have to be bad news. The concept of Burn the Rope 3D hasn’t really changed over its predecessors, but the addition of 3D has made it much more cunning.
Instead of a flat 2D view, the rope through which you must burn has multiple layers, and you spin the 3D model around the screen to ensure the flame stays alight. In the original, you spun your iPhone or iPad around to keep the flame pointing in the right direction, as if it was upside down, it would splutter and go out. It was a fun control method, but it was always slightly unnerving twiddling such an expensive device!
As the game is in 3D, this wouldn’t work, so the model is manipulated using your thumbs sliding across the screen. This isn’t quite as physical, nor as fun, but it’s considerably safer. It does present a few problems though, as it’s sometimes confusing not only which direction the rope is going, but also remembering which slider does what in the heat of the moment can be difficult.
The flame itself can be temperamental, as the signals aren’t all that obvious that it’s about to expire, and it takes time to recognise them. Watching for the warning signs is essential to progressing through the game, as the rope shapes become ever more complex, and quick decisions must be made to keep it burning. The ants are back too, and burning through them changes the colour of the flame, ready to move through a corresponding piece of rope. Other bugs are also on hand to perform more tasks, such as a larger explosion to transfer the flame over to a piece of unconnected rope.
So has the 3D added anything to the game? Yes, it has given Burn the Rope a new lease of life, seeing it go well beyond the challenges faced in the original. The puzzles get really tough after about a dozen levels, where achieving 100 percent takes several retries. The gameplay is tense and exciting, although sometimes not in a good way, thanks to initial confusion over which way the flame and rope are headed. The key to understanding is to take a good long look at the rope structure before lighting the flame.
This step is important for another reason, as lighting the rope in just the right spot is essential if you want to clear the level entirely. This isn’t absolutely necessary though, and levels can be passed with a bronze, silver or gold star. Achieving bronze isn’t difficult, making the game accessible to younger players, while more experienced gamers will want to go for gold on each one for a serious challenge.
Burn the Rope 3D is exactly what a sequel should be, a true evolution of the original, retaining all the fun and challenges, while – if you’ll forgive the pun – adding a new dimension to the gameplay. It’s good value at £1.99 for more than 70 levels, spread across five different worlds – love the menu system, it looks great – and there isn’t an in-app purchase in sight.
The app ran beautifully on our iPhone 5, although it did need a restart after installation to cure a crash on start up, and it’s universal for the iPad too. Even if you’ve never played the first games, Burn the Rope 3D is a worthy addition to your app collection, and a particularly special treat for both young and old puzzle game fans.