Cut The Rope 2 Hands-On Preview

If you were following us on Twitter last night, you would have seen a series of tweets from an extravagant party in San Francisco thrown by ZeptoLab, the creators of the Cut The Rope series. Between the giant outdoor projectors, costumed detectives, and up-close magic shows, we heard a very important announcement: Cut The Rope 2 will be available on the App Store in two weeks, and we had an early opportunity to try it out.

ZeptoLab’s party theme was that of a 1940′s detective agency, because as of today, Om Nom has literally disappeared from all of the Cut the Rope games. You may have seen the headlines a few months back. If you click on the missing Om Nom in any current Cut the Rope game, including the original, Experiments, or Time Travel, you’ll see a countdown that indicates Cut the Rope 2 will be available on Dec 19.

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A lot more details were revealed at last night’s event. Zeptolab CEO Misha Lyalin took the stage to provide some impressive sales statistics– the series recently reached 400 million downloads last September. Then, he played a new trailer, which will be online next week. Here we got our first look at Om Nom’s new friends: five brightly colored, adorable creatures who double as useful power-ups.

There’s Roto, a helicopter who will hover through the levels and grab onto any falling candy or other objects (including Om Nom, who can now be moved indirectly through the levels by your actions). Lick fires his tongue like a grappling hook when you tap on him. Blue is a rectangular block who can replicate himself endlessly and create a towering stack. Boo is a bomb-like ball of energy who bursts, and Toss is a spring-shaped monster who will propel objects upward.

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As you can see, these “power-ups” have a lot of personality, and they’re ready-made for more merchandising opportunities. The obvious parallel here is Angry Birds, whose varied characters (like the steely-eyed, triangular yellow bird) started off as mere special abilities. We think this is a clever way to turn inanimate objects (bombs, springs, etc.) into new monster friends for Om Nom.

Each of the five new characters will be featured in their own set of 24 levels, for a total of 120 levels (or 360 stars to collect). In each set of stages, Om Nom travels outside of his boxes into the larger world. You’ll see themed levels set in a forest, sandy dam, junkyard, park, and underground.

One nice extra is that you can unlock new outfits for Om Nom, including hats with matching candy pieces. You can also customize the line that appears when you swipe on the screen, selecting effects like a stream of bubbles or magical fireworks. This new feature reminded us of the custom slices in Fruit Ninja.

To make the game easier, you now have the option to purchase cheats and hints from a menu at the bottom of the screen. For example, you can make candy rain down on Om Nom, giving you an instant pass, or summon a glowing guide who shows you which ropes to cut, and when. We’re glad these cheats are completely optional, since they basically let you skip puzzles that you find too frustrating.

Even with all these new features, Cut the Rope 2 still feels a lot like the rest of the series. You’ll still be experimenting with the game’s realistic physics, snipping ropes to make objects sway back and forth. There’s a lot of timing involved, and getting three stars without using cheats is still a challenge.

Cut the Rope 2 will be available on December 19 as an iOS exclusive, and it’ll debut for $.99 as a universal app. If you love the series as much as we do, downloading it will be a no-brainer. Those 120 levels will last for a long time, and a dollar isn’t much for the delight you’ll experience in meeting Om Nom’s new friends.

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