Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift is the perfect stocking stuffer for your iPhone

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and if you’re the developer behind Cut the Rope, you’ve had a lot to be jolly about this year. One of the biggest selling and most critically beloved titles of 2010 gets a free holiday makeover to satisfy new players and old fans alike – but is Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift the stocking stuffer you’ve been waiting for, or a quickly rushed lump of coal?

First off, it’s hard to not appreciate the team at Zeptolab and Chillingo for putting out these additional 25 levels for free. The earlier update to Cut the Rope that added 25 new levels and a gravity-flipping gameplay mechanic proved their commitment to ongoing free content, but there’s no questioning that this Christmas edition could have just as easily been included as one of those free updates to the paid version to net themselves some more sales. Offering this as a free standalone product is a commendable move, especially for a top-selling app that doesn’t need to be handing out freebies to draw in the crowd.

 Holiday Gift  Holiday Gift

For those who still haven’t tried the original (and shame on you if you haven’t!), Cut the Rope is a physics puzzler about a hungry little green guy in a box whose appetite can only be satiated by candy. Players need to cut the rope holding the candy in a particular manner so as to get it to land directly into little Om Nom’s mouth. It’s both as simple and as tremendously difficult as that.

The visuals in Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift have received the appropriate seasonal makeover, and while not over the top, the tweaks have been done tastefully enough to give you a grin without chucking a snowball in your face. The rope, previously a piece of string, has been replaced with a strand of Christmas lights. The background shows a paper crafted folding of a Christmas tree. Every now and then, Om Nom will slip on a pair of reindeer ears for a second. But the biggest item? That would be the stockings.

More than just decorative, stockings introduce a brand new gameplay mechanic to the Cut the Rope formula. Much like the popular PC and console game Portal, stockings act as some sort of matter transport device. Drop the candy in one red stocking and it will pop out of another one, wherever it happens to be on the board. It makes for a neat twist on the puzzling, and much to our delight, developer Zeptolab included some fairly significant physics to the whole process. The greater the height the candy is dropped from before landing in a stocking, for example, the higher it will shoot out of the other one. It’s a great touch, and one that has the potential to offer some tremendously challenging puzzles.

 Holiday Gift  Holiday Gift

Going hand in hand with its free nature, however, is the fact that these 25 levels have been kept accessible to everyone. If you’ve already earned every coveted star in the full version and are eagerly awaiting the next major challenge, you’re not going to find it here. The puzzles are still a blast to play through, but the level of difficulty here is entry level at best. If you’re a veteran of the original Cut the Rope, don’t expect to spend more than half an hour before netting all 75 stars in Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift.

Even if it is over relatively fast, as a free holiday-themed offering Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift is a great download that doubles as a thank you to the fans. With 25 fun new puzzles, a great new gameplay mechanic, and a charming Christmas makeover, Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift continues the tradition of satisfying Om Nom gameplay. We can’t wait to see what other tricks Zeptolab has up their sleeves for our little green friend.