Cut the Rope- it is what it says. It’s a game all about strategically cutting ropes at just the right moment. The idea sounds kinda simple and dull, but it is actually a very challenging and well put together physics puzzler. Wildly popular on other handheld devices, Cut the Rope has finally made its way to DSiWare, though at a much higher price with fewer levels than in other versions. However, if you don’t have any of these other devices, your 500 points ($5) is pretty well spent here.

The game starts with a package being delivered to your door. Inside is a little alien named Om Nom, who has an insatiable appetite for candy. It’s your job to ensure the candy dangling at the end of a rope safely reaches Om Nom’s mouth. Easier said then done, because not only do you have to feed Om Nom, but you must collect three stars scattered about the box, and you need a certain number of stars in order to unlock the next set of levels (125 in all, split into sets of 25). Not only do you need to cut ropes, but pop bubbles, blow whoopie cushions, and avoid the myriad of obstacles that conspire to keep you from collecting stars and feeding Om Nom. A lot of the game requires more precision, good timing, and a certain helping of luck than it does actual puzzle solving, though there is a fair amount of the latter as well.

As for controls, it is purely touch based using your stylus. You slide the stylus across a rope to cut it, tap bubbles to pop them, etc. On other devices the game allowed for a multi-touch function. I can see where that may have come in useful on some levels, though it is still entirely possible to collect all the stars on every level without it (I did). Even though the stylus makes for better precision than your finger like on the iPad or iPhone, I still felt that the controls could be imprecise and somewhat touchy. More than once I cut multiple ropes when I only wanted to cut one, or popped a bubble when I was trying to cut a rope and so on, making for many and sometimes frustrating do-overs. Fortunately each level is pretty short so even if you get stuck for a long time, it’s easy to start over (and over and over).

The graphics are simple and cute, as it the minimal music. Both fit the game quite well and add cartoony charm to the silly premise.

While Cut the Rope is a bit on the short side- considering how quickly the levels go- and can be found cheaper elsewhere, I have little trouble recommending it for DSi users. Full of charm and impressively realistic physics, it’s a great addition to any puzzler fan’s download library. Though some levels are downright diabolical, they are still doable and the game is generally designed to minimalise frustration by having short levels, the ability to skip levels, and as many do-overs as you need. While I found the controls somewhat imprecise at times, it was still a cute and fun game and I feel that my 500 points was not wasted.

7.5/10