If you’re a casual/mobile phone gamer then in amongst your Angry Birds and Cut The Rope emerged a fun little game called Burn The Rope. I remember having a blast with the game on my iPhone when it was first released back in 2010. Seeing a re-release on the Vita was something that made me smile. At least until I saw the price, but we’ll get to that later.
Burn The Rope, like many mobile titles is simple in concept but addictive in execution. In the mobile title tapping anywhere on the rope would cause it to set fire and burn upwards and it was the player’s job to twist their device so the flame always points up in the aim of burning the rope in its entirety. It worked well and was fun but I found my headphones gradually getting tangled into a mess the longer I played. The Vita version includes the tilt option but the standard way of control is by the front touch screen. This is responsive and works well but the third control option – the rear touch pad (which works in exactly the same as the front screen) is even better because it means your digits don’t get in the way of the action on screen. Each level has a rope that is in the shape of a pattern or picture and while these start off simple the difficult quickly ramps up as the ropes get more complex and new features are implemented.
As the game progresses ropes of different colour ropes are introduced and these can only be burned by a flame of the same colour. Burning ants that traverse the rope changes the flame to the colour of the ant and further still into the game you encounter ropes that aren’t connected and the only way of igniting them is by burning a bug that sends an electric shock to it’s twin, reigniting the flame on a different section. There are also fireflies that explode and ignite nearby ropes, beetles that must be burned with the right colour flame, spiders that create silk bridges and water bugs that put out your flame. It’s great fun working through the levels and you are awarded a bronze, silver or gold depending on the percentage of the rope you managed to burn before the flame went out. Later stages have you burning the rope in the dark to make things harder and there are bonus games every few levels that give you a limited time to burn ant ridden ropes. I’m not really sure what the point of the bonus games are but they add to the high scores which of course is linked to the now standard online leaderboards. Graphically everything is pretty basic but it’s easy to distinguish different types of bugs and the visual style is clean and bold. Audio wise Burn The Rope is fairly generic, aside from the bugs making slightly amusing sounds.
The main game is set in different areas of Wickman’s cottage and there are seven worlds with 16 levels and an eighth world with a further 60. While 188 levels is a pretty decent number and will take some time to see, £3.19 is way, way too much to pay for a game that’s not only now three years old but has spawned a sequel with over 100 new levels and daily puzzles to download. Even the original Burn The Rope now has 232 levels on mobile and counting with more added as free updates all the time. If that isn’t bad enough there is a free (ad supported) version on Android too. It’s a massive shame as it’s a fun game and perhaps if they’d have included all the extra free levels, Burn The Rope Worlds and the daily puzzles £3.19 wouldn’t seem so bad but as it is it’s a monumental slap in the face to gamers for the sake of a couple of new control methods and trophies. There is fun to be had here and if you’re still in the stone age and don’t have an Android phone/iPhone then if the price drops but if you have a smartphone there really is no way I can justify a purchase, even with the trophies. Burn The Rope is a good game but porting without any of the new levels and without any new features aside from control methods and a handful of trophies at such a ridiculous price is frankly an insult to Vita owners and should be avoided. Perhaps if the price was a quarter of what it is now this review could have been somewhat different.