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‘Burn the Rope’ Review – A Pyromaniac’s Puzzler

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I know what you’re thinking, but despite the name, Big Blue Bubble‘s newest iOS game Burn the Rope [99¢] has nothing to do with the popular title Cut the Rope [99¢/Lite]. It’s actually a completely unique kind of puzzle game that tasks you with burning a design made out of rope by igniting just one point of the picture and guiding the flame, earning a medal based on the percentage of the entire picture that you burn. Various insects and spiders affect how you’re able to burn the rope, and the 80 levels contained in the game get increasingly more difficult and complex as you go. There are a couple minor annoyances about Burn the Rope, but the core gameplay is engaging and there’s enough content in the game to keep you busy for some time.

The basics of Burn the Rope involve touching a single point of the rope design to start a flame burning. The flames that ignite will only burn upwards, so you must spin your device around as the rope burns to keep the flame always moving up. It’s possible to have multiple flames burning the picture at once if you can keep them all pointing upwards, but once a flame sits stagnant sideways or downwards for too long it will burn out. Torching at least 60% of a puzzle will net you a bronze medal, 80% for a silver, and the entire 100% will land you a gold medal.

As you progress in the game, bugs will begin to appear in the levels crawling along the rope. Different colored ants will change the color of your flame if you burn them up. Some levels contain pictures with portions made out of colored rope, so you have to strategically burn the correct colored ant to change your flame to the same color as the rope you’re trying to burn. There can also be colored beetles crawling in some levels that add to your level completion percentage when burned, but again your flame must match their color in order for it to count. Finally there are spiders that will shoot out a string of web when burned, enabling you to reach portions of the rope picture that would normally be inaccessible as they aren’t connected to the rest of the picture.

I don’t normally like having to twist and turn my device around to play a game, but it doesn’t bother me in Burn the Rope because the motions are mostly subtle, and there’s an almost hypnotic feeling to slowly turning your device in your hands as you follow the flame along the rope. In this way, Burn the Rope has more in common with the Zen Bound series than any other game I can think of. The levels get fiendishly clever and complex the farther you go, and it will be a real challenge for anyone to attain gold medals on all 80 of them.

While the gameplay is interesting and fun, there are a few small things I feel could be better about Burn the Rope. It has a really cute art style, but it would definitely benefit from being enhanced with Retina Display support to make it stand out more. Also, I’d like to see Game Center integration with some neat achievements tied to the game’s progression. The developers have stated in our forums that both of these features are already planned for the first two updates, and I think that once those hit it will add a lot to the overall package. One small problem I noticed was that the way the rope burns can sometimes be odd, leaving a very tiny chunk of rope unburnt when it shouldn’t be. This forces you to replay a level if you’re going for 100% completion, and although it happens infrequently it can be pretty annoying.

Despite any minor issues, Burn the Rope is a pretty great experience. I came very close to just glossing over the game because I assumed it was some sort of Cut the Rope ripoff, but I’m really glad that I checked out the trailer and gave the game a shot. There’s plenty of content to play through, with 80 levels currently in the game and more coming in updates. Burn the Rope is definitely worth a look if you’re interested in a unique puzzle game, and if you aren’t afraid to spin your device around in public.

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