The Cut the Rope Game App for Windows 8.1

Everybody knows Angry Birds. The Cut the Rope game app for Windows 8.1 isn’t Angry Birds. The physics is a little more complex, and the variations are trickier. That said, it’s every bit as addictive as its feathered counterpart. And there aren’t any ^%$#@! pigs.

Many people don’t realize it, but Cut the Rope was invented in Russia in 2010. It became very successful on the iPad and iPhone with more than 1 million copies sold in the Apple App Store in the first nine days.

Microsoft picked it up as a demo for its HTML5 browser experiments, then ported it hook, line, and sinking candy monster to the Metro tiled side of Windows 8. No doubt the ’Softies hope that some of that App Store magic rubs off on Windows 8.1 players.

There are both free and paid versions, with the paid versions running more levels — and considerably more challenge. In theory, the free version is a “trial version,” but in fact it’s free and will always be that way.

The back story isn’t terribly complex: You need to get a piece of candy into the mouth of the adorable monster Om Nom and collect points along the way. The action is based on pendulum swings, anchored by ropes, where you get to decide when to, uh, cut the rope.

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Things get considerably more complicated when you encounter bubbles: When a piece of candy hits a bubble, it’s absorbed into the bubble, and the bubble and candy rise together. Bellows push the candy and bubbles around. Spikes and electricity can pop the bubbles. With each new level, you see different layouts and accoutrements.

Scoring is pretty intuitive: You get points for touching stars with candy, and the faster you go, the more points you get.

Advancing levels isn’t intuitive at all. You start in the Cardboard Box, which has nine levels, but only one is unlocked; that’s the one you have to play.

Each level holds three stars. Collect at least one star and feed Om Nom, and the next level gets unlocked.

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Collect enough stars in the Cardboard Box, and you’re allowed to progress to the Fabric Box. Get enough stars there, and you can go on to the Toy Box. And from there . . . you get to pay for the next levels.

You may think that your progress through the game is measured by points. It isn’t. The trick is in the stars.

Here are a few more tricks:

  • Don’t get hung up on finishing a level. If you get frustrated, remember that you only need to catch one star and feed Om Nom, and you’re granted access to the next level.

  • If you’re in an impossible position (believe me, it happens a lot), just cut the candy free or click the circle-arrow in the upper-right corner to start the level all over again.

  • If you encounter blue dotted circles with slider bars, think about moving the slider bar — and, thus, the circle — before you start cutting ropes.

Throw ol’ Om Nom a bone.

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