Monday, December 13, 2010

App O' The Mornin': Free for Christmas!

Grades: A (Cut the Rope) & B (Ynth Xmas)
Prices: free!

I hope you've been watching for all the price drops flooding the App Store throughout December. There have been some great deals, including Axe in the Face for free yesterday.

A couple of fresh freebies hit the shop this weekend, gifts from their respective publishers:

Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift: Om Nom is back with 25 new puzzles in this free gift box straight from Santa's Chillingo workshop. This is a fairly light collection of puzzles. They're all very clever, but only a few of them are particularly difficult. They do, however, add a terrific new feature: Christmas stockings! These aren't stuffed with oranges and coal, but with the ability to warp space.

Candy goes in one stocking and comes out another. Even better, the momentum of the candy carries throughout its entire path. This means that candy will need to be traveling at a particular speed when it enters the stocking in order to correctly complete some puzzles. There are tricky setups, but if you finished the original batch of boxes, you're not going to find a super challenge here. This was probably intended to get new people hooked on Cut the Rope rather than to offer an advanced set of new puzzles for old hands.

Beyond Ynth Xmas Edition (also available in HD): I haven't done a full review of Beyond Ynth yet, mostly because I haven't played it enough to have an informed opinion. It's a beautifully designed game with clever mechanics, but also has some frustrating elements of trial-and-error. I'd like to see what the later levels look like before I say much more than that, but I just haven't had the patience the dig that deeply into it.

The Beyond Ynth Xmas Edition isn't quite a full "gift" like Cut the Rope. Rather than offering an entire set of levels, Beyond Ynth has essentially created a "lite" version set in an snowy landscape. That in itself is nice, since there was no demo/lite version of Ynth prior to this. The original game offered 80 levels across 4 environments, which works out to 20 levels per environment. The Xmas Edition offers only 5 levels, which is a little thin. It comes with a new story, which I promptly skipped, and offers a good taste of the main game, which costs $3. Ynth is getting a B this time around for skimping on the free levels, but the gameplay is pretty well A-level stuff.


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