At every one of these gaming shows (it's GDC Online this week, which I'm at for TUAW), there's usually a "game of the show" that emerges. It's something, either on the show floor or demoing behind closed doors, that everyone starts to talk about. The buzz starts at parties and in the hallways, and then it carries over into panels and starts to crop up in those casual discussions about "what you've seen this week." But so far, the game everyone's talking about this week isn't even on display at the show. Epic's Mark Rein even recommended Chillingo's newest title, Cut the Rope, to me. It's a brand new game that's already making a huge splash this week (as of this writing, it was number two on the App Store paid list), and it's all the rage among app developers and journalists here at GDC.
The phrase being passed around is "Angry Birds meets Fruit Ninja," and those comparisons are apt. The idea is that you guide a little piece of candy, by cutting ropes and manipulating other items in the environment, to a cute little monster that's hungrily trying to eat it. Cut the Rope has the cute characters of Angry Birds and the fun, tactile interaction of Fruit Ninja all wrapped up into one extremely polished and shiny package. For only US$0.99, you get four stages full of levels, three stars to collect in each level (to add replayability), and to top it all off, Game Center integration for achievements and leaderboards. The iPad version is $1.99, but there's also a lite version on that device to check out.
I'm not even that big of an Angry Birds fan, but I found myself giggling as I pulled off Cut the Rope's little puzzles. I was very charmed by Om Nom, the little monster who just wants that hanging candy. Cut the Rope has just barely gone live, and this is an app that is already getting into people's heads.