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Portabliss: Cut the Rope: Experiments

Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: Cut the Rope: Experiments!

Cut the Rope: Experiments is one of the most aptly-named apps ever released on the iOS platform. Though it largely focuses on the tether-slicing, physics-manipulating puzzles that made the franchise's first, subtitleless iteration so delightful, it includes two bold new mechanics that completely change the face of the game. (And what an adorable face it is!)

It's the success of these two new aspects that alleviated my hesitance about this standalone title: It's functionally the same as the free updates to the original Cut the Rope, only significantly less free.

The first of these mechanics is a static button you can press to attach a new rope to Om Nom's coveted candy. The rope is fired from the button, requiring perfect timing to get the length of rope you need to solve the puzzle. It's a hectic addition that throws a monkey wrench into the mix -- after a couple hundred levels of rope-cleaving, it takes a while to get acclimated to rope-creating.

The second is far more difficult to wrap your mind around: It's a suction cup which you can stick and unstick to and from the background at will. The cup, which connects to the candy with a rope, serves as an anchor point, allowing you to alter the trajectory of your candy mid-drop. Some puzzles require you to manage two cups, resulting in some satisfying sequences of sucker-over-sucker swinging.

Each feature has its own 25-level stage, which are joined by another 25 tutorial levels which are mostly pulled from the multitude of boxes from the original Cut the Rope. If you're new to the series, it's a nice way to briskly move through the mechanics of the original game's updates. If you're a veteran cutter, it's more than a little repetitive.

Sure, bonus boxes for this franchise are characteristically on-the-house, but Experiments' pair of clever new features more than justify its 99 cent asking price. Given Zepto Labs' proclivity for bolstering its games with free content, it's tough to harbor any ill will about the monetization. After all, an Om Nom's gotta eat.

Cut the Rope: Experiments is available from the iOS App Store for .99. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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