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Spider Jack Review
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Spider Jack, Clickgamer’s casual physics puzzler that bears more than a passing resemblance to Cut The Rope, is now available from the app store. Despite its similarities to Om Nom’s domain, there are a few key differences that set the two apart and allow us to enjoy both in their own ways.

Spider Jack Pros:

  • Nice cartoonish presentation
  • Controls are responsive and effective at accomplishing goals
  • Cheery, bubbly soundtrack fits the silly nature of the game
  • Does add a couple of elements to differentiate from competition
  • GameCenter and Crystal integration for leaderboards and achievements

Spider Jack Cons:

  • Not as polished as Cut The Rope, with fewer levels
  • Rehashes old ideas rather than innovating with new obstacles
  • Gifting to unlock bonus levels is an undesirable element
  • Cannot affect Jack’s speed in any way

Spider Jack currently contains 75 levels of play spread across three rooms: Barn, Bathroom, and Laboratory. Each world has a distinctive look in keeping with the room theme, and the final 5 levels in each are only unlockable once you ”gift” them to a friend, a marketing maneuver that we did not care for. Jack is a hungry little arachnid, whose goal is to reach the fly trapped in the out-of-the-way web. He makes his way through each level by slinging his web at various anchor points, allowing him to swing along the length of the web, while climbing up the length of the strand and shortening its length. This is one of the major differences between the doppelganger games. Cut The Rope’s rope lengths are fixed, while Jack’s change as he climbs. Sadly, Jack moves fairly slowly and there’s no way to stop his ascent or speed it up, which caused a number of timing-related electricity mishaps that led to some frustrations.

Swiping across the web cuts the strand, allowing gravity and momentum to take over. Here lies another major difference between Jack and CTR. While cutting a rope from an anchor point in CTR renders it unusable for the remainder of the level, Jack can reuse anchor points again and again, provided he is close enough to them. Connecting to anchor points in Jack is also a deliberate and manual decision that requires a simple tap on the anchor, while CTR connects you automatically if you get within a certain radius, whether you want to or not. Of course, the requisite dangers and obstacles from CTR (electricity, bubbles, teleporters, etc.) are also present in Spider Jack to up the difficulty of snagging the 3 stars spread throughout each level. Collected stars will unlock the next set of levels, so be sure to snag as many as possible. Your score in each level is also impacted by your speed, so be sure to make haste as you head toward your meal.

We loved the cartoonish graphic style of Cut The Rope, so it’s no surprise that Spider Jack’s is equally as appealing, though there is something decidedly cuter about Om Nom than Jack’s green hairy spider. Also, the delicious candy in CTR was way more appealing than an immobilized house fly. The animations are good, and the physics are serviceable, though it doesn’t feel quite as tight as CTR. Level design is CTR seems to best Spider Jack, as well, with more of a puzzling feel throughout as opposed to Jack’s tendency toward open spaces and sparse obstacles. The soundtrack is sweet and cheery, as you’d expect for a casual game of this caliber. Controls are strictly touch-based, and they do work very well, which was one of our early knocks against CTR, especially when attempting the multi-touch gestures that are notably absent from Spider Jack.

Replay value is derived from the need to go back and snag the stars that you missed during the initial play through, as well as improve your level scores through efficient gameplay. GameCenter and Crystal integration offers global leaderboards for each set of levels and a couple dozen achievements to earn. At $0.99, Spider Jack is a pretty solid 3.5-Dimple repackaging of a personal favorite.

Spider Jack Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-05-14T20:02:31+00:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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