SuperRope (free!) by Craneballs Studios involves ropes, pigs, pianos and helicopter hats. And if none of that appeals, it also includes octopi, aliens and a sausage who bites his lip with concentration as he climbs through space. If nothing else, the game should at least contain something for everyone.
You’re tasked with ascending ropes by hopping between them as you encounter obstacles, which can either lurk in the environment, on ropes themselves or plummet from above. Toy planes, for example, hurtle downwards from the top of the screen and knock you to the ground if you don’t hop from their course in time. It becomes quite a skill avoiding danger, especially at the hardest difficulty. Thankfully, cowards (including me) can avoid overly strenuous challenge by opting to play the game at lower difficulty levels. The higher you ascend, the more points you collect and the more ‘funky stars’ you earn. If you hit an obstacle, it’s game over.
Funky stars can be used to buy new characters to play as, new environments to play in and new power-ups to play with. There are a massive number of items and situations to unlock through the ‘Funky Store’, meaning that despite being free, the game contains a lot of content. Funky Stars can also be purchased via in-app purchase, and collected by completing advertising-related tasks, like signing up to websites, enabling (unobtrusive) in-game advertisements and watching videos that advertise other apps. These possibilities wisely give you the flexibility of not having any in-game apps or costs if you wish to avoid them. Unfortunately, Funky Stars are too difficult to obtain through playing the game considering how easy it is to gain them through other methods – watching a fifteen second video unlocks 200 stars; playing through the game for 30 seconds earns about 25 stars. The incentive to play the game in order to unlock new items is thus reduced; they are far easier to obtain through less fun means. Nearly all of the items available cost 1000 funky stars or more – it would take a very long time to unlock all of the 60 or so items available through just playing the game.
Variety is added to the gameplay through short accelerometer sections. If you collect a rocket or helicopter hat, your chosen character flies upwards through the air; tilting the device moves him left or right as he ascends. Otherwise, the game is controlled through tapping the left or right of the screen to jump left or right. This tapping mechanism is accurate and responsive, ensuring that the game experience isn’t hindered by bad controls. You can also swipe left or right to control your character, but this control method is too inaccurate and slow.
Visually, the game is simple and charming to look at. In-game animations are particularly smooth. The variety of environments to play in (from green hills to space) means that artwork also varies a lot; SuperRope’s graphics don’t get boring. The same can’t be said for the soundtrack, which feels too repetitively upbeat. I soon got annoyed with the in-game music, and became even more irritated when I found out that I couldn’t listen to my own music when playing the game.
Overall, SuperRope is great fun, and for free there’s every reason to download it. The game has its flaws, but ultimately none of them get in the way of the game experience.