Cut The Rope, Burn The Rope, Burn It All – iPhone gamers seem to have a slight obsession with puzzle games that involve destroying ropes. The way I figure it, as long as the games are fun, that’s perfectly okay. It’s even better when you throw in the element of fire – that way I can play with flames without burning my house down! Of course my biggest fear with Burn It All was that it was going to feel too much like Burn The Rope, but thankfully they are completely different games, aside from the whole burning thing. I don’t even have to worry about my headphones getting tangled with Burn It All either.
The premise behind each level is simple: burn everything that will catch on fire. You have a certain amount of time with which to accomplish this task or you fail the level. You can also earn up to three gems per level depending on how quickly you finish the level, though it is possible to complete a level without earning any gems. When you beat a level a new one is unlocked, and when you complete all the levels in a world the next world is opened up for you. There are currently 4 worlds with a total of 100 levels, and there’s a spot for a fifth world in the menu system, so hopefully we’ll see that one day.
To start a fire you drag a flame from its starting point to whatever you want to set on fire. There are three different types of flames, each with their own abilities. The yellow is the weakest, and can only burn ropes starting from the end of the rope. The blue flame can burn a rope starting from anywhere and can also burn wood. The green flame can burn anything and can set multiple things on fire before needing to be refueled, but it takes the longest to recharge. In addition to simply running out of time, you’ll also get obstacles like stone (which can’t be burnt), drops of water that will put your flame out, and jets of gas that can be both good and bad. My biggest obstacle, unfortunately, is that sometimes my finger gets in the way and I can’t tell what’s going on. You don’t have to be directly on the flame to control it, but in my opinion the screen really isn’t big enough for relative control.
This is a bit of a spoiler, but I want to mention it because it’s probably the coolest mechanic of the game. Once you get into the third and fourth worlds you get the benefit of the “time loop”, which actually lets you play a level twice with two different flames! This is usually necessary because there are parts that can’t be destroyed by the first flame you get, but can be taken care of with the second flame. The trick is figuring out how to maximize the use of your first flame so that you can make the most of your second flame when the time comes. These levels are some of the most interesting but also the most challenging. I have quite a few that I skated by with nothing more than a “win” (I had no gems) just because I wanted to see what came next.
The visuals in Burn It All are quite nice. The board layouts look good, with a nice mix of rock, rope and wood. And of course everything looks nifty when it’s on fire. There are also some cool special effects like when a drop of water hits your flame or a gas jet accelerates your lighting ability. The sound effects are decent as well, especially when it comes to the little noises and occasional words like “fire” that the flames utter. The music is well written and there are enough tunes (at least from what I can tell) that you shouldn’t get bored with the soundtrack.
Burn It All is another extremely entertaining puzzle game, with enough differences from the pack to make it worth delving into. Just a tad bit more variety on non-rope items that can burn would be nice, but at least there was something besides ropes to begin with. The difficulty level gets somewhat extreme in the end, so don’t expect this to be a walk in the park, but it should keep the hardcore gamers happy. Between trying to achieve 3 gems on 100 levels and attempting to earn all the achievements, you won’t run out of game to play for quite a while. I think the base mechanic of Burn The Rope was a bit more novel, but in the end I found Burn It All to more accessible.