The latest game from the makers of Mr Jump is a tough-but-fair puzzler that will make you think – but do you need a super sharp mind to enjoy it?
Price: $1.99 / £1.49
Size: 10.6 MB
Developer: 1Button SARL
Super Sharp, like every game from 1Button studios, is extraordinarily simple in both graphics and gameplay. The understated presentation allows the game mechanics and level design to shine, and luckily it’s pretty good.
Using the swipe-to-slice mechanic popularized by games like Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja, Super Sharp sees you maneuvering shapes around the screen with only a cutting knife and the laws of physics on your side. Split a colored block just right to make it slide over and hit the matching-colored target. Level complete. Easy, right?
Well, it starts easy. Throw in some challenges involving gravity, momentum, timing and weights and before long you’ve got some complex puzzles borne of very straightforward mechanics. We won’t go into too much detail on the gameplay, because half the fun is figuring it out for yourself. Rest assured the game does a good job of easing you into new ideas before they get too tricky.
This game is more about experimentation than preparation, with quick retries encouraged and no penalty for going nuts with the cuts just to see what happens. Some of the levels can be completed almost by accident, while others require you to forget the trial and error and put your spatial awareness and problem solving skills to full use.
With levels variously incorporating pins, fins, spinning rings, swinging strings and springy things, there’s a whole host of ideas at play here. Although some techniques are inevitably recycled, the levels are generally pretty inventive and manage to avoid becoming too samey.
Puzzles can be completed with any number of slices you like, but to earn each level’s coveted bonus star requires you to think carefully and complete the challenge in as few swipes as possible. Finish under par and you’ll be rewarded – the stars are used to unlock later levels, so perfecting each stage is pretty important.
Super Sharp includes a generous 120 levels of increasingly difficult puzzles, unlockable in batches of 15. Towards the end they get seriously tough – at the time of writing only seven players (out of 50,000 or so on game center) have a perfect score from collecting all the stars. Some levels suffer from feeling a little too ‘random,’ requiring multiple attempts just to get a lucky bounce or nail a super-precise angle. It’s always satisfying to finally best a tricky level, though.
Though this is a premium game, there are some in-app purchases available. Thankfully though, they’re essentially cheat codes to unlock new worlds without earning the mandatory number of stars. It seems a fair way for the developers to make a few extra bucks without affecting the gameplay – every level is available if you’re good enough, and the pacing of the unlocks feels about right.
Super Sharp is best played in short bursts. It’s easy to get completely stuck on a tough level only to come back with a fresh head and complete it first time. The important thing is that it makes you want to come back and try again.
It’s not as addictive as the wildly successful Mr Jump, but thankfully it’s not nearly as infuriating either. Ultimately this is a nice brain-stretcher of a game that’s compelling without pushing too many boundaries. Definitely worth a shot if you’re a fan of puzzles. Or slicing things up.