The physical controls of the Xperia Play offer up a whole world of opportunities for developers. They offer a precision of control that, when it comes to traditional action games a touchscreen alternative, however well done just cant compete with.
One of the most interesting prospects is the idea of a platformer that harnesses these controls and provides decent platform action that utilises the pad and buttons. Many people had assumed that there would only be a few Android platform games with controls mapped on to look forward to, but with Cordy we not only have a brand new game that makes brilliant use of the controls, but it also turns out to be a stonking platform game with bags of ideas, great gameplay and gorgeous graphics.
The game puts you in charge of the titular Cordy, a little droid who is out to return electric power to his world. To do this, you have to find a set amount of electric sparks on each level to power a battery meter. Once full, find and flick a switch that opens the door to the exit.
Simple enough, but the best platformers always are. A simple goal, but its how you get to that goal, and how well the developer uses the levels and changes the pace and pattern of the gameplay that matters, and Silvertree have delivered in spades.
You start in small levels, with rolling green platforms acting as ramps that allow you to build up speed and perform big jumps. There are a few basic block moving puzzles, with a few nice moments thrown in, and the game sees fresh and fast, but perhaps a little too easy and basic. The worry to begin with is that this is it, like so many games produced by small teams there will be a few ideas repeated over and over.
After a few levels, all fears are dispelled, as Silvertree start to stretch their legs and Cordy becomes an elaborate mix of speed and pixel perfect platforming. You gain the ability to swing around certain objects Spider-man style, and this is combined with boost pads, pressure blocks and many more things to create a whirlwind of a game. There are so many great objects to interact with, such as rotating blocks of wood that you can run around inside of, giant balls of steel that you have to outrun then jump backwards over and grappling points that are used with block puzzles and timed doorways to create some clever puzzles.
There are no real enemies in the game, save for a couple of puzzle based bosses, and there is no way of dying, but that really doesn’t detract from the difficulty at all, as this game is all about physical puzzles and fast reactions.
The game has the speed of Sonic mixed in with some of the inventiveness of Mario, and it works brilliantly and very rarely puts a foot wrong.
The graphics are fantastic, with a lovely art style to them and are fast and smooth and you have the option to switch between HD and non-HD versions. The levels are in pseudo 3D, but special ramps can shoot you to levels lying behind and in front of the current action, and things can get pretty complex when this happens. Many stages have turns that go into the screen with the actual level rotated to keep the action sideways. Thing of old Sega Saturn game Bug! as an example.
The music and sound effects are spot on, and suit the graphical style and pace of the game well.
Each level can be replayed to earn points for collecting all the stars lying around or to beat the set time for each stage. It is a great way of adding longevity to the already packed 27 levels. You can even unlock or buy hats for Cordy to wear in-game.
Overall this is a fabulous platform game and a stirring vindication of the Xperia Play. It is possible to turn off the buttons and use touchscreen controls, but when you do, Cordy loses a lot of its appeal as you then have to start thinking about the controls, which gets in the way of the experience. With a stunning look, spot on gameplay and a bag full of ideas, Cordy is a great little platform game.