The little robot with the TV for a head returns for another slice of platforming action about turning the lights back on. Is Cordy 2 an electrifying success or does it just sputter and die?
What’s it like, then, playing Cordy 2? Well… it’s okay. It’s fine. It does the job. It’s a happy, sunny, welcoming little adventure, beautifully put together, easy to get the hang of yet surprisingly tricky to complete one hundred percent. None of its minor flaws should be even close to a dealbreaker. At the same time, there are times when Cordy 2 feels more like an information kiosk than a game. It’s upbeat and helpful, true, yet so utilitarian and completely lacking in any surprises there doesn’t feel like much of a personality under that perky grin the hero’s constantly sporting.
Cordy, the little robot with the TV for a head has his victory lap from the first game rudely interrupted when his spaceship’s brought down on a new, hitherto uncharted world. The evil robot general Boogaloo’s turned off the power and only Cordy’s got the knowhow to flip the switches back on. Off he goes, running, leaping, swinging, flying and puzzle-solving; you know the drill. Collect at least one of the six battery charges in every level and make it to the finish line, then smack some sense into the bad guy at the end of each world and it’s job done. Snag yourself every hidden doodad along the way, too, if you feel so inclined.
The first Cordy was an Android exclusive to begin with, and something of a showpiece for just how good mobile games were starting to look. Silvertree’s proprietary tech was capable of some very eye-catching results even on hardware two generations old or more, with levels flying along at a speed that’d do Sonic proud. It was notable for some smart controls, too, big virtual buttons that were forgiving enough anyone could start playing pretty quickly but responsive to the point you could pull off some satisfyingly acrobatic manoeuvres with a little practice.
Under the hood
Cordy 2 doesn’t change much under the hood. The controls are largely the same: left, right, jump and a context-sensitive action button. All the old building blocks are still there, springboards, ramps, places to hook onto and swing from. Levels are much bigger, though, with far more emphasis on flinging Cordy around off speed boosts. Special powers mix this up a little – wall-climbing, smashing through breakable blocks and the like – though they’re fairly standard stuff and more geared towards getting you going faster still. Enemies are far more varied, but it’s largely cosmetic given their weak points are all pretty similar.
While it’s not a particularly difficult game it’s noticeably tougher than the original, and this does start to grate in places. You get a star for beating each level, for hunting down all the battery charges and for beating the clock. Try and collect everything and you could well come in way past the par time. Not a problem – until you hit one of the levels that stay locked until you’ve netted a certain number of stars, and suddenly you notice grinding for more doesn’t feel as much fun as it should. It’s happy and perky and all the rest of it but everything’s pretty much the same each play, and definitely something of a chore for all the constant bouncing around.
Cordy 2 is hardly workmanlike, exactly – Silvertree are way too talented for that. It’s still one of the better platformers on mobile hardware and finding the optimal route through every level can be rewarding, up to a point. Playing with the controls, swinging the little guy ever higher or tearing through a maze of pinball bumpers conveys a sense of fun that’s rare on iOS or Android. But it’s a curiously empty experience, too. Silvertree have a history in licensed online games for a younger audience, and you sense that’s not necessarily a great thing. They’ve got the technical chops, bar the odd small physics glitch here and there, but they don’t seem so great at coming up with truly memorable art design.
It’s there in the lack of any real fine detail, just silly little jokes and predictable settings. It’s there in the huge amount of cosmetic in-app purchases, some of which feel just a little uncomfortable (completely optional, yes, but three dollars for what amounts to a palette swap?). It’s there in the feeling you’ve seen all this before. Cordy 2 is fine. It’s a solid, smartly produced piece of entertainment, but for all the swing in its step both its world and its bobble-headed hero don’t really do too much to win you over beyond the basics.
Cordy 2, by Silvertree, is now available for selected Android phones and tablets (reviewed) and iOS devices.