The Average Gamer

Xperia PLAY Gaming

Sony Ericsson - LogoSony Ericsson invited me along to an Xperia PLAY event in central London last week to play some of the hottest games available for the smartphone. To start off the event a few games were demoed on an Xperia PLAY linked up to a massive TV using the phone’s HDMI output. Sadly, this was a special presentation-only Xperia PLAY that is not for sale. Not yet anyway.

Dead Space

Dead Space caught my eye with its stunning graphics and with the controls now assigned to the joypad, they no longer get in the way of the on screen action. The control method is the only real change from the excellent iOS versions which I previewed earlier this year.

Sleepy Jack

The Wild West level from the upcoming Sleepy Jack game was shown off for the first time. Resembling a trippy version of Atari’s classic futuristic racer S.T.U.N. Runner, I watched as a small boy called Jack hurtled down a giant circular semi-transparent track hovering miles above the ground. The aim of the game is to collect Z’s to keep Jack asleep as the game world is made up of his dreams. You also have to avoid other obstacles and bogymen littered throughout the tracks which gradually wake Jack up when you collide with them. It did look like a lot of fun. Fast paced with simple controls and as I mentioned before a little bit trippy.


It was revealed during the event that the actual size of the FIFA 12 mobile version (i.e. the amount of code) is ten times the size of FIFA 10. So expect a very significant upgrade in the quality of graphics in FIFA 12.
FIFA 12 on Android will be exclusive to the Xperia PLAY from release in Nov/Dec 2011 until the 21st Feb 2012.

Then it was time for me to get hands-on with a shiny new Xperia PLAY phone and lots of games.


If you’ve never played the original wipEout game then this is the perfect place to start. It is exactly the same game that was released back in 1995 on the PS1 even down to loading screens. Make no mistake this is one tough racer. Hit the track sides or tangle with the other competitors and your ship will grind to an abrupt halt. There is no skimming the walls or pilot assist to mollycoddle you through the races. This is raw, uncompromising futuristic racing.
Xperia PLAY - wipEout
Thankfully my wipEout skills were still intact as I won the first race on the iconic Altima VII track. Admittedly I was a bit rusty around some of the corners. I’d also forgotten how tight some areas of the track are but the years of wipEout racing burned into my brain meant that I was quickly back in the racing groove. The ultimate challenge in wipEout is to achieve a perfect lap at rapier speed around the impossibly slippy Silverstream track. Somehow, 15 years ago, I did just that.

If you have an Xperia PLAY this is the definitive futuristic racing game. A must buy.

WipEout is available now on the Android Marketplace for £3.99p.

Battlefield Bad Company 2

DICE’s hit first person shooter is now available for the Xperia PLAY and first impressions are good. I was presented with a huge choice of different control methods – touch screen with half the screen for movement and the other half for aiming and firing your weapons/crouching etc, touch screen with icons or the Xperia PLAY joypad controls. Whilst I like the onscreen controls for a game like Dead Space on my iPad, with the smaller Xperia PLAY screen the joypad controls are ideal. You just can’t beat using buttons and a D-pad to play a game; I don’t care how fancy your touch screen or motion controls are.
Xperia PLAY - Battlefield Bad Company 2
I’m not going to bore you with all the game details – it looks and plays like a Battlefield game. This version doesn’t have a multiplayer mode, which is a bit of an omission as the iOS versions do support multiplayer games. But there are still 14 single-player levels set across 5 different battle zones which involve getting from A to B by killing/blowing up everything in-between to keep you occupied. I liked the lock-to-target aiming assist which made me look like a real sharpshooter at times. If you’ve ever played against me online in an FPS you will know that is definitely not the case. The graphics are impressive featuring some nicely detailed environments with lots of things to hide behind during the frequent fire-fights.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 is available now via the Get Games App on the Xperia PLAY.

They Need To Be Fed

In They Need To Be Fed I had to collect diamonds on each of the levels to feed to the hungry cute monster guarding the exit. It’s a simple concept coupled with simple graphics to produce some addictive gameplay. My character was also limited to moving sideways and jumping making it very easy for me to start playing the game as soon as it had loaded. No long drawn out tutorial level required. Yay.
Xperia PLAY - They Need To Be Fed
The increasingly complex levels were composed of floating blocks, some of which spin, making the timing of my leaps to the next block that much harder. I wasn’t able fall to my death as each block has its own mini gravity field which pulled me back onto it. Instead the many, many spiky objects found throughout the levels happily killed me instantly. Again and again.

Just like Angry Birds, They Need To Be Fed is a game at which I just had to have one more go. It’s annoyingly addictive. As all the levels are fairly short this is the perfect pick up and play game; ideal for commuting.

They Need To Be Fed is available now on the Android Marketplace for £0.61p.

PewPew 2

Looking like a cross between Geometry Wars and Super Stardust, PewPew 2 is an all-out shooter. Blast everything in sight whilst trying to survive the onslaught of bullets, enemy ships and asteroids. I was able to fire bullets in any direction using either the right analogue nub or the buttons with the left nub pad controlling my ship.
Xperia PLAY - Pew Pew 2
It’s fast, colourful and frenetic and requires some ninja level reflexes to survive for a decent length of time. So I didn’t last long. Even on easy this is one tough game. There are 7 other game modes available each with a slightly different take on the blow everything up concept. Whilst I enjoyed the time I spent playing PewPew 2, I can’t see myself spending hours and hours playing the game. This is another one of those games to play when you need to kill some time waiting for a train/dental appointment or whilst on the loo.

PewPew 2 is available now on the Android Marketplace for £1.79p.

Other notable games that take advantage of the Xperia PLAY’s joypad are Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Roboto and of course Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Expect some more big game announcements for the Xperia PLAY at the Tokyo Game Show from the 15th – 18th Sep 2011.

Xperia PLAY is available now on contract from O2, Orange, Vodafone, Three, T Mobile or handset only £299.99.