Cyadonia is a new sliding block puzzle game in the vein of Blockoban or Orbox B, and well you might wonder why you would need such a thing. Especially when you first start up Cyadonia, it seems like a poor cousin to some recent entries in the field of schlepping blocks from A to B. There's no sound, the puzzle designs seem basic, and the main character is an insubstantial-looking Iron Cross that morphs and twitches in a manner unbefitting of a hero. In my humble, obviously somewhat random, opinion.
What the simple production values are hiding is that James Newcombe, the author of Cyadonia, has packed the game with every idea for a tile-based puzzler you can think of, including pushable blocks, lasers, teleports, bouncy blocks, key-and-lock combinations, invisible blocks, mines, remote-controlled blocks, remote-controlled mines, remote-controlled sandwiches, remote-controlled mirrors for reflecting lasers… actually wait. Maybe it would be easier if I listed the stuff Cyadonia doesn't feature:
Bunnies and ninjas.
There, that was easy. Anyway, there are tthhrreeee hhuunnddrreedd levels in Cyadonia, and such a number deserves to be written all stretched out like that. They are sub-divided between 20 smaller areas, and you can skip around freely between sections, though bear in mind that objects introduced in the earlier levels get re-used in the later, more complicated puzzles.
In a curious development for a Flash-based game, there is no mouse control whatsoever; even the menus are operated by keyboard. Just control your Cyad cross-thingy with the [arrow keys]. Press a direction, and it will shoot that way until it hits a wall. Your goal is to bring the Cyad to the green exit with a blinking X. On many levels, the exit block is inaccessible until you collect all the diamonds scattered about the room. Some levels have a timer.
Analysis: The downside of putting every idea you've ever had into a single game is that it might not do any one thing well. Cyadonia's puzzles don't always have the elegant, tuned feeling that I look for in my block-shoving excursions, and that's doubtless because the quality got spread out. However, there are just so many of them, with so many good ideas sprinkled into the mix, I have to give the complete experience a hearty (or rather, brainy) thumbs-up. Some of the giant puzzles later in the game are so convoluted and peppered with every trick in Cyadonia's considerable arsenal, they would make Chip's Challenge proud.
The sparse action elements are probably least successful; when you have to press a slow-motion key to help aim a laser through a wall gap, you're pretty far from Cohesive Puzzle Design Land, but if those things irritate you, feel free to solve one of the other 250 levels.
Likewise, if you're jonesing for the missing music, let me suggest the mellow electronic stylings of Newcolator's audio page.
There aren't really any brand-new ideas in Cyadonia, but it borrows so liberally from all across the tile puzzle spectrum, it feels more like culmination than exploitation. My favorite part of the game is how the later sections tell little abstract stories with their little abstract tiles, as though you are making your way room by room through an Aztec temple, for example. Basically, it's just a mammoth puzzle game with an incredible amount of variety. It could be tighter, but it couldn't be much more ambitious.