So... Think you're the Sultan of Sokoban? The Titan of Tiles? The Big Cheese of Block Pushing? HA! Let's see how you fare now that James Newcombe has come back with a new release in his popular Amiga-inspired Cyadonia series. There'll be all sorts of things to trip you up: pushblocks, dissolvers, switches, glue patches, bounce-backs, teleporters, one-way walls, and much, much more. It's Cyad 2, and it's ready to bring you all the pleasures of pure puzzling.
As before, the goal is to use the [arrow] keys to guide the Cyad Cross to the green X-it. When you tap a key, the Cross will continue in that direction until it hits a wall or another obstacle. Many levels will not unlock the X-it until all the diamonds therein are collected. Others have a time limit. New wrinkles are introduced as time goes on, like the kill-upon-collision mines and the redirecting-momentum arrows. All the levels are unlocked from the start, however, so if you get stuck, salvation is just a key tap away.
Analysis: Cyadonia was one of the sleeper puzzling hits of 2009, and Cyadonia 2 is just the perfect sequel to remind you why this game is so awesome. Its one hundred levels are nothing to sneeze at, especially when they are this good.
It is probably too simplistic an analysis to say that Cyad 2 captures the quality that the original had in raw quantity, but make no mistake: this is very much a streamlined game, and there are very few duds in the collection of challenges herein. The streamlining shows that Newcombe definitely paid close attention to player suggestions, and the result is the rare kind of sequel that new players will feel just as comfortable playing as old. Elements of the previous game that didn't work (most particularly the ill-fitting action elements and "slowdown" mode) are removed, and new ones more fitting to the central sobokan concept take their place. It's still filled-to-bursting with all sorts of tile-pushing ideas, but here they build upon each other much better into a unified whole.
Stylistically, unlike the original and its thematic level packs, there's more of an emphasis on the gimmicks of individual levels. The abstracted story-telling of the original was one of its high points, so it was a little disappointing at first to see it have an apparently lesser focus. However, it soon becomes clear that nothing has been lost: the levels being self-contained allow for a lot more variety in their "plots", and if a concept can be expressed in one level rather than fifteen, it makes for a tighter game overall. One thing that would have been appreciated is the return of the "Timer Off" option, since some of the limits can get pretty stringent.
Sliding block games tend to be love-em-or-hate-em affairs, but if you do love 'em, obviously you want ones that have thought and a passion for the genre evident throughout. Cyad 2 is that kind of game. All that remains is to choose some music to play in the background, since, there's no sound. The fusion-rocker in me wants the appropriately-titled Muse track, but then again, you can't go wrong with the classics.