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Xperia Play  header logo

Sleepy Jack


For: Xperia Play   Also on: Android, iPhone, iPad

Dreamy

Product: Sleepy Jack | Developer: SilverTree Media | Publisher: SilverTree Media | Format: Xperia Play | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Sleepy Jack Xperia Play, thumbnail 1
Cordy was a speedy and polished platformer that nestled perfectly into the Xperia Play’s niche. It was a little short, but it was a colourful mix of nippy movement and old-fashioned platforming with a focus on accessibility.

Now, developer SilverTree Media wants to do the same thing for the oft-ignored arcade flying genre with Sleepy Jack, and it passes with flying colours.

Land of odd

Sleepy Jack puts you in control of a slumbering child who has dreams of flying through the air in surreal yet vaguely recognisable environments.

Some of these flights are fairly harmless, while many are plagued with enemies in the form of Jack’s subconsciously mutated toy collection.  

The goal is basic enough – you fly forward constantly, while shooting down enemies with your ray gun and picking up Z-shaped collectibles that both recharge your health bar and count towards your final score.

As you might expect if you played Cordy, Sleepy Jack’s animation style is cartoony and very finely crafted, with Jack himself resembling the main character from James and the Giant Peach.

Rapid eye movement

The levels themselves are twisting psychedelic tunnels composed of planets, meteors, dinosaur bones, trains, cacti, submarines, shellfish, and anything else likely to invade Jack’s dreams.

We came across a couple of temporary graphical glitches, such as Jack’s model occasionally not appearing, but this isn’t enough in itself to detract from the otherwise lush visuals.

Levels are roughly split into three types: Shooting, Speed-runs, and Musical.

Shooting levels arm Jack with a few different weapons with which to fight swarms of enemies. On higher difficulty levels this feels almost like bullet-hell, with Jack dodging enemy fire and collecting weapon and shield power-ups amid the Zs.

In a Speed-run level you aim to pass through speed-boosting hoops and avoid crashes, while Music levels see Jack collecting musical notes to stay asleep. 

Forty kinks

The reflex-heavy game design works well thanks to Jack’s movement being tight and refined on the Xperia Play’s controls.

The X button fires (hold it and release to launch a volley) and the shoulder buttons select weapons. The D-pad or touchpad can both function as Jack’s movement, but the D-pad is a lot more friendly thanks to the ability to double-tap in a direction to perform a slow motion barrel roll.

The only problem here is that occasionally you'll double-tap by accident if you try to adjust your direction twice in quick succession, which happens quite often in such a speedy game.

This means you barrel roll past the point you were aiming for and sometimes receive a health-draining bump.

This and the game's the relatively short length (30 levels in the current version) are its only real bugbears. For the most part Sleepy Jack is well made and enjoyable, and even challenging at times.

While it may be about a boy trying desperately to (literally) catch some 'z's, Sleepy Jack is anything but tired.

 
Sleepy Jack
Reviewer photo
Brendan Caldwell | 10 October 2011
Brightly surreal visuals, some great shooting mechanics, and challenging boss battles make Sleepy Jack a dream worth having
 
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