The device looks like a thicker version of the standard Android phone released in the past year. The obvious addition to the formula is a slide-out controller that mimics the layout of a PlayStation Portable.
All of the standard PlayStation buttons are accounted for, including a touchpad and shoulder triggers.
The Xperia PLAY fits in the hands very well. The phone is a little bit bulkier than most, due to the added pullout controller, but that doesn’t interfere with playing or interrupt the action in any way.
I tested Crash Bandicoot on the device, as I figured a complete PlayStation port could be done. And for the most part, I was right. The game looked almost identical to the original.
The rest of the game lineup is robust, but the same cannot be said for its quality. Games from the Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, Call of Duty and Splinter Cell series are available for download. Don’t expect the same gameplay as on the main consoles, though.
The biggest disappointment is the screen resolution of the phone. An 854 x 480 pixel resolution is paltry for a phone dedicated to bringing a handheld quality gaming experience to the table.
The Xperia PLAY seems to be a stopgap device intended to keep gamers satisfied until the PlayStation Vita releases. Sony is betting its next handheld will rival the current consoles on the market.
The big question lies in whether gamers even want to pay for a handheld device anymore. The rise of iPhone and Android games has certainly taken its toll on the devices from Nintendo and Sony.
Nintendo just dropped the price of its Nintendo 3DS due to lackluster sales numbers. Perhaps gamers would rather pay less for a cheaper game than more for a bigger experience.
After all, mobile games are best used as time wasters while out and about. They kill time perfectly while waiting on someone.
Add to the fact that many Xperia PLAY games are not as impressive as much cheaper Android titles, and it’s easy to get quickly soured on this phone.
The premise is strong, but the delivery is subpar. Lack of software for the Xperia PLAY takes the overall PSP-esque experience down several notches. However, the phone does have the entire Android library of games to play. Then again, so does every other phone running Google’s OS.
Gamers looking for an Android phone should opt for a more recently released model and wait for the PlayStation Vita to get their fix.