There are two discernible differences between Child of Eden on PS3 and its 360 counterpart from four months earlier: Move support and 3D visuals. One is a subtle change that alters the control scheme slightly whilst giving arm waggling the addition of some tactile feedback; the other is the perfect compliment to the whimsical, ethereal experience that the game offers. Flying through the abstract space-internet of the future is a far more sensory experience in three dimensions.
Tetsuya Miziguchi’s audio-visual spectacular is an ambassador for the age-old 'games as art' debate; an experience that panders to the highbrow with an interactive kaleidoscope of colour, shape and sound. And yet at its core, it’s little more than a (very well disguised) on-rails shooter.
While the 360 version placed an emphasis on the Child of Eden 'experience', which was made possible without a controller thanks to Kinect, the PlayStation 3 version prefers to put something more tangible in your hand.
As you float through the abstract cosmos of Eden – a vast cyberspace you’ve been sent to purge a virus from, thus saving the first space-born human, Lumi, who has had her consciousness digitally stored there - your Move controller becomes a futuristic laser weapon. Move the reticule over enemies floating through the environment, and they'll automatically be locked onto; pressing the Trigger button will then send a stream of projectiles their way. Without locking onto to an enemy, you can press the Trigger button to release a stream of purple machine-gun bullets – the tracer, it’s called. At its core, the game is about knowing which method of attack to use and when.
Whilst you might feel like one, a five-point health bar in the corner of the screen emphasises the fact that you are not an omnipotent floating space wizard; you will get shot at. You'll quickly develop an eye for the colour purple, which denotes enemy projectiles hurtling towards the camera. Killing the source of these malicious missiles is usually a good way to go about surviving.
If you buy into the games narrative, you’re not actually ‘killing’ enemies at all; you’re purifying Eden of digital anomalies; the parasites of Lumi’s conscious. With each enemy you ‘delete’, a melodic cry rings through Eden. Different enemies produce different sounds; beeps and bops, plips and plops. Even the act of locking onto an enemy comes with its own musical motif, each adding to the soundtrack as a whole. Contributing to the sound and rhythm with a few majestic manoeuvres of your limbs is more satisfying than you might imagine.
The game is split across the five layers of Lumi’s consciousness, or 'archives' as they're known. These move through several themes, each punctuated with its own memorable set pieces and boss fights – if you can call them that. Where Beauty is constructed from rivers, butterflies and floral enemies, Passion offers a contrast of gears and intricate mechanisms, with trains, rockets and a network of satellites as targets.