Child of Eden screenshot
Child of Eden screenshot

That's the gist of it, anyway. Mizuguchi was playing as all this was explained to me, and although I tried to take coherent notes (oh God I tried), my efforts were largely futile. This is one of those games that's incredibly hard to take your eyes off, so when I referred to my notepad to type up this preview, I was met with an assortment of strange scribbles that barely resembled words at all.

Each level in Child of Eden is referred to as an Archive, a layer of Lumi's conscious that takes on a life of its own. Matrix, Evolution, Beauty, Passion and Journey comprise the five layers of her being, although Mizuguchi teased that meeting certain requirements could unlock a hidden sixth area too. Each Archive has its own unique aesthetic, enemies and bosses. Beauty, for example, is brought to life with soft pink hues, butterflies and floral enemies firing off spore-based projectiles. Passion, on the other hand, was more industrial, built from gears and intricate mechanisms, with mechanical birds loitering the skies, teasing your reticule.

Towards the end of the session, I surrendered my body in favour of the cool hard plastic of a control pad. It's a strange logistical complaint to make, but holding your arms out in front of you for extended periods of time can start to ache. This problem will likely disappear as your muscles acclimatise to the movements, of course. Despite using the technology well, I couldn't escape the feeling that the game was a better fit with a pad. Navigating the screen with an analogue stick is simply easier than with floaty limbs. It's much easier to snap onto enemies, too, and unloading your weaponry feels far more natural.

Don't get me wrong, Kinect works just fine, but those serious about their rhythm action shooters (and there's a small army of them) will adopt the pad fairly quickly. I'm intrigued to see how the Move-enabled PS3 version compares, but this option was not something available to me when I saw the game.

Ultimately, words fail to do it justice. Like Rez, Child of Eden is an incredibly sensory experience. It's strange that, what is essentially a shooter, can be so relaxing. Amidst the flurry of projectiles and boppy music, there's a inexplicably meditative quality to Child of Eden. It's a strange game, for sure, but at the same time one of 2011's most interesting titles.

Child of Eden is available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in June

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Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 17/06/2011
Developer: Q Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 3,004 10
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