Child of Eden

Child of Eden Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3

Child of Eden is a multi-sensory shooter that will send players diving into a kaleidoscopic matrix of synchronized music and mind-blowing visuals that will usher forth a landmark game experience.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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Child of Eden screenshot
Child of Eden screenshot

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.

Music knits each stage together, complimenting the difficulty of each section, giving it peaks and troughs. It's hard to imagine anything but the soothing electronic beats of Genki Rockets supplying the music for the game. In a very meta-sense, it's a perfect fit for the narrative, too. Lumi is the very face of Genki Rockets - the hybrid band in which Mizuguchi has some involvement - and as each level builds towards its thunderous crescendo, images of the young star-child intertwine with the abstract geometry. It's clear at these points you're doing a good job. The digital disease is being successfully vanquished.

Child of Eden might be a fantastical journey through an otherworldly ether, beautiful and hypnotic, but it's still a game. Your performance is graded at the end of each level, with up to three stars reflecting your score.

Completing one archive does not necessarily unlock the next. You'll need to amass a set number of stars to open the next level. While often it's nice to be gently pushed into replaying a level with the incentive of high scores and rewards, it's never nice to be forced. In Child of Eden, there's no progression without repetition. I completed Evolution (the shortest archive, as far as I can tell), no less than five times in order to amass enough stars to finish the game.

A lack of checkpoints also frustrated me somewhat. Dying at the very end of a 15 minute level – which happens a fair amount until you're familiar with the exact pattern of harder sections – boots you right back to the menu screen, where you're simply forced to try the whole thing again. In some ways, I appreciated the strictness of it all, the slightly retro nature of the game. At the same time, I just resented having to repeat large chunks over and over again.

It's probably a good thing though, thinking about it. I completed the game in a paltry three hours, which would have been less if I hadn't had to replay so much. On top of this, though, there is a sixth archive to unlock, which has levels within itself, presenting a more score-focused way to play. There are other reasons to keep playing, too. Completing an archive offers one of four organic lifeforms to furnish Lumi's Garden - the interactive menu that precedes the game. Filling the garden with each and every one of these collectibles takes some time - but it's worth it. As I've spoken about before, Lumi's garden is a fascinating little time-waster in it's own right.

Mizuguchi believes that games can change the world, and that the medium is to become more and more of a sensory experience. Child of Eden is a great example of this vision. It combines visuals and audio in a way that only Rez has managed to do before it. It's a welcome palette cleanser in a particularly heavy year of violent shooters.

Close your eyes after playing, and a carnival of neon sea-creatures and fluorescent shapes will pulsate under your eye-lids. Child of Eden will linger in your conscious long after playing. While it's a fleeting and - on rare occasions - frustrating experience, it'll leave its mark on 2011 in just the same way.

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6 Comments

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87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah

Disappointing that its a short game but I still would love to experience this when the price is right for me for both kinect and Child of Eden (and an Xbox :( )
Posted 12:17 on 16 June 2011
Jamin's Avatar

Jamin@ CheekyLee

Lee -- I haven't played - nor had the opportunity to play - the Move version just yet. It's not out 'til September or something, so we haven't had code in.

I'd imagine it'd work fairly well, though. Although the 'experience' wouldn't quite be the same, I fear.
Posted 10:40 on 16 June 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive@ CheekyLee

To me the Move seems like it would be an even better fit for this as it's more responsive to input with no lag and is a good middle ground between motion and controller, so you get the rumble and the motion control together, as well as having more precise control.

That said, Kinect makes this a better alternative to normal gaming, so as an experience it's probably better, rather than as a controller.
Posted 10:01 on 16 June 2011
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

The ONLY game in existence that makes me want a Kinect. I am intrigued, as so far I have not seen a review for the PS3 version, and I want to know how the Move functionality fits in. Do you have any information on this, Jamin? I am sure Kinect will be the best way to play, but Move is cheaper, and controller is cheaper still! What I am basically trying to find out is if I should wait until I have a Kinect to play this, or dive in anyway?
Posted 09:53 on 16 June 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

Great review Jamin. Some thing I might pick up at some point as I did enjoy Rez and would love you be spaced out with this
Posted 09:39 on 16 June 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

That review was a fantastic read, Jamin. Thanks. I might consider picking this up at the right price.
Posted 15:21 on 15 June 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Child of Eden
8
Out of 10
Child of Eden
  • Great Kinect integration
  • Combines visuals and audio like nothing else
  • Forces repetition
  • Over in 90 minutes
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/06/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Q Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 7,955 266
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