Tree sprites swinging from silken strands? Trippy day-glo music and backgrounds? What the heck is this thing? Even if it seems mysterious, you only need a few second to be sucked in by one of the most absorbing games I’ve seen at E3– The latest PixelJunk game, Eden.
The controls are incredibly simple. You aim your little sprite anywhere in a circle, and he’ll automatically cling to the strands and stems that grow up from the ground. Jumping sends the little guy flying, and he’ll float/glide a short distance. That’s by tapping the X button twice, but if you only tap it once your sprite will swing on a silken strand in a graceful loop. This lets you build momentum and pick up the floating particles that are all around you.
The particles you have to pick up are of two kinds in the early levels we played– time extensions, and floating pollen strands that open up new areas. The pollen leads you to parts of the level where new plants will sprout, letting you jump and swing up higher into the level. You’re fighting against the clock, so the worst that can happen is that you fall and have to climb back up after wasting a little bit of time.
In the stages we saw, there are no enemies except the clock. We also gave co-op mode a shot, and in this perfect buddy game you can work together by riding piggyback on your fellow sprite. If one sprite falls off the screen he’ll automatically pop back up on your back after a few seconds.
Everything about this game works– the minimal sound, the graceful physics, and the gorgeous backgrounds. Comparisons to Everyday Shooter and Fl0w are warranted, but I think this game has much more promise because it matches a great, relaxing visual style with extremely fun gameplay.
I will download PixelJunk: Eden the day it’s available on the Playstation Network, and I would urge all of you to do the same.