The hardest thing about reviewing Child of Eden is defining exactly what it is – on one hand it’s a game, sure; the object is to ‘win’, it’s possible to die, and you are scored on your performance, but it also very deliberately aims to be an ‘audio visual experience’, using abstract shapes, lively fluorescent colours and strong, rhythmic melodies to collectively put forward its sci-fi influenced story.
This is the latest creation of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, musical composer and designing prodigy of 2002’s Rez, and in its own beautifully original way, it’s a huge success. Child of Eden is often called a shooter, but that puts it too bluntly.
You’re travelling through Eden, the futuristic data hub which archives all of human history, to save Lumi, the perfect personified creation of Eden. To do this, you must purify the viruses which threaten her safety, and this is what the ‘shooting’ is.
However, there are no guns or any visible weaponry, you must simply wave the cursor over them and, if you intend to go for the big bonuses, purify them in time with the music. This feature single-handedly makes the experience incredibly immersing, meaning the music is not only greatly enjoyable by ordinary standards but a valuable component of the gameplay.
Child of Eden’s aesthetics are equally as pleasing as its soundtrack, its world exploring the brightest and liveliest greens and yellows to the deepest purples and blues. The synaesthesia of the colours and music together is absolutely stunning, and totally unrivalled by any other game.
If one were to get the hang of Child of Eden very quickly, it would be perfectly possible to play through its entirety in a couple of hours. The real challenge of the game is in its leaderboards, as for many, including myself, battling to beat my own times and my friends’ scores is where the bulk of the play hours were spent, but this simply isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
With that said, for anyone who has bought a Kinect for their Xbox, Child of Eden is an absolute must. With negligible lag, the motions used are simple and reliable, and come together in an experience akin to a dance game. Although it’s not saying much, this is without a doubt the best game for Kinect so far.
With such an excellent blend of addictive game mechanics with entrancing sights and sounds, Child of Eden is a game that should have a place in every gamer’s home, be them casual or hardcore. It may be short, but it’s an unforgettable experience that connects with the player in a way that only Mizuguchi’s games can.