PixelJunk Eden Review
Pixel Junk Eden can be described as a game in which you play as a bug who must pollinate a garden to make it grow. While this description is technically correct, it doesn't do the game any justice - conjured images of a cutesy platformer featuring a cartoon bee and smiling flowers couldn't be mush farther than the truth. Surreal and ethereal are better adjectives to use in describing the game than cute or derivative. From the moment you first start the game you'll know that you are in for an experience that is decidedly different from the ordinary. The game's visuals are highly abstracted, with plants resembling the curving swishes of light brushstrokes that gently sway as if they are submerged near the edge of a quiet pond. Geometric patterns representing pollen float through the air that you must collect to form seeds that can be activated to form new plants. And all the while tranquil music that wouldn't feel out of place in a New Age store plays in the background. The whole presentation is pretty impressive - not because graphics technology pushed to the limit, but because so much atmosphere and mood are generated with such minimalist graphics. This is certainly a case where less is more.
While this is all impressive enough, Pixel Junk Eden is not a screensaver but an actual game, and ultimately the gameplay is the deciding factor in judging a game. As I noted earlier, you are the pollinating bug in this Zen-like garden and it is your job to gather in all that pollen and grow new plants. Your motivation is more than simply propagating plant life, though. Each of the game's gardens contains a number of crystals and it is your ultimate goal to find and collect them all. To eventually find and reach them you'll need to grow new plants that will take you higher and farther than you can go on your own. You're not a flying bug, but rather a jumping one who can also shoot out small silk threads that can be used to swing between the plants in a manner that will look familiar to fans of Spider-Man. You'll need to jump from plant to plant and swing from them to collect pollen, which will help you to grow new plants that will allow you to reach ever higher into the air above the garden. Controlling your bug is a little tricky at first, but you'll soon get the hang of it. Doing so doesn't make the game easy, though, as a certain amount of precision is needed to land each jump, and missing a jump can mean a long ride down to the ground.
Pixel Junk Eden is the kind of game that is fascinating at first, but that will ultimately fail to hold your attention for the long term. The novelty of the gameplay alone is enough to intrigue you for a while, but after that the lack of depth or variety to that gameplay will begin to chip away at your interest in the game. Part of the problem is that as soon as you collect a crystal you are taken out of the garden and back to the main menu screen, and the garden will reset when you return to it. The opening play always proceeds in the same way in each garden, unnecessarily reinforcing the game's repetitive nature. Pixel Junk Eden is certainly fascinating and fun when you first start to play it, but those feelings should last longer than they do.
If you're looking for something a little different, or for something to play with a friend who doesn't normally play games, then Pixel Junk Eden is a recommendable download. However, if you prefer to get more mileage out of your games, its short hold on your attention span is probably not enough to justify the cost of the game.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 72%. Pixel Junk Eden is innovative and visually intriguing, but there's not enough to it to keep you playing for very long.