Platforms: PS3, Win
Release: 7/31/08 (PS3), 2/2/12 (Win)
Usually when people review games, they talk about the excitement, or the challenge, or the story & character elements. I can’t do that here. I play PixelJunk Eden because it’s soothing. I know, not a word usually associated with gaming, but it is soothing.
PixelJunk Eden calls itself a platformer, but it doesn’t have the pressure feel of a traditional platformer. Some levels have enemies, but they’re dealt with the same way everything else is the game is; by jumping or swinging. There’s no real combat.
Jump into pollen prowlers to release pollen – pollen will float to and fill nearby plant seeds. Jump or swing into a full glowing plant seed and it will sprout, allowing you to jump onto the new growth and explore more of the map.
In the lower left hand corner of the screen you will see the oscillator, which serves as the level’s timer. You can collect crystals as you explore to refill your oscillator. If your oscillator goes out of tune (in other words, all the bars go dark), your exploration time has expired and the level will end.
The goal of each level is to collect one (or more) Spectra. Collecting a Spectra (by jumping or swinging into it, naturally) will allow you to resume that particular map at that location, and will give you progress toward unlocking new maps.
The number in the lower right hand corner of the screen is your score. After collecting Spectra, you will be taken to a score screen that will let you see how you did on that level.
Game-play is simple. The right mouse button will cause you to jump. After the very first level, the left mouse button will allow you to jump but remain attached to your previous position by a thin string. You can spin on this string allowing you to jump further than you otherwise would have. Everything is done with the mouse.
Both the visual and audio atmosphere is fantastic, although some people feel that the very flowy visuals and the techno music are at odds with one another. The soundtrack can be purchased bundled with the game or independently.
I don’t know if I can recommend this game without reservation at full price (especially if you also want the soundtrack; then it’ll cost $14.99). I picked it up on a sale, and have more than gotten my money’s worth from the purchase.