It's no secret that Child of Eden is a sequel to the 2001 classic Rez, in all but name. Actually, scratch that - Rez also went by the name Project Eden, so it is a sequel in name too.
It really shows - Child of Eden is fundamentally the same game, from virus-killing themes to musical style, right down to the structure of four levels, completed to unlock a fifth.
Let's get one thing clear - we're absolutely not complaining. It's been ten years and, while audio hasn't moved noticeably far in that time, visuals certainly have. Q Entertainment has used all the new power under our TVs to build infinitely more colourful, synaesthetic worlds.
Just like Rez, everything you do layers detail onto the music. Unlike Rez, the worlds aren't stylish wireframe blurs, hiding the limitations of the hardware. They're explosive, corrosive slashes of spectrum.
The game starts with a cinematic, which explains the story - a girl called Lumi was sniffing some plants, when everything suddenly disintegrated. Now, you've got to find her.
Playing with Kinect is simple. Your right arm drags a targeting reticle across the screen. When it crosses over a virus, a missile locks on. You can lock up to eight missiles simultaneously, then launch by plunging your hand towards the screen - launching and striking with a full complement of missiles earns you a bonus multiplier. This is how hardcore players will streak up the leaderboards.
Bring your left hand into play, and a new reticle appears for the pulse laser. It's weaker, but it's instant - and it's the only way to damage purple viruses and the enemy missiles.
Levels don't change as you replay them, but some viruses will launch missiles at
you if they're not quickly dispatched. So, inefficiency and inexperience does breed panic. Miss a trick, and you'll have to recover by swapping arms to knock out the missiles with your pulse laser, only then returning to combo-building with your lock-on missiles.
It's only when you get to that fully rehearsed stage that anticipating, pre-empting and casually dismissing the viruses with an imperious sweep of the arm and a flick of the wrist, you start putting a bit of finesse into it - and start feeling more comfortable using Kinect than in any game yet released for the system.
A personal complaint is that too many Kinect games make you suffer the indignity of jumping, only to betray you by uploading a shot of your navel to Facebook. Not here: Child of Eden doesn't take photos, but if it did, you'd look a model of serenity and self-control. Once everything clicks, you feel like one of those terribly smug-looking tools who stand on a rock in a lake, and do Tai Chi under the boughs of a blossom tree. In a good way.
This is, however, a full-price game. If you're a repetition-phobe, the game itself will be over in a couple of hours. If you're going to get your money's worth out of Child of Eden, then you have to be ready to replay levels. You have to want to rehearse the levels to reach that state of Zen. Then you need to use that new comfort to hunt down ever-higher multipliers and become the most serene goddamn person on your Friends list.
Most of all, you have to want to play Child of Eden because it's a stunning experience that's worth repeating for its own sake. Because that's what it is - all the screenshots on this page are taken from a single mission, a testament to the variety that each offers.
If you're a newcomer to the Eden games and still aren't sure if you want to risk the 40 quid asking price, we have a solution: Download Rez HD for the excruciatingly reasonable price of 800MP, and give the decade-old inspiration a test drive. These Eden games are a journey that everyone should at least begin, and £45 is an amazing bundle price for two of the most intriguing and stylish games around.
Haunting, amazing, but not for everybody
- A familiar experience with new bits
- Loot, gold monsters, shops
- Slow-burning reluctant humour
- Graphically over-intense bosses
- Slightly ungripping plot