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Eden is like nothing you’ve seen before. It’s platforming, it’s art, and it includes a full house techno soundtrack. It’s an experience.

Welcome to Eden. You are a simple “grimp”, which is kind of a mixture between a flea and a tick. What’s your objective? Your own Garden of Eden is barren. In order to facilitate growth, you have to delve into other gardens, and bring back “Spectra” (seeds). These gardens also need a bit of help. Spores are flying around everywhere, and breaking them means creating pollen, sprouting more plants, allowing you to jump up to out of reach Spectra. What’s a grimp to do?!

Considering the game is billed as a “pick up and play” 3 player affair, it’s important the controls are simple. Basically, you’ll be using one button to jump around, and string out your silk. In what is probably the best use of the Six-Axis I’ve found, you simply thrust your controller towards the ground when you want to fall faster (like a comet). It works incredibly well, and it’s not necessary to complete the game.

So how does multiplayer pan out? Very well, actually. Anyone, even the first player can jump in or out at anytime, and the camera does a fine job of keeping everyone together. If someone does stray from the pack, a 2 second countdown timer will start. If that grimp doesn’t make it back on the screen in time, he’ll simply reappear on top of another player, but all of your pollination progress will be temporarily lost. It’s not a huge issue, but it would have been nice to have an “easy mode” that has a full zoom camera, so there’s no drops in the action.

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The graphical style shifts between a number of beautiful on-screen shapes. Do you ever look at the clouds and associate them with shapes and figures? You’ll do that a ton in Eden. When some plants twist and untangle, they’ll turn into some of the most beautiful calligraphy you’ll ever see; it’s that unique. Music is just as much a part of Eden as the art style. Most of it is House Techno, and some of it borders on Dream (relaxing). Feel free to check out some samples; it’s hard to “explain” music. All of the sounds, from grabbing up pollen to your enemies’ threatening attacks are all very fitting, and complement the music quite nicely.

One negative aspect of the game is the lack of variation in the earlier levels. It isn’t until level 4 that you start getting different “concepts”. Level 6 starts to get serious, and level 7 on just flips everything you knew upside-down. If you can deal with a minor amount of repetition, you will certainly reap the rewards later in the game. It’s not like it’s unbearable; the game is incredibly fun to play. One solution I found was going to a later, more exciting level, and then coming back later to the earlier ones to finish them up. If you’re worried that they’ll all the be same: don’t be. Enemies will start showing up, as will subtle other concepts. It just doesn’t get “too” drastic until later on.

Another issue is that your grimps seem to control sporadically throughout the game. 90% of the time you’ll go where you want to go, but when you don’t, you’ll feel it. Climbing all the way to the top of a level in 3 minutes only to fall down due to a mis-jump can be a bit frustrating. In addition to variable floating speeds, it also feels like your grimp doesn’t always opt to let it’s string out; sometimes you’ll fly right through a plant when you only pressed the button once.

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A previous complaint about PixelJunk Eden was that its timer ruined an otherwise relaxing experience. As of January 15th, 2009, this problem was fixed, as the time pickups’ increases were greatly buffed, and the game also allows you to use a continue if the timer expires. The update also made the multiplayer camera much easier to work with. Having played the game before it was patched, I can very easily say it was a vast improvement. In my first four hours with the game, I’ve never had the timer deplete on me, so it’s not an issue.

You don’t come across a game like PixelJunk Eden often. It takes all of our favorite childhood platforming moments, and synthesises them with modern music and an abstract art style. Honestly, this game didn’t have to be mutliplayer: it only adds to the fun. Barring a few control issues and early level design, this is a must have addition to your PSN collection.

Rating Category
9.0 Presentation
The first few levels could have varied more, but as the game goes on, variation hits you full force. It also looks like a dream.
How does our scoring system work?
9.0 Gameplay
The controls can take some getting used to, but overall they suffice.
10.0 Sound
It's no surprise when you find out that a professional was brought in to do the music. Sound effects also accompany the tracks similar to Rez.
10.0 Longevity
It's 3 players, has online rankings, 10 stages that need to be completed 5 times each, and an unlockable feature after completing the game 100%. An expansion pack is also reportedly coming.
9.4 Overall
PixelJunk Eden is practically its own genre.

  1. A very, very fun game.

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