Child of Eden (2011)

An Acid Trip for the Kinect.

I don’t know what drew me to play today’s game, but I finally felt like it had been in my house from Gamefly for far too long already.  When this game came out, I had heard a lot of talk about how visually striking this game was and how it was one of the few games to actually make good use of Microsoft’s much lauded Kinect technology that has thus far proven to me to be fairly lackluster.  Whenever a game is said to be a good use of the technology I wasted $150 on, I get interested.  Will this game come off as pretentious because of its artistic direction?  Will I hate it because it makes me stand up to play it?  We’ll find out as I review Child of Eden, developed by Q Entertainment, published by Ubisoft, and designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi.

This game has a story, but I don’t much know what it is.  Your goal in the game is to save something called Project Lumi which is tied to a lady that was not born on Earth.  Your goal is to purify Lumi’s memories on a digital level, which you apparently do by going through five levels of an acid trip and holding your hands at your TV.

As indicated, I really can’t talk about the story of the game.  It’s talked about briefly in the setup for the game, but it’s either too briefly talked about or completely crazy.  From what I can tell of the story, it’s creative, but not compelling.  I don’t care about this Lumi bitch.  I’ve only seen brief glimpses of her in the course of the game.  So unmotivated was I that I actually didn’t bother to finish the game.  I got the gist of it out of the first three of five levels in the game and the story wasn’t really mentioned again, so we’ll just move on.

The art direction in this game is beautiful and imaginative, but one could certainly be considered at least on the border of pretentious.  But it completely surpasses trippy.  I’ve never been on an acid trip before, but I certainly feel like I’ve been on one now.  It’s almost impossible to describe.  It’s like travelling down a rainbow corridor surrounded by flowers and flying, Technicolor squid.  It’s a simple look, but it’s very beautiful at the same time.  It also mixes with the audio as a sort of music game.  A lot of percussion and electronica music, spawned by you shooting the enemies, which makes music.  It’s like playing a Blue Man Group concert.

The gameplay is super easy.  Holding up your right hand locks on to up to about 10 different things on the screen and then you unleash by pushing your right hand forward.  The enemies in the game fire purple balls at you on occasion, and you take care of those by holding up your left hand which comes off like machine gun fire.  If you’ve collected one, you can also hold your hands and hit everything on screen.  That’s about all it takes to make it through this game.  The problems I encountered with this game are ones that I’ve encountered on many Kinect games: I don’t like holding my hands at my TV for prolonged periods of time.  Dancing games aren’t as bad, but just holding your arms outstretched for the very long levels of this game can really wear on your muscles.  And the levels, though they don’t really get boring, do take some time.  There’s only five of them, but each one felt like five to ten minutes.  They also don’t have checkpoints as far as I can tell, so if you mess up while fighting the giant phoenix boss at the end of the level then I hope you enjoyed the rest of the level, ‘cause you’ll be playing it again.  You also catch bonuses after each level that I have no idea what the purpose is.  You’re also judged by stars which will unlock the next level, but they’re also the reason I didn’t beat the game.  They’re a little hard to attain and, after the third level, I decided the game was no longer worth the time, effort, and money that I was wasting by keeping it on Gamefly.

Child of Eden was fun for a little while, but I felt like I got the idea pretty quickly and got sick of it just after that.  It’s a pretty game to look at for its creative and colorful look, and the musical aspect makes it somewhat enjoyable as well, but I can only hold my hands at the screen for so long before the feeling of having superpowers is replaced with the reminder that I’m out of shape and mortal and now my arms are tired.  It’s not a bad way to make use of your dust-collecting Kinect, but it still doesn’t override my desire to play games while moving as little as possible.  Child of Eden gets “A Blue Man Group concert that tires out your arm” out of “My arms are tired.  I’m done typing right about …”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

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