Friday, 25 July 2008

Pixeljunk Eden - PS3

The demo of the highly anticipated Pixeljunk Eden went live on the US PlayStation network last night, and I've been playing it for the past couple of hours.

Eden is nothing like the previous two Pixeljunk games - Racers and Monsters - and its abstract design has left many wondering what Eden is all about. Thankfully, it's very simple, but deviously addictive.

You control a Grimp, a small creature that can jump and grab on to plants and other surfaces. The object of the game is to explore the levels to find shining Spectra. However, the Spectra are hidden high within the levels, so in order to reach them, you have to collect pollen to grow flowers, which you can then climb.

Seeds fly gently through the air and to get the pollen inside, you have to break them open by colliding with them. To do this, you simply grab a flower stem and swing around in circles to try and crack open as many as possible and collect their contents. Collecting pollen fills pods, which then germinate and transform into flowers.

The crisp and colourful abstract design is stunning and the organic levels are a joy to explore: levels change colour as Spectra are collected, while plants sway in the breeze - it's a beautiful spectacle.

The game's soundtrack is equally as good, featuring the work of Japanese artist Baiyon - Tomohisa Kuramitsu - who creates an evocative electronic soundscape, which blends brilliantly with the game's abstract world.

The demo is surprisingly deep, with three full gardens to explore. The full version is due to hit the Japanese, US and UK PSN stores next Thursday and features PS3 trophy support, online leaderboards, co-op play for up to three players, video recording - which enables you to upload your favourites on to YouTube - and Remote Play.

It's a definite day one purchase for me and could well be one of this year's surprise hits.

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