Indie Review: PixelJunk Eden
PixelJunk Eden is an original puzzle platformer making its way from PSN to Steam. It's brandishing a new coat of paint and a couple tricks up its sleeve; is this enough to justify your purchase?
- Worth The Time?Yes, at least as far as unique gaming experiences go
- Things LovedAesthetics, unique gameplay mechanics, overall presentation
- Things HatedSlightly slow pace, synchronisation meter
- RecommendationPixelJunk Eden is definitely a unique game. If anything it deserves your purchase just so you can experience its unique puzzle platformer mechanics. At the end of the day it's still an acquired taste and won't suit everyone.
- Name: PixelJunk Eden
- Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: No
- Platforms: PC (This Particular Version)
- Developer: Q-Games
- Publisher: Steam
- Price: $9.99
- Reviewed On: PC
The PixelJunk series of games is a leading light as far as simplicity and originality goes. Some, like PixelJunk Shooter and Monsters, have been more successful than others but all have tried to do something different from one another and other games of this ilk. PixelJunk Eden is certainly not new and actually made its debut release in 2008 on the PS3; it’s 2012 however and PixelJunk Eden has finally found its way onto Steam.
PixelJunk Eden is a rather unusual puzzle platformer and certainly provides a unique experience for any willing to give it a try. As the player you control what’s known as a Grimp (the amalgamation of grip and jump) and must find and collect the ‘Spectra’ throughout each garden. Each garden represents a level containing multiple Spectra to collect, the collection of which will lead to the completion of that particular level and opportunity to retry the garden in order to collect each remaining Spectra. Each garden contains plants that the Grimp is able to jump and grip onto, this allows for reaching higher dormant seeds which when enough pollen is collected can be activated, extending a plant from said seed and allowing for higher and higher exploration.
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In order to collect pollen the player must either jump through or use a thread provided to swing through enemies which when defeated are turned into the needed pollen. If the player manages to take out multiple enemies without touching another surface they will accumulate combo chains which allow for greater amounts of pollen from each subsequently defeated enemy. It’s worth mentioning that later on there are increasingly difficult enemies that will attempt to shoot at your Grimp, cut your thread or just take you out all together; it can make for a surprisingly tense situation in what is supposed to be a quite relaxed game. There is also a synchronisation meter which when depleted will cause a failed level and so must be sustained with the collection of crystals placed throughout each garden. It’s strange that PixelJunk Eden should have such a meter which continued to hurry me up and force my hand when what I really wanted to do was play the game in a relaxed fashion. It’s a strange mechanic but works to add to the difficulty if a challenge is something you’re looking for. One nice feature, new to the game and available (for now at least) only on the Steam version, is the ability to warp back to a last resting position. Trust me when I say this will make your lives so much easier after falling from way up and not wanting to scale the entire garden again.
The gameplay can be quite enjoyable and is certainly unique, though I found myself somewhat wanting more. I think it could just be me, many others quite enjoy the game, but I found it a little too slow for my taste. It’s strange but despite the enjoyment I got from the game I still found myself thinking about playing another game instead, something that doesn’t usually happen when I’m playing a game. Don’t take this as a negative criticism but rather as a remark that any player preferring a slightly faster (perhaps more intense) and altogether more energetic experience will have to look elsewhere. My only real criticism is the keyboard controls can be a little unresponsive and I’d advise a gamepad; it’ll compensate for the weird feel of the mouse as the controller. Sadly multiplayer didn’t make the Steam port but the game is as good as it’s going to get and I can’t imagine anyone missing it.
The one thing I will say for PixelJunk Eden is it certainly has the aesthetics of an original game. Its artistic look is easy on the eyes and prevents the screen from ever feeling too cluttered. The electro sound track definitely amplifies this and I recommend you try out the game with a set of headphones; it’ll certainly give you an impression you won’t soon experience. If ever you were going to try out something new but a high price kept you at bay, then get PixelJunk Eden, it’s definitely for you.