Child of Eden Review

It isn’t often that I’m taken by surprise or baffled by a game, but Child of Eden has pulled it off. What else would I expect from the creator of Rez, though?

Child of Eden sure is an experience, though. Players take control of a targeting reticule charged with saving the digital recreation of the first person born in spaaaaaaaaace, a girl named Lumi, from the newly corrupted future version of the internet known as Eden. Whew, that was exhausting.

The on-rails journey through Eden is quite enthralling. It’s a pretty wonderful mixture of trippy visual and sound, and the sound is, of course, influenced by your actions in the game world. I’ll come back to this.


Child of Eden (PS3 [Reviewed], XBox360)
Developer: Q Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: June 14, 2011
MSRP: $49.99

The game’s Kinect functionality makes the whole experience exceptional. Kinect is the way to play Child of Eden, by the way; you can play it with a controller, but that way of playing isn’t as satisfying as the simplicity of the Kinect controls. Raise your right arm for some lock-on rockets, and your left for a machine gun — that’s all there is to it. It feels good and natural and, ah, cool. Unlike playing with the controller, which is, like, whatever.

As you travel through Eden, you’ll blast many of the “impurities” infecting Eden, and your shots will add to the cacophony, making for a musical experience that is mostly unique this generation.

I don’t think it all adds up to much, though. Sure, it’s abstract, and maybe I’m missing the point somewhere, but the full experience that is Child of Eden just doesn’t feel substantive. It’s like a one-night stand; sure, it’s fun, and it feels good, but it doesn’t add up to much in the long run. In the end, Child of Eden is a fleeting experience, one that doesn’t make much of an impact and isn’t ultimately all that memorable.

It doesn’t help that the game is probably the shortest retail game I’ve ever played. There’s about an hour of content in a $50 package, which is remarkable. I don’t normally complain about this kind of thing, but it bears saying that Child of Eden feels more like a $15 downloadable title than a full retail title. Q Entertainment has made a habit out of releasing games that should be downloadable at retail, but at least titles like Lumines and Every Extend Extra keep you coming back for more. Child of Eden, however, feels like a one-shot experience that most people won’t feel the need to revisit.

If it were a downloadable title, I would have no problem recommending it, but at $50 I don’t think Child of Eden is an interesting enough experience to warrant a purchase. But if you do take the plunge, I hope you have Kinect.

Pros:

  • Pretty
  • Sounds good
  • Almost makes that Kinect purchase seem worth it

Cons:

  • Pretty unsubstantial
  • Ridiculously short

Final score: 60/100

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