Developer: Q Entertainment
I've been waiting to get my hands on this one for a while now, mainly because about two days after I bought Kinect the clever little device had lost its novelty edge and since then it's been sitting around gathering dust, which isn't what I wanted really. What I did want was a motion sensing peripheral that I could use on a regular basis, complete with games that were of the same standard as those designed for a normal controller and therefore would not only hold my interest, but would be titles that I actually wanted to break out again and again. With this in mind I trotted off to pick up the first Kinect compatible game on the market that had grabbed my interest, Child Of Eden, and also a high quality duster!
On returning home, I whizzed through the Kinect calibration, loaded the disc into the tray, and momentarily prepared myself for an audio visual treat before the introductory videos kicked in and eventually subsided to leave the title screen running. Once you jump into the game, you're treated with a quick bit of text explaining what's going on, followed by a short but breathtaking opening cut scene. Then things kick off!
The game itself is remarkably simple and I'd say this is its greatest strength. You've got two attacks to purify Eden, the lock on laser, and the tracer, which correspond to you right and left hand respectively if you're using Kinect. When you're not shooting the various viruses that crop up in your path, you'll more than likely be collecting health and euphoria. Euphoria is the equivalent of a special attack, which I tended to save for the boss battles, although it can help you out when you're swamped with bog standard enemies too. And that's pretty much it, save for the fact that you'll have to mix up your attacks in order to take out different enemies. Now it might sound like the gameplay'd get a bit stale and boring after a while, but surprisingly it doesn't.
In terms of the way it looks and sounds, the game's outstanding, every pixel on the screen's flooded with colour and your ears are treated to a variety of harmonious musical notes, plus you'll be interacting with things at the same time, which can yield new sounds, so I'd say the game's definitely succeeded at providing us with an experience of synesthesia. Also, when the games on you'll notice very quickly that anybody in the room falls silent almost immediately and'll become transfixed on the screen as it puts them into sensory heaven. Just make sure that you've got the volume at a reasonable level though, because otherwise you'll be tipped over the edge and the experience'll be soured as you feel similar symptoms to a flash bang going off, or you become nauseous due to motion sickness setting in. Sadly, I can't help but feel that people with old TV sets are going to lose some of the magic with this one, because you're only really going to get the full benefit if you've got a decent size HD LCD, or plasma screen.
There are five levels in total (Matrix, Evolution, Beauty, Passion, and Journey), each of which are remarkably different from one another and this is an extremely good thing because it breathes variety into the game. They're all fairly short though and I completed the whole game within one relatively short session, which included multiple play throughs of some of the levels in order to grab enough stars to unlock the later stages of the game. What keeps you coming back for more though are the online leader boards, the difficulty settings, separate play throughs using Kinect and a standard controller, and most importantly the unlockables for Lumi's Garden, which is the level selection hub that starts off almost pitch black and spectacularly comes to life as you pick up rewards throughout the game. Last but not least, when you come to the end of the main game, you'll unlock 'Hope', which is an arcade style level, where you need to build up the highest score possible before you die.
The game's pretty challenging and you'll almost certainly die at least a couple of times before working out how to deal with certain enemies, or hostile sections of the environments. However, this brings me onto one of the minor annoyances in the game; when you die you'll begin right at the start of the level again. Whilst this can be fairly annoying at first, the length of the levels means that you'll soon catch up to the point where you previously met your demise.
Although it's been pegged as the game that'll show off Kinect's true potential, you can play it with a standard pad if you so choose. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both control systems, but they're both equally enjoyable. With Kinect, you'll be able to move the target reticule around faster and it's easier to get perfect scores using the lock on laser, whereas the standard pad offers you more accuracy at the expense of speed, which means that enemies can slip past you and therefore you won't be able to purify as much of the level.
There's no point in me going into the game in great detail because it's not something you can get a feel for until you've played it and that's more than likely because it's an experience rather than just another game that's hit the market. I'd say that despite its flaws though, this is a game that everybody should try out once because you'll be missing out if you don't. I do worry though that once you've unlocked everything, the game'll become boring and'll eventually become banished to the back corner of draws the world over, but I guess only time will tell. Then again, it's nice to keep in your collection when you need a break from "normal" gameplay. Finally, I wouldn't recommend that you rush out and pick up Kinect until you've given this a try first, because let's face it, at the moment Child Of Eden's really the only reason to grab the sensor bar and if it turns out you're not a fan, then you'll have wasted a substantial sum of money.
- Looks and sounds fantastic
- It's utterly unique
- You'll get pulled in remarkably quickly
- It's extremely short
- There's no co-op or multiplayer
- There are times when it can be too much to handle
The Short Version: Child Of Eden's a treat for your senses! However, it's a tad on the short side and only time will tell if you'll be happy to play the same levels over and over again.