Child of Eden (Xbox 360)

By Wayne Webb

Child of Eden is a game of two halves, or perhaps it’s two games masquerading as one. It’s psychedelically fast and stunning. But depending on your control method, it’s either confusing and frustrating or frenetic and addictive. 

First time out of the box and it boasts an immersive, Kinect experience. I can see why they would say that as it does require you to get fully into the game physically to play and complete the levels – but there’s a big problem. The explanation and controls don’t match very well. Multiple attempts by multiple people lead to frustration, confusion and no real idea of how to play the game. It looks fantastic, stunningly colourful and designed to be in time to great pulsing beat music, but impossible to play.

I was ready to pass and rate it low but decided to try the handheld controller and got a totally different game. Now the controls made sense, the achievements and weapons clicked and the visuals synched up with the music so the game got very interesting very fast. Essentially this is a linear progression shoot ‘em up. But instead of the sideways, first person or top down views, you get the forward motion tube effect –just like the credits of the classic Dr Who – with guns and things to shoot at.

Now it’s all about timing and attention and collecting the points or stars to progress. After failed attempts over two days to get into the Kinect side, I was now addicted within minutes and about an hour later I had completed three out of the five worlds.

So the game is short, but there are unlockable art rewards and the trophy-like achievements themed to this futuristic kaleidoscope world of Eden (which is also the future name of the internet). The game’s purpose is to save a female character that is wafting around like a faerie in Internet Eden. You quickly forget this until the next cut scene because when you are playing it’s just button mashing fun as you clear screen after screen of Avatar-like flying plants and animals.

It was surprisingly good once the controller came out – probably best to try it for yourself and see which control suits you. I suspect that Olympic gymnasts or people who drink 20 cups of coffee beforehand will be the only ones capable of the Kinect method.

Pros: Amazing visuals and music, frenetic game play, addictively challenging.
Cons: Confusing Kinect experience, short duration.

4 out of 5 Shacks