This review is going to fail.
I’m a big fan of words and writing, but sometimes they just fail, and describing what simple joy actually feels like is one of those times. Rather than try to describe the mechanics of the game or what it’s about, I’ll work on why I like it.
Some days, I want to play a game that’s going to be fun with the assurance that there is no chance that I’ll get wound up while playing it. For example, if I come home after a fourteen hour day to find that my daughter’s already asleep for the night and my wife is exhausted, and I know that I have maybe one hour before I should get to bed and rest for the following long day at work. Well, Pixeljunk Eden is perfect for me at those times.
If you get wound up playing Pixeljunk Eden, there’s something really wrong with you. The worst thing that can happen over the course of the game is that you run out of time on a level and have to start over. There’s no violence, no health bar, no sentient enemies at all. Your tiny avatar jumps and swings between plants, collects pollen, and makes new plants grow, which you climb upon and repeat that process. By completing levels, you add plants to your home garden, one by one. Your expanding home garden opens up new levels.
I know it sounds unconventional if not outright stupid. But then, so does Tetris and Peggle and Katamari Damacy and Super Mario and every classic video game, the kind that you won’t ever forget after playing it just once. This game is just fun. I’ll take “sounds stupid and plays new and fun” over “sounds badass but plays exactly like every other game ever released”. (“Wait, wait, we’re different! In our first person shooter, the guns are yellow!”)
The art design and color palettes could honestly be from a museum gallery. The colors shift multiple times a level, just frequently enough that you don’t stop noticing them. My infant daughter’s a big fan of this game. It’s purty.
The music is fantastic too. It sticks with me when I’m not playing it. I enjoy electronic music, and this composer’s work is perfectly tuned to the game. It’s soothing and catchy.
The overall package looks and sounds like art that just so happens to be very fun to play.
I just went to get a link on Youtube to find a game level to link. (Integrated Youtube upload is nice, but not necessary for me) I found this one at random. I haven’t gotten to this point in the game yet. Also, this person is much better at playing than I am.
I’ve read that the game is a glorified flash game. True enough! There’s nothing that requires the processing engine of a PS3 here. But like Everyday Shooter and Pixeljunk Monsters, there’s a lot to be said for taking something simple and then polishing it to perfection. This game isn’t modern, it’s timeless.
There’s a free demo; if you own a PS3, give it a shot.