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    dkirschner's PixelJunk Eden (PC)

    [September 17, 2013 10:34:21 AM]
    Oddly named game about...plants...or something. Actually I don't think it's about anything in particular. I'd call it a puzzle platformer, but it's totally nontraditional. There are 15 'gardens,' which are giant levels full of plants and seeds and some enemies. Your character is this little elephant-looking creature who can grip onto plants, release thread like a spider, and swing around on the thread, jumping from plant to plant. The object of each garden is to collect all the 'spectra,' these big glowing things that are hidden and become increasingly difficult to track down. The only way you know where the spectra are is when you get near enough and you are jumping/flying/floating (moving feels like a combination of the three) the edge of the screen in the spectra's direction will softly flash, so you can try to head that way.

    The seeds in each garden can grow plants if they get enough spores (that's what I'm calling them at least). To get spores, you have to touch these floating things or destroy enemy floating things. They burst and all the spores they contain float down all the way to the bottom of the level. By touching the spores, you accumulate points (purely for leaderboard), and if you're near a seed, the spores will automatically float to the near seed after you touch them. This is one part where the swinging comes in. You basically swing in circles on your thread, so you can swing around and around, popping whatever floating things come your way, keep swinging to collect all the spores they drop, then jump off onto another plant. Once the seed collects enough spores, represented by visually filling in a circle, a plant grows.

    There is also a sort of timer on each level. It's sort of like health too because if you get hit, you lose time. You can collect little time increasing items too. If you run out of time, you lose all your progress on that spectra. Technically I guess each level has 5 parts because there are 5 spectra per level. So, make seeds grow plants, find spectra, don't run out of time. This gets way difficult toward the last spectra in some of the later levels because there are more and tougher enemies, the spectra are really well hidden and you start having to do these lever puzzles to open passageways to get inside cave-like structures. If you take a while figuring out which levers to pull in which order, you often start getting pressed for time.

    One thing I really liked about the game was the expansiveness of the gardens. They go on vertically and horizontally for a long time. It made me think about game space in a new way because even though there was no depth, the levels felt huge. Also traditional game waypoints/signifiers for directions weren't used. You don't like turn left, then go right, then pass the castle to get to the next spectra or whatever. You have to learn where in this nebulous space you're supposed to be going with no map, but with just the soft glowing edges of the screen to guide you. I ended up memorizing 'landmarks' like a particular plant shape, and I was always on the lookout for new seeds, or usually for spores to fly off in one direction off screen, because then I knew there was a seed there I hadn't found, which meant there would be a plant, which meant there would (hopefully) be a new space to explore.

    The game's music also gets a shoutout. It was pretty cool electronic music, very mellow, and the background visuals pulsed along with the beat. The game could be very mesmerizing.

    I ended up with 70/75 spectra, which I'm proud of. I didn't get the last spectra on gardens 13-15, and I missed the last two on like garden 10. It got a little tedious trying to figure out where to go and I kept running out of time and having to start over. The little elephant man is generally fun to control, at least when I wasn't being frustrated at the more difficult parts, but when I was frustrated at the more difficult parts, I got annoyed at the elephant man's lack of precision in movement and the floatiness of the controls.
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    dkirschner's PixelJunk Eden (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 28 July, 2013

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 18 August, 2013

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Just...find seeds? Seems sort of relaxing, but possibly boring. ------------ Ok, really enjoyed it. Puzzles get tougher and losing time gets annoying, but very immersive and challenging.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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