PixelJunk Eden

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
PixelJunk Eden Game Poster Image
Clever but challenging game is a treat for players' senses.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The object of the game is to grow a garden while trying to make your way to the collectible "spectra" located in its higher reaches.

Violence & Scariness

Players must occasionally steer their "grimps" into floating foes that attempt to foil their progress through the garden. These enemies simply disappear.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is about ascending a growing garden as a bug that swings on silky thread. Play involves using pollen to grow plants that will provide new purchase, helping the bug to reach higher areas and collect items called "spectra." A beautiful mixture of color and sound, there is nothing in the game that might realistically be considered offensive or mature. It is, however, quite difficult, thanks to an unforgiving timer.

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What's it about?

The object of PIXELJUNK EDEN, a downloadable game available through Sony's PlayStation Store, is to help a little bug (called a grimp) retrieve "spectra," collectible items found high in the monochromatic gardens the grimp inhabits. Players spool out silky thread from the grimp's abdomen and swing it around brightly colored, perpetually moving plant stalks, releasing it at just the right moment to send the bug soaring to higher rocks and vegetation. There are often areas in which no firm purchase exists, in which case the grimp must collect bits of pollen floating nearby that can be used to grow new plants and flowers. Accompanying the grimp on its ascent is a gentle and dynamic electronic score that changes to reflect the amount of time players have left to find the spectra. The 50-level single-player game is supplemented by a local three player co-operative adventure.

Is it any good?

PixelJunk Eden is a visually and aurally sumptuous interactive experience that will challenge your conception of what video game design can be. Its simple artistic style, which paints all plants and rocks the same solid shade and places them over a background composed of hues from the same color family, is proof that even in this age of high-tech graphical wizardry, less can be more. The same can be said of the game itself, which does little more than allow us to play with gravity as it affects the swinging movements of a tiny bug and is yet somehow extraordinarily satisfying.

The only thing keeping players from getting completely absorbed in PixelJunk Eden's beautiful world is a relentless timer that, unfortunately, will prove vexing for players who'd rather take their time exploring the game's unique environments and mechanics. It's not much of an issue in earlier levels, which see spectra placed in accessible locations and provide plenty of places for grimps to find purchase, but is in the later gardens where spectra can seen almost impossibly high and can be lost with just a single mistake. Indeed, patience is a virtue while playing PixelJunk Eden. But should you or your kids happen to have this quality, you'll likely find this smart and stylish game to be one of the best downloadable titles around.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about patience and perseverance while playing games. If the purpose of playing a game is amusement, does a game that makes you frustrated fail at being a good game? If it's an enjoyable game, shouldn't it be fun to replay a level that you lost? On the other hand, do you think that developers sometimes make their games too difficult for the average player? How can a game maker ensure that players of all skill levels and experience are accommodated? Should all games have a wide range of difficulty settings?

Game details

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