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Child of Eden - Kinect hands-on preview

We love Rez at GamesRadar, so much so that we included it in our 100 best games of all time at the #84 slot. Child of Eden, the spiritual successor to Rez by creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi, easily takes the seed that Rez planted and builds upon it with its lush visuals and wonderfully crafted music.


Our previous hands-on with Child of Eden and Kinect involved a less-than-stellar experience with the motion controls having a hard time picking up our movements, but the current preview copy that we were provided with solved this issue.

As expected, Child of Eden is rich with vibrant colors, pulsating patterns and distinct themes for each stage. Whereas the Passion level is all steampunk-gone-Technicolor with gates fashioned out of oversized gears, the Evolution stage is a swirling dive into an imaginary sea complete with jellyfish like enemies and giant whales. The music and sound effects also change per level. For instance, in the underwater section of Evolution, firing at enemy projectiles leads to a pleasant bubble pop-like sound.

Using your hand to control a reticle to lock-on to targets works very well. However, if your Kinect is set up fairly low to the floor (ours just tops out at the minimum 2-feet high mark) you’ll find that you’ll be awkwardly waving your arm around the general vicinity of your thighs and waist in order to target anything. Firing requires a quick forward movement of your hand and, for the most part, that worked fairly well, but we did find that there was a tendency to reach towards the screen during gameplay which required even more dramatic movements in order to blast enemies. Euphoria, which is essentially a screen-clearing explosion and can be collected throughout each stage, is activated by throwing both hands in the air. Whooping with glee is optional.

Players have two options of play with the Kinect. Type A, which is what we preferred, has your right hand mapped to the aforementioned lock-on reticle while your left hand is used for a rapid fire shot effective against enemy projectiles. These projectiles are always purple, so it’s easy to know when to switch between the two weapons. Type B requires clapping your hands to switch, but we found this was awkward when things got more hectic on screen.

Thankfully, those of us who have not adopted the Kinect will be glad to know that the controls for Child of Eden work equally well without it. In fact, after playing through one stage, we found we needed a break from arm-waving to play with the controller. Though the action of moving your hand around to target enemies seems right at home and translates well, fatigue can set in quickly. The game differentiates between the two methods of input and stages that were previously cleared with the Kinect must be cleared again when a controller is used. However, it’s hard to deny the cool factor of playing with the motion controls. The combination of visuals, music and lack of controller with the Kinect feels very futuristic and it’s possible that those who have been holding out on adopting a Kinect for lack of a killer app may find that Child of Eden is the answer.

May 5, 2011

Topics

Microsoft

7 comments

  • chilarome - May 9, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    I want them (Kinect developers) to look at Child of Eden and hopefully see that "hardcore" games could make it. I want this to be successful, I plan on buying it, but I want it to open a gateway of better games, and not just baby bullshit.
  • Gahmah - May 8, 2011 3:05 a.m.

    Man, I'm just not feeling it like I did with Rez, things are all kind of a mesh, which I guess fits the tone the game is setting and the whole virus plot, but, it's just a morass of colors and indistinct objects, there's just too much noise that doesn't seem to serve any purpose in either the game's aesthetic or interaction..... and why can't you use both hands? Game seems... I dunno, a little half assed, or maybe they were just running down on time and money, the videos and what y'all describe in the articles concerning this game seem to present me with a conflict between presentation and intention, lots of smooth movement duller tones, but the actual play of the game seems, oxymoronically speaking, mildly frantic, bullets floating slowly in space, but following the hand to target is full of jerky movements, it feels like your just shooting things infront of backgrounds, that there is a large disconnect between your avatar, and the space it inhabits, which wasn't the case in Rez. It looks like your shooting targets and fields, and there's a screensaver that changes in the background depending on your shooting. It doesn't seem to me like flowing through memories, things connected and moving into one another, just a bunch of separate pieces that don't fit, hope the final game isn't like that.
  • Spybreak8 - May 7, 2011 8:56 a.m.

    Awesome, the more I see this game the more I see that it will be gooooooood.
  • Nintygameplayerperson - May 5, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    Am I normal if I like the music?
  • Redeater - May 5, 2011 5:30 p.m.

    This looks pretty damned crazy. Also,Cheryll you need to get back on T'dar sometime again.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - May 5, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    Any news on how well it works with Move?
  • Gotxxrock - May 5, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    To save the archives of human memory from a virus attack... Save Lumi... This sounds like a very ambient, bright and whimsical foreray into something very cold, sobering, and defeating like Cancer or Alzheimer's disease. Really looking forward to seeing how deep this game actually goes.

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