There weren%26rsquo;t many takers in the office to review this one. After all, it%26rsquo;s a platform game in which the objective is to grow plants by pollinating them. Hardly inspirational stuff when we could be swatting Stormtroopers in The Force Unleashed instead. And true to form, the first couple of minutes left us utterly confused and dismissive before things suddenly clicked. Now we can%26rsquo;t get enough of this horribly addictive game.
Trying to describe the experience is tricky, but here goes anyway. You control a tiny creature called a Grimp that%26rsquo;s able to jump pretty high and also shoot out grapple lines made of silk in any direction which attach to branches and plants, allowing you to spin around in a circle. Floating around the level are enemies that release batches of pollen when you bash into them, and by charging up seeds with the pollen you create new plants to help you get around and find up to five special items. These items then create new plants back at your home garden (essentially an interactive menu screen), opening up paths to reach new maps.
Making pollination difficult are other enemies that shoot lasers at you or snap your silk lines, and a depleting life bar that can only be topped up by collecting crystals. It takes mastering. You%26rsquo;re probably still not convinced, but we can%26rsquo;t get across how addictive jumping and swinging around really is. The inviting graphics are backed up by chilled-out beats that don%26rsquo;t give you any warning how frantic things can become when you%26rsquo;re almost out of health and close to grabbing a special item. There%26rsquo;s a balance that needs to be found between taking the time to pollinate as many seeds as possible (if you fall you%26rsquo;ll keep going until you land on a plant, so it%26rsquo;s best to create quite a few) and hurrying to find the item.
With support for Trophies, Remote Play on your PSP, and the ability to upload your videos to YouTube, PixelJunk Eden is a great-value platformer that%26rsquo;s better than many full-price games.
Aug 7, 2008