Emotion Control: ‘Child of Eden’ Review

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I’ll be honest with you, Techland readers: I haven’t played a Kinect game in months. Yes, motion-control titles have continued to roll out since the blockbuster launch of Microsoft’s skeletal-tracking camera but none of them, to me, offered anything to get excited about. And, yes, I mean you, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Carnival Games Kinect.

However, Child of Eden excites me and should excite you, too, if you’ve been wondering about the amazing future that Kinect was supposed to usher in. This gesture-controlled shooter comes by way of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the designer best known for the psychedelic, on-rails shooter Rez.

Mizuguchi’s games rewire your brain bit by bit. After playing a game like Rez, you’re likely to perceive the world a little bit differently, finding that things are maybe connected in a way that you didn’t think of before.

That’s because his games focus on stimulating synaesthesia, the blurring or blending of the senses that can cause people to see colors when they hear sounds, for example. I have the Rez soundtrack on my iPod and when the Ken Ishii track comes on, I can close my eyes and see the geometry of the level that music accompanies.

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Synaesthesia as a pillar of game design may sound like so much high-faluting claptrap, but all you need to do is play the work produced by Mizugichi to see how unique and successful the execution is. Rez wound sound design, music, player interaction and controller vibration so tightly together that something else–a greater gestalt experience–emerged.

As the spiritual sequel to Rez, Child of Eden does all that and more, thanks to Kinect.

Child of Eden takes place two centuries from now, when humans live among the stars and the internet’s evolved into a vast virtual landscape called Eden. Data corruption befalls an experiment to recreate the personality of Lumi, the first girl ever born in space, in Eden. The player must journey through levels that represent archives of human memory and purify the corruption by blasting, oddly, beautiful dataforms to bits.

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