The Grooviest Platformer of the Decade.
When I started up PixelJunk Eden after acquiring it in a steam sale, I was treated to a beautiful, minimal splash of plant-life. In the background is a mellow, bassy melody, some plucky synths, and some whirrs and beeps. I'm reminded immediately of Flower, but that's not going to last long. Click a mouse button, and I am introduced to my player character/avatar/whathaveyou: a little seed-looking Pokemon-like thingy. A quick wikipedia search informs me that the creature is called a "Grimp". Adorable. He jumps and tumbles around from plant to plant, and then enters a wormhole to what I am informed is "Garden 01: volpe". A rhythmic Electro track starts pulsing, and I'm off, bouncing through the environment at warp speed.
The gameplay is beautifully simple: jump from platform to platform to collect energy, defeat enemies, and gather the main objective of the game: weird glowy things called Spectra. Use physics (mainly gravity and centripetal force) to propel yourself great distances, crash through obscene numbers of little balls of pollen, and collect the five spectra found in each garden. Along the way you collect pollen from defeated enemies and use it to grow new flowers, branches, and tufts of grass to allow you to climb further up and around a variety of floating structures. As you grow more flowers, collect more spectra, and unlock more gardens, the world around you continues to grow and pulsate, and you got lost in the rhythm as you cannonball from branch to glowing branch.
The challenge is two-fold: your Grimp can run out of energy, which must be collected by either finding them around some of the trickier platforms or by making a combo of multiple enemies or mid-air plant growths without landing from a jump. Then the garden levels start getting a bit hectic (their names also get progressively more snazzy. Garden 02 is "Bord de Iac" , and it gets stranger from there). Some gardens float almost entirely in the air, punishing you for falling off. Teleporters and more powerful enemies are introduced, the wind might pick up, and in one garden gravity is shifted back and forth, up and down, sometimes tossing you across the map without warning.
There is also an Eden Encore section of the game: 5 additional gardens, but at this time I have not entered them. The first 10 were intense to begin with, and I've 100% completed the first seven but that last spectra in the eighth is proving to be a doozy.
This sublime combination of fast-paced navigation, breathtaking luminescent environments, dynamic and challenging gameplay, and techno beats combine to make PixelJunk Eden the grooviest platformer since Rayman 3. (Seriously, not even kidding.)