What exactly is PixelJunk Eden 2?
I honestly have no idea.
First of all I would like to thank Q-Games for the review code, and also to my friend Wiedo who prompted me into requesting the code in the first place with his recommendation.
HOW THE GRIMPS STOLE EDEN
Without any kind of story, I guess it’s best to jump specifically into how the game plays. Many would describe it as a platformer, which is kinda true: you control a character and manoeuvre them from the start to a predetermined goal. However, I’d define it as a maze game – much more akin to something like Cyber Protocol. You control an elephantine fellow called a Grimp and have to navigate your way to the exit – a Spectra – within the time limit. Your Grimp is unable to walk, instead firing out a silk rope which is able to attach to plants. This allows you to start swinging and gain enough momentum to move about the level. You also have a double jump at your disposal, with the ability to hover mid air in between. It’s an unusual control system, but when you get to grips with it, it’s relatively straightforward.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. The levels contain very few plants for you to swing from, requiring you to grow your own by filling seeds with pollen from floating pollen spores. New mechanics and enemies are introduced as the game progresses, which can hamper your progress swinging through the levels: from floating pods that fire homing projectiles to knock you off-course, to teleportation pads that can make navigation that little bit trickier – don’t expect the game to be a complete cakewalk, especially as you have limited time)! Luckily checkpoints are there to refill the timer, and the Spectra emits an occasional aura to ensure you are heading in the right direction.
All these things help to add an element of challenge to the game, but that doesn’t mean the game is difficult. In fact, the game is almost meditative in nature. The levels, or Gardens, all have a very euphoric aesthetic to them reminiscent of the Windows Media Player visualiser – complete with chill out music. Even when the levels get harder, there are rarely any stressful moments. In fact, the game is perfect for destressing you – a perfect accompaniment to the likes of Ring Fit Adventure and Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, perhaps.
GRIMPY OLD MEN
Here’s a few of my favourites:
There are many more Grimps to unlock. Can you find them all?
THE SPICE MUST FLOW
As you beat each Garden, you will obtain a number of spices depending on how well you did. These can give you an advantage if you consume them before entering a Garden:
ALONE IN TIME
One thing that surprised me with PixelJunk Eden 2 is just how much content there is. The main game will take you around fifteen hours to beat all of the Gardens on offer. After you’ve beaten a few, you unlock a new Grimp, Garden, and Spices (see left for more details on the Spice bonuses); the roulette seems to imply an element of randomness to the unlocks, but I’m pretty sure that they are set unlocks. However, you can obtain more Grimps can be obtained by finding them within the Gardens. There are dozens of them about, so you will build up quite a collection! Each Grimp contains its own gameplay gimmick: whilst most don’t offer anything substantially different, there are some that can drastically alter how you play. Each set of levels too features a specific playable Grimp too, so you are always forced to try something new.
Unfortunately, there are only ten Garden themes to unlock, so each set of levels will inevitably contain remixed versions of ones you have encountered prior. This can lead to a level of repetitiveness when played in marathon sessions, but if played routinely in chunks then it isn’t that much of an issue. In addition to the main game, there is a free play mode where you can mix and match Gardens and Grimps that you have unlocked, complete with a set of achievements to work through – if that is your kind of thing. There’s also a multiplayer mode which I didn’t try out, but I can see it being fun to play around with.
Going into PixelJunk Eden 2, I had no idea what to expect. Heck, I didn’t even know how it played. Ultimately, the game’s chillout atmosphere pulled me in, and for the cheap price I would definitely recommend it to add to your switch collections!