PixelJunk Eden 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 02.02.2021

Review for PixelJunk Eden 2 on Nintendo Switch

From the corners of Baiyon's auteur mind comes PixelJunk Eden 2, the sequel to 2008's PixelJunk Eden, an artistic and musical adventure that garnered a great reception 13 years ago. PixelJunk is a massive series with no less than 11 games of all sorts of different genres and styles. Developed by Q-Games Ltd this sequel to Eden looks to recapture the original's vision for the new era and to do so in portable form on Nintendo Switch.

PixelJunk Eden 2 feels like it harks back to the era of "arts games" like Patapon and Locoroco. It has really polished minimalist visuals, a charming atmosphere and unique gameplay. The world of PixelJunk is split into gardens and each garden is inhabited by player controlled Grimps; small bizarre looking creatures, each with its own name and quirk. The Grimps all have personalities and names making them quite unique and fun to find. Each garden has a distinctive theme and feel, they are rather numerous and are the levels through which players must traverse.

The tutorial is quite informative and explains the concepts of the gameplay without overloading the player. As it turns out, the gameplay here is very unusual and involves collecting pollen, to birth seeds into plants, to traverse the garden in search of the "Spectra". This is, in essence, the end goal of each level. Once the tutorial finishes there are three Gardens to pick from. It becomes clear upon entry to one of these gardens that the tutorial left out one key detail: it is possible to fall and be reset to a checkpoint. This is where the challenge begins, driven by a timer that controls how long each garden can be played. Once the timer runs out there are a small number of awards presented to the player for making some progress towards level completion.

Screenshot for PixelJunk Eden 2 on Nintendo Switch

Gameplay can be "spiced" up using spices which can be assigned to Grimps to invoke special abilities or bonus attributes to help them in each level. This can make the game easier or more difficult. Controlling the Grimps is already pretty difficult as the control method is unorthodox and confusing. Grimps can be spun on a silk thread from plants, this thread can be used to collect the various types of items. This means threads are the best way to actively approach the level goal. Using the thumb stick it's possible to send the Grimp careening in a certain direction with an additional "jump" available with a press of the A button. Threads cannot be attached to ground so hopping across plants is the best way forward. It's reasonably strategic and requires some concentration but still manages to be chill and relaxing.

There is a focus on the visual and sound design, both of which create an intangible feeling to the world. It is so bizarre, mysterious and otherworldly. The main gameplay layer has silhouettes that represent the "plants" and scenery as well as the many intractable items. The Grimps are little line art creatures with very little animation and backgrounds are abstract shapes that animate in different ways and are differentiated by type of shape and colour schemes. It's pretty to look at most of the time and has, as aforementioned, a relatively Patapon overall look, although it feels a little less focussed and tightly designed. The music and sound effects are well recognised and give each level its own atmosphere. The entire experience is dreamlike and unusual with soundscapes that should really be appreciated through a good set of headphones.

Screenshot for PixelJunk Eden 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

A fairly niche experience is here to be had. It is unique, bold and above all pretty cool! When it comes down to it, PixelJunk Eden 2 is an easy experience to get lost in. It is obviously not going to satisfy everyone but for those this title strikes a nerve with it will be a lasting enjoyable experience and memory.

Developer

Q-Games

Publisher

Q-Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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