Pixeljunk Eden was released in 2008 for PC and PS3, so if you only use Nintendo consoles, you probably missed the indie game back then. But it doesn't matter, because firstly you don't need any previous knowledge, secondly, Pixeljunk Eden 2 is very similar to its predecessor, apart from the fact that some things have been improved and the scope has been significantly expanded. There is no classic story behind the visually and acoustically impressive indie game.
You embody different grimps – these are tiny creatures that swing by a thread. Your goal is to collect so-called Spectra. These are glowing flower emblems that are hidden in the psychedelic worlds.
To reach them, you have to germinate seed pods, because that's the only way you can swing from plant to plant. You trigger the growth of the sprouts by touching pollen capsules floating around them to burst.
Source: PC Games
The easiest and most elegant way to do this is by pinning your silk thread to the closest plant and then doing laps around yourself – the more capsules you get, the higher the pollen yield. However, the silk tears after going around it a few times and you have to be careful not to fall off. This does not mean game over, but it costs valuable time to be dropped again at the top. The time limit for completing the level – the worlds are called gardens in the game – can be completely refreshed at the generously distributed checkpoints so that Pixeljunk Eden 2 does not feel stressful and frustrating. That would also not fit the game concept, which with its abstract optics and spherical, electronic sounds takes you into a strange but fascinating universe.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/430x/2021/01/Pixeljunk_Eden_2_Test-2–buffed.jpg" alt = "Sometimes it is not that easy to get an overview of all the effects
Preserve pollen capsules, plants and the background.”/>
Source: PC Games
The control of the Grimps is initially unfamiliar. When you press the left stick, the animal begins to swing around on the attached silk thread – provided it is standing on a plant, and grimps cannot spin their threads on stony ground. If you press the stick again, the thread loosens and you fly in the selected direction. If you press the A button, the Grimp hovers briefly in the air, collecting the pollen that is nearby and then jumping again. This type of control is unique, but not unintuitive. After a bit of trial and error, you'll quickly get the hang of it and hop from blade to blade like world champions. Gradually, new nuances are added to the gameplay in the form of special spices and the skills of the different grimps. The silk thread of the painter's grimp, for example, becomes longer the more pollen it touches while swinging.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/430x/2021/01/Pixeljunk_Eden_2_Test-3–buffed.jpg" alt = "In most gardens the colors change during your excursion.
Here, for example, the color spectrum ranges from blue (in the picture) to yellow.”/>
Source: PC Games
The spices, on the other hand, are given as rewards for germinating sperm cells, collecting crystals and Spectra flowers. In each garden you can take three spices with you, which provide you with nice bonuses for this level, for example with another jump. In addition, you rise in the course of the game and unlock new grimps and gardens. Basically nothing changes in what you do, there is also no incentive to crack any high scores. Like its predecessor, Pixeljunk Eden 2 is a kind of meditative entertainment in which you quickly get into a flow state, i.e. fade out time and surroundings because you have just opened so many pollen capsules. But that strength of the game is also its weakness, because you have to like this kind of entertainment, especially since the look is really pretty, but still very experimental and may be too exotic for one or the other.
The same goes for trance music, far from cheap techno at the fair. One can also reproach Pixeljunk Eden 2 far beyond any question of taste, namely that the title differs only marginally from the original. Yes, everything is better in the sequel, but actually the result is more like Pixelkjunk Eden 1.5. Fortunately, if you have not yet had an encounter with a Grimp, this point of criticism is not relevant.
Pixeljunk Eden 2 is currently still available exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
As a fan of the previous one, I was really looking forward to the sequel.
On the one hand, I was happy that Pixeljunk Eden 2 is just as fun as its predecessor. But I was also a little disappointed that hardly anything was added to the gameplay. But as the saying goes: Never change a running system. On the gigantic indie market, not every artistically demanding game is fun and not every entertaining game looks great. At Pixeljunk Eden 2, both apply and that is definitely commendable. I also appreciate it when games have the courage to forego stories – most of them are completely forgettable, stupid or have already been read or seen a thousand times (better). And moral index fingers aren't really my thing either, Pixeljunk Eden 2 hits my nerve exactly. Maybe yours too, if you're into things like Rez, for example! I can definitely recommend Pixeljunk Eden 2 for the low price.
Thanks to a special spice, you have the chance to destroy all pollen capsules in the picture at the same time. The pollen in turn allows seed pods to grow. (Source: PC Games)
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