Child of Eden is a Rail Shooter with Musical Gameplay elements developed by Q Entertainment and designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi. It was released for the Xbox 360 in June 2011, and for the PlayStation 3 in September. It is the long-awaited prequel to Rez.
On September 11, 2019, Lumi is born aboard the International Space Station, making her the first ever human to be born in space. As she grows up, she dreams of coming to Earth, and expresses her desire through music down to the people of Earth. After she dies, Lumi is preserved, and all of her memories are archived.
As the centuries progress, humanity makes great strides in space exploration, and builds a vast collection of data containing the history of humanity, storing it into Eden (read: the Internet), which can be accessed from anywhere in space.
Fast forward to the 23rd century, where scientists attempt to recreate Lumi within Eden, complete with her memories and persona. Unfortunately, the project is under a virus attack, and this is where the player comes in, diving into Eden to purify it and help bring about the success of Project Lumi.
Child of Eden plays much like Rez: you move along a fixed path and destroy (or rather, purify) the surrounding targets. Enemies destroyed go out in a shower of pyrotechnics and sound. The player can either use lock-on shots like in Rez, or use the Tracer, a new weapon that fires rapid-fire shots that are weaker but can destroy purple enemies and projectiles, which the lock-on shot cannot do. There are 5 main levels, called "Archives", each representing a different theme of humanity, and a Bonus Level, "Hope", a lengthy and difficult score attack stage. Players can either use the standard controller just like in Rez, or use the Kinect or PlayStation Move peripherals and make pointing and firing motions to play.
Reception to Child of Eden has been widely positive, with a score of 85 on Metacritic. Many reviewers cite it as an example of a Kinect game done right.
Child of Eden contains examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Like Rez before it, the story is told in the manual and supplemental materials, including the origin of the game's titular character.
- Arc Number: 8. You can lock up to 8 enemies (the "Octo-Lock"), the Score Multiplier goes up to 8x, and you have to score at least 800.000 points to get five stars in the main stages.
- Award-Bait Song: The touching ballad "Flow", appropriately used during the ending credits.
- Boss Rush: Archive 5, "Journey", similar to the final stage of Rez, is a medley of all the major boss forms from the previous four stages, before the lengthy final boss itself.
- Content Warnings: Also like Rez, the game warn players susceptible to seizures that they might have to exercise caution while playing.
- Critical Annoyance: Your health starts beeping and pulsating red whenever you have only 1 HP left. However, the sound is actually a little lower than other sound effects and blends with the music since the beeping follows the music tempo, so the "annoyance" is at least mitigated.
- Formula-Breaking Episode: The "Hope" archive is one giant curveball of a Brutal Bonus Level, smacking unaware players in the face who were expecting it to be more of the same, plot or gameplay-wise. It has no plot connection to the other archives, most enemies are just simple cubes (think "Trance Mission" from Rez), the music's tempo changes drastically on a whim every few minutes, the latter half of the level borders on Bullet Hell, and there are no item pickups beyond what the player starts with.
- Lighter and Softer: Than its predecessor. The visuals are much brighter, and the plot is also more on the positive side: Instead of trying to save an AI that is shutting itself down, you're trying to save an AI in near-complete development. In addition, you don't destroy enemies, you "purify" them; this is best shown in the boss battles, in which the large wonders you fight don't disappear, but instead evolve into a friendly One-Winged Angel form.
- Musical Gameplay: Locking onto 8 enemies (aka an "Octo-Lock") and then releasing in time with the beat nets a "Perfect" multiplier. Each successive Octo-Lock raises the multiplier, all the way up to x8. Getting an Octo-Lock but failing to release on the beat (or at least get a "Good") will reset the multiplier.
- The Tracer is notable for firing at a sixteenth-note pattern, even slowing down or speeding up as the music requires, and using it won't reset the multiplier as long as the previous and following Octo-Locks are at least "Good."
- Non-Lethal K.O.: You don't kill enemies; you're purifying them. This is best exemplified with the bosses; when you finish fighting them, they take on new forms and you leave them in peace.
- Scenery Porn: The game makes good use of the Xbox 360's processing power, utilizing more vibrant colors, a higher poly count, and liberal use of particle effects, putting even Rez HD to shame.
- Score Milking: Averted, in contrast to Rez. Simply destroying parts of a boss won't necessarily give you points, and neither does shooting down projectiles aimed at you. Some levels have swarms of small, harmless enemies you can lock on to to get your multiplier going.
- Score Screen: Given the score attack nature of the game, reaching the end of each Archive will provide info on how long it took you to finish, how many points you scored, your star rank, and a bonus for each unused Euphoria. Additionally, if you still haven't unlocked everything, you get to pick one of three unlockables for Lumi's Garden.
- Secret Level: The "Hope" archive, which doesn't show up on the level select until beating all of the prior archives at least once on Normal difficulty.
- Shoot the Bullet: That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, however. And it won't reset the multiplier when you use it right. Lampshaded during the first mini-boss, where the projectiles explode into a flurry of electric blue cubes,
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: All the way on the Idealism side.
- Smart Bomb: Euphoria. Unlike the Overdrive in Rez, it instantly wipes out enemies on the screen at the press of a button instead of acting as a turret.
- Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Items and projectiles emit distinct sounds that get louder the closer they are to the camera, useful to tell their distance when you can't see them. Do you hear the sound of Lumi's voice? Find it, it's either health or Euphoria. Do you hear a droning sound getting closer and closer? Shoot it down, it's a projectile.
- Space Whale: Evolution's boss, accompanied by Space Manta Rays.
- Which transforms into a phoenix when it goes One-Winged Angel!
- Technology Porn: Archive 4, "Passion", is a tribute to human technology, featuring wonders such as giant gears, race cars, space shuttles, and a nice big satellite for a boss.
- Theme Music Power-Up: "Heavenly Star", during the final battle.