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Child of Eden

Child's play.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Child of Eden is the child of Rez, which might explain why Tetsuya Mizuguchi's astonishing new synaesthesia epic feels both warmly familiar and wonderfully inventive at the same time.

It's Rez in everything from the target reticule you move around the glowing, pulsing screen, to the twinkling, rippling, unfurling game worlds you float through, and its influence is tucked in there in terms of the story too, which restages the original game's narrative in a tale of five internet Archives - future worlds of pure information - that have become corrupted by viruses.

There's even another woman lurking at the centre of it all - Limi, a mysterious character who is, once again, trapped within the machine.

But something very important has changed. You have. No longer is your avatar a little shape-shifting chunk of geometry stuck in the middle of the screen. It's you, in your living room, with your hands moving the cursor around as you explore each intricate, fascinating Archive in turn.

Child of Eden's soundtrack is a touch more poppy than Rez - at times, it feels closer to Lumines.

It's Rez, and now you control it by conducting. Mizuguchi must feel pretty pleased with himself, although he's far too self-effacing to ever suggest as much: his greatest game has found its ultimate control scheme.

It's worth mentioning at the start that Child of Eden won't necessarily have to cost you upwards of £100 pounds or so to play. Mizuguchi's game controls very well with the regular PS3 or 360 control pad, and, yes, it also supports Move by the looks of it. But Kinect - and it's not often I've said this these past few days - brings something new to the game.

That much was clear to see when the curtain went up at the Los Angeles Theatre at the start of Ubisoft's conference, and there the great man was, limbering up, turning to face the screen, throwing out his arms, and then playing the game in broad, swooping movements.

Time-tunnels, huge trees made of stem cells, and swarms of little musical sperm.

Mizuguchi has made Kinect fascinating again by proposing that, if your body truly is the controller, why not make a big deal of it? When you play Child of Eden, you're part of the show, part of the overall effect. Even the camera calibration process, which most developers get out the way as forgettably as possible, is a pleasure to watch with this one, as your entire body is recreated in tiny little fireflies while the game boots up. Take a bow, Q Entertainment.

Backstage at Ubisoft's booth on the show floor, we get a better chance to look at the game, with Mizuguchi personally playing through the Ubisoft conference demo again - an Archive which I think is actually called Eden - and beyond, battling off waves of luminous squid, targeting and flushing out buzzing little clusters of orange shrapnel, picking through huge spectral sunflower heads with petals made of fibre optic cables, and finally taking on a boss that looks like a space station built from a disco ball wedged on top of a couple of karaoke microphones.