You might remember that we did a preview of the game last month, but for those of you that missed it, you can check it out here. All of the quirky artwork remains intact and this time around there's a much wider variety to it. At the very least, we can safely say that as quirky as the last version of the game we previewed was, this one's got it beat.
When you begin playing Eternity's Child, you're going to get what will start out as a standard introduction to the story line of the game, but after several pages of text roll by, it begins to feel more like a novel than an introduction. Once you get past this intro, you'll play a basic starting level to get your feet wet with the controls. There's not much to this first level, but don't let it fool you. The next level is where the real fun begins and the difficulty makes a significant jump.
For the most part, the game plays out like a traditional platformer. Although running and jumping your way through the levels will take up the majority of your attention, you also have the ability to fire shots via a heart-shaped targeting icon that you can move around the screen using the mouse. You'll have to use these shots to take out the many enemies and obstacles that come your way early and often in the game. The final build of the game will include cooperative play, but this feature isn't found in this particular build of the game we have so we haven't got to try it out yet.
The levels in the game range from short and sweet to long and grueling and there's not a lot of rhyme of reason as to how you encounter them. It almost feels like the game throws you a bone, as many of these easy levels come directly after one of the more treacherous levels. It's a nice chance to catch your breath before you encounter another brutal level.
The difficulty itself doesn't change much between levels, but the number of checkpoints does. Some levels have checkpoints all over the place and others hardly feature any at all. This ups the difficulty even more and at times can become a bit frustrating having to start the entire level over again each time you die if you haven't yet reach a checkpoint. If you like a solid challenge, you'll feel right at home playing Eternity's Child, but if you’re easily frustrated this might not be the game for you.
Your goal in each level is to locate the hidden diamonds and then reach the large skull at the end of the level. Sometimes this is fairly standard and involves nothing more than following the platforms to the end. However, in later levels, locating these diamonds, not to mention the end of the level, can become quite tricky. The levels also begin to take a more vertical direction later on in the game and also tend to feature a very maze-like intricacy. It's this scavenger hunt-type quality that really adds some game play appeal once you reach these trickier levels. It's safe to say that Eternity's Child starts a little slow, but does pick up a bit once you get a few levels under your belt.
The music remains the same in this build as well and it's still just as beautifully orchestrated. It's got a very quirky sound to it, which seems to perfectly compliment the insane art style the game employs. While the sound effects feel like a somewhat ignored aspect of the game, it's probably just as well since you certainly wouldn't want anything to cover up the enjoyable musical score found throughout the game. It’s quite apparent from playing the game that the visual and musical efforts in the game are its true shining points.
It's clear from playing this new build of the game that Eternity's Child has come a long way since we last played the game. The levels are much more intricate and the play control itself feels a bit tighter as well. The game still uses a very loose play control system that will obviously take some gamers a little time to get used to and the high degree of difficulty doesn't help matters much.
If you can enjoy an extremely quirky platforming experience with some of the most creative artwork you'll ever likely see in a video game, Eternity's Child is a game to put on your WiiWare wish list. But if you’re one who likes your platforming control a bit more pinpoint in its accuracy, you might find Eternity’s Child a little loose for your liking. Look at it this way, at only 500 Wii Points, the game has easily got enough going for it to at least take a chance on.
Note: For some reason the water looks quite pixilated in our screenshots. Luc has assured us that this is a bug with our graphics card and there is no danger of the WiiWare version having such a problem.