It’s been awhile since I’ve played an indie game that invoked such emotion from me, since Journey in 2012. Child of Light is a masterpiece and should be played by anybody who enjoys JRPGs or RPGs in general. The game is short ,sweet and thought invoking.
The artwork in this game is not like any other. Hand drawn trees and mountains in the background gives this game layers upon layers of scenery. Mix all that with excellent dream-like orchestral music and you got yourself a moving, playable piece of art.
Ubisoft has out done themselves with Child of Light. If you were to take Rayman and give it an RPG makeover, this game would be the product of that, just replace Rayman with a young red-headed girl named Aurora. She’s on a journey to save her father from a horrible sickness and trying to save the world at the same time. Aurora is new to this world, she’s used to being held up in her castle never to see the darkness that lurks outside her door. But when she is forced into the magical world of Lemuria, and must overcome her fears to save the one she loves while helping some other friends along the way.
You will encounter enemies, trying to hinder your journey. This is where Child of Light truly shines, in the combat system. Everyone involved in the battle has their own icon on the bottom of the screen, these icons are on one single bar. Once a person reaches the casting area, they are about to do an attack or action. But if someone is hit while casting, their action is canceled and must start the process over. This makes for some really interesting and fun fights. Also while fighting, you or another player are controlling Igniculus (your firefly companion), with him you can heal allies and slow down enemies on the bar. Of course there is a limit to these abilities.
Every encounter is fun, very active and always had me on the edge of my seat, especially during tough boss battles. You really have to think sometimes to beat an enemy down, and it felt very rewarding to trap an enemy in a tennis match of sorts. My ally and I would hit at just the right times so they would never be able to get an attack in. More RPG’s should definitely look at this system and incorporate it into other games. It truly is brilliant.
Exploring around the wide landscapes of Lemuria is very free and fun. It’s basically a 2-d sidescroller of sorts, but you do get the ability to fly early in the game. That first moment of flight is magical and you feel like you can go anywhere but unfortunately movement is limited for most of the game. There are thorns and waterfalls that get in your way, and you are in caves a lot so having the ability of flight almost seems pointless at times nevertheless it creates an atmosphere of freedom.
There are also some puzzles in Child of Light, nothing too mind-bending. These are usually box-puzzles and “shadow” puzzles. Your fairy companion can shine lights on things to cast shadows off of them. There was nothing else besides those types of so it was kind of disappointing. The box puzzles were far and few in between, so they didn’t plague the game. But I think the shadow mechanic was wasted, it had a huge potential for some interesting puzzles. I wish Ubisoft had gone farther with that, but it didn’t detract me from the story at all, which was very endearing.
Child of lights dialogue is told entirely in rhyme, yes Iambic pentameter! This definitely gave the game that fairy tale vibe that it tries to present itself with. It makes for some great comedic banter between some of the characters. For example, one of your allies that you meet along the way doesn’t really get the idea of rhyming while speaking (sort of breaking the 4th wall), so Igniculus always has to correct his sentences so they rhyme like everyone elses. The only downside is that at times the words felt forced and didn’t really make sense because they changed the pronunciation of certain words to fit the rhyming scheme.
Along Auroras journey she finds many allies that join in your party, you get to control all of them in battle and can switch party members on the fly. You have two people in battle at a time, each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses. One may be an archer who can hit multiple enemies pretty quickly, and another is basically a black mage who has access to very powerful spells but lacks in physical attributes. There are no equipment items in this game, but there are Oculi, gems that raise stats or adds an elemental attribute to allies physical attacks. You can create stronger gems by mixing weaker Oculi together. The system is very simple and easy to use, no complicated synthesis method here..
Child of Light is easy for anyone to just pick up and play, It’s a JRPG in context but it implements its mechanics very loosely. You wont have to grind, or do boring fetch quests to reach the end-game. It’s an amazing adventure that doesn’t bog you down with excess information. Everything is right there in front of you, ready to be taken in. There is even a little plot-twist I didn’t see coming, which I was pretty surprised by. If you’re looking for a beautiful game to get yourself absorbed into for about 10 hours, this is it. While the puzzles are scarce and easy, and the freedom of flight is not really there, I would recommend this game to any indie game lover or game enthusiast (like me) in general. This game is a delicious treat to any gamer, and you would be stupid to not give it a taste.
You can download Child of Light for $15 on PSN, and the Nintendo E-shop. Believe me, It is worth the money.
Greysun Morales, Signing off.
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