The duke’s daughter Aurora is dead… and yet, she lives. Join Aurora across the mysterious kingdom of Lemuria on her quest to return home. Helped by Igniculus the firefly, Finn the Capilli and many more, she must defeat the Queen of the Night who has stolen the sun, the moon and the stars.
Ubisoft has crafted one of the most interesting new games on the market and can really only be described with only two words — beautiful art. Child of Light has an elegant, hand painted art and endearing character design to it which makes it incredibly unique looking. This is a fantastic RPG feels like something new and different, sparkling with a combat system that is beyond expectation, but at the same time easy to learn. So why should you pick up Child of Light to add to your collection?
The plot of the game focuses on Aurora, a young princess who must embark on a quest to recapture the three sources of light stolen from the kingdom of Lemuria. She awakens in a dream world full of mystery and strange creatures; spiders that were once minor nuisances have become viable threats to her life, and nothing is as it seems. While that may sound an awful lot like most other games in the genre, Aurora’s change from a frightened child at the beginning of the game to the hero makes her journey a very personal road to travel, despite the broad strokes this work of art is painted with. There is a lot of focus on warmth and sentimentality that resonates throughout the game. The plot of the game really feels like a child’s fantasy. Some modern roleplay games seem to add too much in the way of extra systems and facets that can take away from the gameplay, but Child of Light keeps focused on the plot of the story.
Speaking in terms of graphics, this game is gorgeous and players may be able to tell the art is inspired by artists including Hayao Miyazaki and Yoshitaka Amano. The greater goal of Child of Light is to present a childhood storybook world in a video game and it’s in the graphics where it succeeds in doing so. The backgrounds are like watercolour paintings and makes the game feel like playing moving art. The character portraits in the menus look amazing and flow with the same warmth and sentimentality that can be felt throughout, right down to the detailed hit animations in the battle sequences. Graphically, this may be one of the highest quality indie games ever made, and it is all thanks to Ubisoft’s UbiArt engine which had been previously used to create two incredibly gorgeous Rayman games. The environments burst with life in every pixel. The one thing that cannot be said enough of this game is that the animation is incredible. The attention to detail is one of this great games strong points; For example, Aurora’s hair is one of the most impressive points, as it catches in the air and moves just like hair really would. It may be small, but it gives a great effect.
The sound of Child of Light is this slow and somber soundtrack, highlighted by a lot of stringed instruments; similar to the Shenmue franchise and Journey, it is heavily atmospheric. The voice over narration used to move the story forward in the cut scenes is absolutely fantastic, and much like the music, it is relaxing and subdued. The music fits the scenes it is used for and has this subdued haunting nature that really adds to the excellence that Ubisoft has graced us with. The soundtrack is really meant to be appreciated as you traverse the game, and is something really savoured. A great suggestion is to play with some nice headphones on and really enjoy the experience.
On the controls front, they’re quite easy to pick up and once you master it, the game is so much more rewarding to play. A lot of the games mechanics run through Igniculus, who is a bright blue firefly that Aurora meets early on and is her first ally. He feeds on little bits of light that can be found throughout the world, which can be used to refill energy. Outside of combat you can use Igniculus to heal you and while in battle you can also have him slow down enemies so you can get another turn in, which also lets you hold onto such things like potions without losing health. This may seem like something that would be game-breaking but its not as his meter refills slowly without help, and instant refills on the battlefield are limited. You still need to be careful mixing his healing powers, combat and basic defense into the game. This is turn based as well and the active battle system features a very handy little meter on the bottom of the screen letting you know the order of combat. This little addition makes sure that there is no guesswork involved in which character is up next, and you can time things with the enemy slowdown technique to work in your favour thanks to the design choice. Skill trees allow you to enhance your abilities beyond the usual leveling up system and there is a cool alchemy system embedded into combat as well. You can puck up various elements called Oculi and bind them to equipment, which allows you to buff certain things like fire or water and dole out more damage. There is a lot going on with the battle system but it is easy to learn and fun to use.
Child of Light is a memorable RPG and a great new entry into a genre that seems to have lapsed a bit since the PS2 generation. Combining likable characters with a great storyline and stunning graphics, it is an easy game to recommend. This is also a game that can be enjoyed by any age group, that is kept light hearted, except for points where serious matters are used to drive the plot forward in large ways. If you are impressed with the visuals at first, you will love that it is worth buying as it turns into an RPG you won’t be able to turn away from later on.
+ Beautiful graphics
+ Great story
+ Wonderful soundtrack
+ Excellent animation
+ Fun battle system
- Forced rhyming