CHILD OF LIGHT REVIEW
The absurdly beautiful Child of Light has arrived to charm us all with its storybook visuals and fairytale whimsy.
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on May 19, 2014 11:10 (May 19, 2014 11:10)
Written by: Joe
As Good as it Looks:
"Child of Light" has loomed large on the industry's radar for a long time. A very traditional Japanese RPG from the very un-Japanese studios at Ubisoft, it's a title that has garnered praise and interest effortlessly with its unique visual style and charming aesthetic alone.
Regardless of the undeniable talents of the team that put Child of Light together - many of the same people that worked on the fantastic Far Cry 3 - I went into it cautiously. As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover.
You play Aurora, an Austrian girl that falls ill with a sickness that puts her into a comatose state. Upon waking again in a strange land called Lemuria, Aurora explores and attempts to go home. Along the way she finds that the worlds celestial bodies have been stolen by someone known only as The Black Queen.
Soon she runs into Igniculus, a sprite that helps her in her quest to return to her world, and her father.
Told as though it were a children's storybook, Child of Light immediately won me over and cured me of any trepidation. It is a somewhat simple tale to start with, but it's wonderfully told. As you traverse Lemuria nothing breaks character. This is a vivid fairytale brought to life. All dialogue and exposition rhymes - sometimes awkwardly, I'll admit - but the game is overall much stronger for this dedication to the form.
Along the way Aurora meets a myriad of strangers - emphasis on strange - that join her party and help her on my quest. My favourite among them, and the first you meet, is Rubella, a jester who can't seem to adhere to the formula. Whenever anyone sets her up for dialogue she fails to rhyme the obvious choices, and has to be corrected constantly.
The band quickly grows and almost every story is as interesting and imaginative as the last. Considering how little this title costs, you get incredible value for money. By the time I came to the end of the twelve hour campaign I wasn't sure I was ready to leave it all behind, but I knew that every minute spent within its offerings had been well worth it.
Child of Light is a sidescrolling adventure, with Aurora travelling the world of Lemuria on a constant 2D plane. Her ethereal fairy wings help her traverse the skies too, though, and this more than makes up for the lack of an extra dimension.
There are plenty of puzzles and navigational challenges here, and the fully controllable Igniculus can aid you in conquering them. They are all fun diversions that never outstay their welcome. A puzzle will never vex you for too long, or an obstacle course run for longer than it needed to. Lemuria is a place that's begging to be explored, and I was more than happy to do so.
Following the main quest brings you through most of the wonderful world Child of Light has to offer, chasing leads and finding new companions in an effort to return home. There are plenty of offshoots however for the explorer, and even several side quests that grant bonuses, gems or new members to your crew.
When Aurora encounters an enemy on the world map the game shifts to a battle mode, with two of Aurora's party duking it out with a handful of bad guys. Despite being made mostly in France, Child of Light is as traditional as Japanese RPGs come. The active battle system allows players and enemies to attack in turns, with a couple of ways to slow your enemies down present. You can switch out any member of your party on the fly, allowing you to adapt to any situation. If members are low on health you can tag in someone with healing abilities. If your enemies are incredibly fast, you can allow the party member with all the nerfs to slow their attacks down.
It's a robust system but it felt a little tired before the finale. Despite its new approach to the party, most of its systems are simply 'magic, melee or item' choices. None felt too taxing, although some of the enemies I faced left me truly awed. The battles are fun for the most part and the enemy designs keep this simple formula entertaining, but by the close I was avoiding encounters and trying to plod on with the main quest.