Review by Nathan Miller
There is a tale without a fail which will enlighten the heart without a joke or a fart. Child of Light is a role-playing game and that isn't a shame. (Ahem). Okay, Okay, I will stop with the rhyming. The only reason I did that was because Child of Light's entire story and dialogue are all in rhymes. It can be a bit much at times, but I believe it does create an atmosphere that fits the game. Child of Light is a downloadable game by Ubisoft for PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. It uses the wonderful UbiArt Framework engine (developed for Rayman Origins), and I can say wholeheartedly that this game would not be what it is without it. The visuals are absolutely astonishing and fluid regardless of the console you play it on. I'll continue to boast about its technical prowess later; for now, let's get into the story:
In Child of Light, you play as a young girl (Aurora) who awakes in a mysterious world (Lemuria) ruled by the mysterious Queen of the Night. Aurora sets out on a path to return home but slowly recognizes the sorrow and misery of those who reside within Lemuria. As she gains friends and allies, Aurora changes her priorities in order to free the people of Lemuria from the grasp of the Queen of the Night. The tone is told as a fairy tale read to you by your mother before bed. The story is filled with moral dilemmas and symbolism that is overcome with courage and positive connotations.
Child of Light is reminiscent of the game series Final Fantasy but has a dash of Limbo for added beauty. The game is a 2D experience but does introduce ways, like flying, to create more freedom. As seen above, the battle system is based around time. You choose between Attack, Magic, Skill, Item, or Defense and depending on where you fall on the timeline indicates when you will attack. If you are in the cast portion of the timeline and are hit from any enemy, your attack will cancel out and you will be knocked back on the timeline. This adds an element of being activity knowledgeable of where your opponent is on the timeline. Enemies can be in teams of up to three while your team consists of only two.
Although you only have one team member actually fighting alongside of you, there is a support character named Igniculus (who is the first friend you make) who is present during your battles. Igniculus is a floating water dew (rain drop) controlled by you with the right stick, or by a friend/child with their own controller, that can be used to stun enemies before or during battles. If you were to stun an enemy before a battle, it gives you the upper hand in the fight and first strike. Also, the stun attack during the battle will slow down an enemies movement on the timeline which gives you an opportunity to attack before them (in order to knock them back down the timeline). Igniculus can be used to collect hidden items, health/mana orbs, and chests. A lot of the puzzles within Child of Light incorporate him, so he is very vital to many aspects of the game.
Lastly, there are various side missions within the game that are not connected to the main story. There is even a quest that can take the entire game to do if started at the beginning. You can gain new characters for battle which can be traded out mid-battle also. All of them have their own unique move sets and styles: Mage, Archer, Beast, Knight and etc which accompanies their personalities. Every character has a skill branch that has three different paths, so depending how you want a certain teammate to support Aurora, you can make a duo that best fits your play style. There are shards of various crystals that can be collected and put into characters which will give them added perks. Let's say you add a red shard to someone's weapon, that character will now do fire damage on top of their regular attack. Various enemies in the game are different elements, so these shards add another element of depth to your strategies in battle.
Child of Light is visually stunning regardless of the platform you play on. It continues to impress you with vastly different areas and thoughtfully created enemies. The fighting system is simple; however, the active timeline and element changes between each battle will keep you on your toes. The characters have a lot of life to them and each village you visit has its own notable culture. The bickering and jokes made among your teammates are great (each teammate will interact with a new one regardless of your usage of them). There is a lot of love that was put into this game, and it resides in every little detail and continues to leave a favorable impression on you.
The Boss battles consist of large menacing creatures with abilities that can cause you to panic (in a good way) at every turn. These battles make you switch through your teammates mid-battle in order to continuously hold the upper hand, and it leaves you feeling accomplished once you defeat said Boss. The side quests are interesting and deliver more to the story while the puzzles are fun and engaging. Lastly, this game is roughly 10-12 hours for the main story alone which can easily double if you decide to do everything the game has to offer. There is also a new game plus that will carry over all your abilities and stats if you want to continue leveling or collecting items within the game. As a downloadable title for only $15 dollars, the amount of time you will end up putting in (I put in about 18 hours) is well worth the purchase price. For Achievement/Trophy Buffs: This game is a very easy 1000/Platinum.
When I started this review, I tried to rhyme the first few sentences and failed miserably. The reason why I did this is because Child of Light's dialogue is all in rhymes. EVERYTHING IS RHYMES. Rhyming may fit the game, but it can drive you bonkers after awhile. I commend them in actually writing the entire game in rhymes (that had to be very annoying in itself), but it felt redundant at times and out of place. I would not say it should deter you from playing, but you may zone out at times because of the dialogue.
Igniculus sounded really useful when I mentioned him earlier right? He definitely is.. Maybe too much. Whenever I battled against regular enemies, Igniculus made it very easy to completely dominate any enemy to the point that most died before throwing a single strike. He started to make battles too easy. I did not mention this before, but Igniculus can actually heal you with his power instead of stunning an enemy (if you choose him to). You can also have him do this while you wait to select a move, so it is possible to completely heal yourself with no penalty against you. It is worth mentioning that his power has its own bar and can run out, but you can wait for it to recharge before continuing the battle if you choose. That being said, you can choose not to use him at all if you want to make it harder but realistically most people would take advantage of his powers.
Child of Light is a wonderful charming game. It is visually beautiful enough to amaze anyone who plays through and engaging enough to keep you wanting more. The combat is simple enough for anyone to pick up but difficult enough to have you contemplate your next move. Child of Light is not afraid to pull at your heart strings (which trust me it will do on a few occasions). Although a few missteps in the creators choices may distract you, they simply are not significant enough to damper the overall experience. Whether you own a Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PsVita, Pc, or a Wii U, I wholeheartedly recommend this game. There haven't been many RPGs released for a lot of these consoles, so if RPGs interest you: Please support this game. The two videos above consist of the first ten minutes of the game. I highly recommend watching it.