Child of Light
- Release Date: April 29, 2014
- Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Genres: Platforming, Role-Playing
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U
- Platform Chosen by Reviewer: PlayStation 4
Child of Light follows a young girl by the name of Aurora who finds herself in the mysteriously magical world of Lumeria after falling ill, and by all appearances dying in her sleep, in our world. Aurora soon learns that she is the only one who can save Lumeria from the evil queen Umbra, who has stolen the moon, the stars and the sun from the sky, casting Lumeria in a state of eternal darkness. Aurora must muster up all of her strength to defeat Umbra and save Lumeria while also saving her own world from falling apart, but she is not alone. Along the way Aurora makes friends with certain folks in Lumeria who pledge to fight by her side and support her in her quest to defeat Umbra and bring light back to Lumeria. Among these friends is a small, blue firefly named Igniculus who remains Aurora’s guide and faithful companion throughout the game.
While very simplistic and even bordering on predictable in some ways, Child of Light offers a truly beautiful narrative for players to take in and enjoy. There are various small side objectives that you may choose to complete on your own which expand on the story and the game’s characters. Each character has their own backstory and motivation for joining Aurora, all of them are unique and realized as separate character from both a narrative and gameplay standpoint. These characters only add to the overall experience by making the game more rich and full of life. As a player you will not only cheer for Aurora, you will also cheer these companions on throughout the game.
Child of Light features a combat system centered around a unique turned-based combat formula. Bumping into enemies patrolling around Lumeria will trigger a combat sequence. While in most cases you can go around the enemy in some way to avoid a confrontation, there are boss fights and other unavoidable battles throughout the game. Combat in Child of Light is fun and rewarding, so skipping battles will only hurt you later on in the game as you will be lacking the experience needed to defeat more substantial enemies.
You will be pitted against one to three enemies at any time, aside from boss battles the number of enemies you face is random. On your side will be players of your choosing. As you progress through the game you will acquire plenty of teammates, each with their own unique skills, which are interchangeable during battle. Once you learn the benefit of patience and timing, battles become a breeze. The meter on the bottom of the screen helps with timing as it clearly shows when your team or your enemies are attacking and how long it will take to complete the selected attack. It becomes strategic as soon as you start planning attacks and defenses ahead of time which is not only efficient, but key to defeating any enemy.
The gameplay in Child of Light can be summed up as incomplex. This is not to say that the game is poorly made or boring from a gameplay perspective, it’s just not necessarily a difficult or challenging system. Aside from combat there is a good deal of exploring to be done. As it is played from side-perspective there are a plethora of hidden treasures and items to be found if you take the time to explore the environment. There are also side missions, as I mentioned before, which may or may not involve combat which grant you experience points, treasures, items and good standing among the citizens of Lumeria.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Child of Light is its fairy tale themed narrative. Not only does the story play out like a classic fairy tale, all of the dialog is told in rhymes. From beginning to end, charming dialog is exchanged between each and every equally charming character in lovely cadence. I found that this was not only a unique element but also created a very delightful world in which to play, based on these charming qualities. All dialog is readable but not spoken, the only spoken dialog is the narration at the beginning and end of the game. Because of the this the writing is key and does not fail to hold onto its allure throughout the game.
Another amiable aspect of Child of Light is the art style. The game has a watercolor look, as if it has been painted onto a canvas in an extremely attractive way. It lends even more credibility to the overall fairy tale feeling of the game as it appears to look a lot like a book of fairy tales. Due to the art style, graphics aren’t necessarily important but it is notable to say that the game looks beautiful in that regard. Child of Light is also very smooth, I encountered no glitches, bugs, clipping or other flaws from a technological standpoint.
Overall, I found that I could not put the controller down while playing through Child of Light. To be more clear, I loved the game and found it to be so very lovely and enjoyable. I personally loved the simplicity of the whole thing. From the strength of Aurora and bonds formed between her and her friends to the gameplay and the writing, art and charm – Child of Light is marvelous. The game is extremely well put together in technological, writing and art perspectives. If you have yet to play it, I suggest that you do so as soon as possible.