Child of LightWritten by: / / 9 Comments
- platform: PC PS3 PS4 WiiU Xbox 360 Xbox One
- genre: RPG
- developer: Ubisoft Montreal
- publisher: Ubisoft
Child of Light is a new IP developed by Ubisoft Montreal and helmed by Far Cry 3 Creative Director Patrick Plourde. The game is built using the same UbiArt Framework engine that powered Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends.
What You Need to Know
Child of Light is the story of a young girl called Aurora who’s the daughter of an Austrian duke. One day she falls ill and enters a deep slumber from which she awakens only to discover that she’s now in a fantasy realm called Lemuria that has had three celestial bodies (the sun, moon and stars) stolen by the Black Queen. Aurora is soon tasked with recovering these items and finding a magical mirror that will allow her to return to her father.
The game takes place entirely from a 2D perspective and combines simple platforming mechanics with a turn-based RPG battle system and a few basic puzzles thrown in for good measure.
Child of Light is essentially an interactive storybook featuring a handful of borrowed gameplay mechanics so that it can be packaged as a game. The dialogue and narration featured in Child of Light is almost all written in rhyme and this lends the game a very unique atmosphere that’s complimented by its beautiful visuals that at times resemble Beatrix Potter illustrations.
Another unique element of the game is Aurora’s firefly companion Igniculus who can be used to collect treasure lying out of her reach, heal allies during battle or slow down enemies by hovering over them and blinding them in the process. This lends an extra layer of strategy to combat and the best part is that Igniculus can be controlled by a second player if you’re keen to play the game alongside a friend or family member.
What’s the Same?
Despite its unique storybook presentation and rhyming dialogue Child of Light borrows a number of elements from the JRPG genre. The game’s skill tree system for each character in your party feels very similar to the Sphere Grid character development system in Final Fantasy X, and just like Square Enix’s game you can switch party members during battle whenever it’s your turn to act.
Another big feature in Child of Light is the ability to interrupt an enemy’s action if you can land an attack during a small window of opportunity. I recall seeing a very similar system used in the original Grandia and I think it was the intention of Ubisoft Montreal to pay homage to these classic JRPGs rather than rip them off and pretend that it was their own invention.
You’ll Enjoy Child of Light If You Liked…
… Rayman Legends or Rayman Origins. If you’re a fan of the visuals in either of these platformers then you’ll undoubtedly be blown away by Child of Light’s sumptuous graphics that look like they’ve been lifted from the pages of a fairytale storybook.
… Final Fantasy X. If you enjoyed the battle system in Square Enix’s popular JRPG then you’ll find many familiar elements in Child of Light such as the game’s character development system and the flexibility you have during combat to switch your party members around depending on who’ll be the most effective in a particular situation.
What I Liked
– 5.) Controlling Igniculus with the DualShock 4’s touchpad feels very intuitive and it’s easy to use him to collect some glowing orbs while you continue to move Aurora around.
– 4.) Child of Light is one of those games that has very few frustrating moments in them. It’s the perfect game to play if you want to enter a relaxed state of mind thanks to its evocative soundtrack, stunning scenery and simple controls.
– 3.) The game costs $15 and you certainly get your money’s worth in terms of its length and remarkable presentation.
– 2.) Child of Light feels very polished for a digital-only title. The user interface is well designed and easy to navigate, and the load times on PlayStation 4 never last more than a second.
– 1.) The game appears to reward you for engaging in optional battles by providing additional dialogue between your party members once a skirmish is over. This is the first time I’ve seen this system used in a RPG and it’s great to receive something extra for engaging the enemies in a level besides XP.
There was a moment while playing Child of Light when I thought the story was drawing to a conclusion after just a few hours of gameplay. Thankfully this wasn’t the case and my expectations were exceeded in terms of the game’s length.
What I Didn’t Like
– 4.) The only voice acting in the game occurs during a few instances when a narrator helps to set the scene. I would have loved for all my party members to have been fully voiced since reading text is hardly ever as entertaining as hearing a good actor saying the lines.
– 3.) There’s very little variation in terms of the strategy you need to employ during boss battles. Most of the bosses are joined by two smaller creatures that make the battle a lot tougher if you don’t take them down first.
– 2.) The puzzles in the game are far too simple and far too similar to each other to make this element of Child of Light noteworthy.
– 1.) There’s no Platinum or even Gold Trophy in Child of Light and I managed to get all but two of the Trophies on offer simply by playing through the game casually. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like much thought went into this aspect of the game.
Least Favourite Moment
When Aurora gets a pair of wings and can freely fly around each level it really took away the platforming element of the game I had enjoyed up until that point. In my opinion there was a lot more the developers could have done with this aspect of the game before giving Aurora the power to fly, and unfortunately this change takes place within the first hour of your journey so there’s very little time for the level designers to flex their creative muscles as far as platforming is concerned.
Child of Light features a handful of additional quests that are often triggered in the game’s beautifully realised towns. There’s also a New Game+ mode that allows you to retain all the skills you’ve unlocked despite resetting the storyline.
Furthermore, Ubisoft’s Uplay rewards scheme is well implemented in the game and there are are a number of extras to spend your points on such as concept art and stat-boosting items called Oculi.
The Bottom Line
Child of Light’s presentation is unquestionably excellent but its gameplay often feels bland, derivative and unambitious. Hopefully a sequel is released that delivers on the true potential of this new IP because the combination of an interactive storybook with innovative platforming and RPG mechanics would be a very compelling formula.
This Child of Light review was conducted on PlayStation 4