This downloadable RPG made a lot of people stop in their tracks when it was first shown off by Ubisoft. Child of Light looked like an indie game, but was created by a publisher with huge resources and a fantastic marketing team. The game features a redheaded girl that flies around some beautiful maps with a unique look to them. Lets dig deep into this game in this review.
The game starts out being told as a fairy tale by a sweet mother. The fairy tale takes place in 1895 where Aurora, the main character, become sick when her dad ends up remarrying. The girl seems to have died, but ends up waking in a world where she has to find the Moon, Stars, and the Sun to defeat the Queen of the Night and make it back to her own world.
Initially when you first start playing you can just do basic platforming as Aurora. Aurora will learn the 3 main moves that you will be using all throughout the game itself. Aurora ends up meeting Igniculus (another character you control), who is effective at getting things that are out of reach, and may also reflect light upon enemies or on components of the foreground to solve puzzles. At the exact same time as all of this, Aurora additionally gets her own special skills. She can fly around and wield a sword, allowing her to fight through her enemies in a turn based combat system.
It is in those conflicts where the influence of conventional RPGs attests itself. Touching an enemy on the primary display begins semi-turn-based battle. A progress bar symbolizes the sequence in which the enemies and your characters will attack. Assaults or moves will take different lengths of time before being carried out after you pick one to use.
Aurora is an adequate physical combatant with a couple spells to toss about, but she also finds friends with skills that are useful skills. Some can throw spells to make the most of certain enemies’ elemental weaknesses. Fire enemies are easily hurt by water, for example. Some of your allies can throw buffs and debuffs to do things like boost your party, slow enemies down, or make you uninterruptible during combat. In conflicts you have two characters active at a time, although your party will wind up with around half a dozen characters in total. You will end up constantly switching out party members for combat since each one has their own benefits to using them, but as time goes on this can be a little bit of a pain to do.
Despite that occasional aggravation, the battle system is undoubtedly among the game’s largest strengths. During my playthrough on the tougher difficulty setting, I found myself handling low level enemies in a manner that was completely different than I normally do in RPGs. In Child of Light, for example, it can be advantageous to attempt to always prevent the enemies from pulling off their (frequently) crushing strikes as opposed to trying to obliterate one single enemy at a time. All this leads to your focus being split between your party members usage, your characters’ well-being, the incoming assaults, and more. It makes the combat exhausting on occasion, although it makes the conflicts more pleasing than most at the same time.
Other than conflicts, there’s a wide variety of entertaining things to do in the game. Enjoy staring at the visuals, clean out the region of enemies, find all the items in the area, etc.
The puzzles that show up every now and then are overly simplistic and occasionally lack variety. You mechanically shove blocks on switches without needing to figure anything out. You fit contours. It is pretty basic stuff.
Personally I found that I enjoyed Child of Light less than I expected to. It’s amazing to gaze at, and its combat system continued to be very enjoyable for many hours of my game time. Sadly, the world exploration wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, the overly repetitive battles (enjoyable as they were), and the narrative that isn’t all that focused bring the game down a bit after a powerful initial impression. Some essential flaws keep the game from getting the highest recommendation here, although it’s most definitely worth playing through as it is still quite enjoyable and fun.