Child of Light perfectly captures the feeling of a modern dark fairy tale.
Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing the 2D Platformer/RPG, Child of Light. At first glance, the game’s graphics may fool a few people into thinking that the title was made by an indie studio, but it was in fact made by Ubisoft.
The game draws upon fairy tales for inspiration and captures the feeling of a modern dark fairy tale quite well. The levels and graphics are oppressive and peculiar, yet beautiful at the same time, and when combined with the creepy music can really draw you into the universe.
Child of Light’s story is told like an epic poem, and can be quite a refreshing pace if you’re starting to find yourself tired of the dark and brooding narration that most games have these days. The almost playful voice this entails seems like it would be a stark contrast to the feeling the game is trying to invoke, but the truth would be quite opposite and it meshes quite well.
Child of Light places you in control of the Duke’s daughter, Aurora. She is seemingly on her deathbed, having contracted an illness that has caused her to fall asleep. Her poor father’s heart is breaking, for he believes that he has lost his beloved daughter. In fact, she was transported to the kingdom of Lemuria, and is tasked with recovering the kingdom’s sun, moon, and stars from the evil Dark Queen.
Along her journey she is accompanied by Igniculus, a fairy/firefly. Igniculus appears to be a glowing blue ball and is invaluable as a companion, for he is your only source of light in several of the game’s darker areas. He is critical in solving many of the game’s puzzles, and even is a valuable battle ally, even though he cannot actually fight. What he can do, however, may be more useful. By hovering over an enemy and holding down L2, you can slow that enemy, granting Aurora more time to act. If you are in dire straits and about to die, you can hover Igniculus over your character and heal with the same button. He runs on the Light Gauge, which can be replenished by Wishes and it can also regenerate by itself, though it takes a while.
If attacked while in the red, you can be interrupted. the same goes for your foes.
The game’s combat is an Active Time Battle style system. You can interrupt enemies if they are within a certain area of the ATB bar, thus allowing you to (possibly) strike multiple times when you add in Igniculus’s slowing ability. Be warned, however, as enemies can interrupt you as well, so if they can continually attack you when you reach the area, you may not be able to act without Igniculus’s help.
In addition to Igniculus, Aurora will encounter several interesting characters along her journey, including a jester, a man named Finn, whose village has been turned into birds, and more. Each has his or her own unique skills, such as the jester’s Tumble attack or the magical assaults of Finn, but you can only have two characters in battle (not including your glowing friend) at once. That said, you can swap out characters at will, thus allowing you to quickly replace a fallen ally or just try out new combinations.
The game is also quite open between levels, and good advice would be to search everywhere that you can. You will find quite a few items, such as statistic-increasing Stardusts that will prove invaluable along your journey.
Overall, Child of Light is a fantastic ride and a definite standout of this month’s game releases that should appeal to gamers of all ages.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5.