Child of Light is a traditional turn based RPG from Ubisoft. It tells the story of Aurora, a young girl from 1895 Austria, who slips into a coma as a result of an illness. She wakes to find herself in the magical world of Lemuria, where the evil Queen Umbra has stolen the sun, the moon and the stars. Aurora must recover these so that she can awake and be reunited with her Father.
Developed using their in-house UbiArt framework tools (as seen in the recent Rayman games) it has a gorgeously animated water colour painted look. The game is presented as a 2D side scrolling affair, reminiscent of the older Zelda games. Early on you will acquire the ability to fly. There are tons of hidden chests and collectibles to find, and the game positively encourages you to wander off in search of things, to absolutely explore everywhere. You’ll turn up stat buffs, potions, crystals and optional side quests. There are about a dozen of these in the game and well worth pursuing for the goodies that you’ll pick up at their conclusion.
As her quest progresses, the story is revealed on screen as an epic poem. That this seems forced and stilted, that some of the words appear to rhyme when written down rather than in actual speech is a limitation of this design choice. The music on the other hand is gorgeous. Largely an aching piano score, it never got tired and added much to the overall experience. The soundtrack by Coeur De Pirate is on Spotify for anyone’s that’s into their game music. The song that plays at the games conclusion will be on ‘Soundtrack of our Gaming Lives’ as soon as I send Daren and Matt an email about it!
She is accompanied on her quest by Igniculus, a small blue firefly, and by a number of other travelling companions who join her and will fight alongside her. These other party members tend to fulfill a specific RPG character class such as healer, tank, Mage, buffer and so on. And what makes this game just that little bit special is the combat mechanic. I will endeavour to explain..
Enemies are visible on the screen and you can choose to ignore them for the most part, but like any JRPG style game, not grinding your characters will make those boss battles next to impossible. Approach the enemy to start the fight, or approach them from behind to gain a first strike advantage in the battle itself.
Combat is turn based, and is always two (from your team) against two or three enemies. You have the ability to swap in any of your team more or less at will, and without penalty so bring in your healer when you need to. Magic attacks are the bog standard elementals fire, water, electricity and different enemies will be weaker or more defensive against them. So far, so familiar. The battle mechanic twist that Child of Light brings in is the way it skillfully mixes the turn based combat with some real time interactions which with some practice, can turn the tide of any battle to your advantage.
All character in battle are represented by an icon at the bottom of the screen, moving from left to right. At the right end is a red ‘cast’ zone. When you reach this it your turn, when you reach the end of the red zone, you’ll then actually take your turn. Strike an enemy whilst they’re in the red and you will interrupt their turn, sending them back along the timeline and allowing you to take your turn without fear of reprisals. Get the hang of this and it’s possible to defeat enemies without them even laying a finger or scaly claw upon you. You can buff your party so that you increase their speed, thereby taking their turns quicker, whilst at the same time you can use the right stick to hover Igniculus over an enemy, which shines a light over them, slowing their own timeline progress.
It really is a tremendously fun battle system. All characters have the usual Upgrades and skill trees, winning a battle will share XP amongst the whole party, not just those that took part, and every character has a skill tree page to level up stats and learn new spells or abilities.
There’s also Materia, sorry, Oculi – magical crystals that can enhance armour and weaponry. The Oculi themselves can be combined together to create more powerful versions and it’s useful to keep levelling these up as you encounter tougher enemies.
That said, it is not difficult game, rarely for me do I get to the end of a game without having seen the all too familiar ‘Game Over’ but it was the case with this game and I think as you long as you fight everything you see and spend some time in the levelling menus then you should have no problem at all. The game doesn’t outstay it’s welcome, lasting around 15 -20 hours I guess and was well worth the £12 download. I would even go so far as to say that I would have liked it to continue, but a new game plus version unlocks on completion of the game. For achievement and trophy hunters it’s easy completion, though be warned that one achievement does require trading Oculi Crystals with friends over Uplay.
MLG Rating: 8/10 Format: PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Dashboxer purchased a digital copy of Child of Light for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of five days on a Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.