Written by Pat Kerley
Get ready for a charming adventure, as you travel Lemuria and become its defender. Child of Light is an RPG with platformer and puzzle-like elements. You take charge of a young child in a world of fantasy and slowly build a party of colourful characters on your quest to return to your father.
The story is told in a delightful manner, reminiscent of a story you would tell a child. The whole story is even told in rhyme. You play as Aurora and the narrative begins when she has in fact died and her father, a duke who rules over a kingdom of five hills in Austria is distraught.
The child awakens at an altar in the lands of Lemuria and sets out on an adventure to return to her grieving father which escalates to saving the world. The tale itself is simplistic yet incredibly engaging due to the strange yet fascinating cast. From a jester who always fails to rhyme on her last sentence to a giant stone golem in search of a missing part, the surrounding characters complement Aurora herself. It’s short and sweet, staying around long enough to make you feel very satisfied with what you got but not too long to become too repetitive in nature.
The gameplay is that of old-school RPGs using turn-based mechanics with a bar on the bottom of the screen showing who is next in line to let loose an attack. However, you can be creative with the timeline thanks to the firefly named Igniculus who has two abilities during a fight.
One such ability allows you to slow down enemies when you glow on them, giving you a clear advantage as you will get ahead of them faster to deal out more damage. If you time it well, it can be seriously effective, as when you hit a foe as they are casting it will cancel their attack and push them back.
It’s quite clever how well implemented the battle system is due to this, it gives it that extra layer of complexity, so while it is faithful to the games it has taken influence from it adds in its two cents to the mix and it paid off, leaving a satisfying combat system. The second ability that Igniculus offers is one that heals any members of your party as you glow on them.
The firefly is quite the versatile creature, though he does have his limit when his bar runs empty it takes him a while to charge back up or you can knock into shiny plants to gather energy during the fight.
Each character has a distinctive set of moves, from your heavy hitter like Golem who deals heavy damage to Finn, a Capilli who specializes in spells. It allows each character to shine as some will be better suited against some enemies over others.
There is a level system in place in the game and you gain a skill point for every level you achieve, the skill points then can be used to improve your characters from the basics such as more defence and strength, to unlocking new skills and powering up already obtained skills through a rather linear skill tree.
You then have items that can give you an edge in a battle called oculi. These are stones that can be found in the game and can be merged together for them to have a stronger effect. Some of the effects can range from giving you more health to adding elemental damage to your strikes, they can give you some really good advantages. You can place three of these stones on you in different places, and every stone has three different effects depending on what slot you place them in.
There is a difficulty setting, a casual mode that can be played through easy enough, and the harder difficulty that can test your abilities where the boss fights are all the more intense. While it by no means is the hardest game out there, it does hold a challenge for those who will opt to play on the hardest difficulty.
Outside of battle, you have the freedom to explore the 2D plane this game takes place on, where you will see enemies skulking around, which you can choose to avoid or fight. You will find chests littered about the place with items and oculi and you also have certain little chests that only Igniculus can open by shining light on them.
You can also use the firefly to brighten dark surroundings to give you better vision. There are a handful of puzzles within the game, they’re easy enough to get through and appear the odd time to mix things up a little. At the beginning of the game, you will find yourself on foot, but not too long into the game you will find yourself with the ability to fly, which really opens up the areas you visit and gives you great momentum to traverse the lands. On your journey, you can find a handful of side quests, that add a little more meat to the game.
Visually this game is beyond stunning, the UbiArt Framework engine flexing its muscles and coming to life on your screen with vibrant colours and charm that are just astounding. One little feature I really apricated was how characters from Austria and not native to Lemuria had 3D models, giving off a sense that they are outsiders to the world compared to others, showing they are different and stand out. I must say that the visuals of Aurora’s hair movement were gorgeous!
The music is a pleasure to the ears, giving a great tone depending on what situation you find yourself in, it holds a sense of mystery at points and really drags you into the world as you either fight or fly around freely. It can hit quite a few ranges, from the aforementioned mystery to peaceful, ominous and melancholy vibe.
Child of Light is a wonderful game and is a great stepping on point for those who wish to step into the world of RPGs. Its short story stays around long enough to keep you satisfied without the feeling of repetition sinking in as longer RPGs do. With a refreshing but slightly new take on the turn-based fighting system, a charming if simple story the like you would tell a child, an amazing art style and a surprisingly strong soundtrack make Child of Light a must-buy game.
You can get Child of Light on a multitude of platforms, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, the Wii U and Nintendo Switch.
If you are looking for games similar to Child of Light, I would recommend Rayman Legends, Valiant Hearts: The Great War and Persona 5.