Child of Light Review
Written Monday, April 28, 2014 By Richard Walker
All is not well in the kingdom of Lemuria. Darkness has befallen the land, and it's up to Aurora to take a stand. Ubisoft Montreal's watercolour fairy tale is presented in rhyme, and last time we checked this wasn't a crime. But writing a review in the same way, might seem kinda stupid, some might say. Hey, let's try it anyway.
You play as red-haired heroine Aurora in Child of Light, a platformer and RPG that opens up when she gains the power of flight. An RPG that's deep, yet bright and breezy, Child of Light is a game that's moderately easy. Packed full of charm, it's something endearing, the gameplay straightforward, no need to be fearing. Pick up and play, it's systems are simple to understand, crafting Oculi jewels helps bolster your band.
Battles are often 2v3 affairs.
Meeting jesters, a dwarf, a fish-faced girl, masked warrior and other friends, you'll assemble a team that'll see you through to the end. Oculi can be applied to your weapons, talismans and armour, adding health, speed, strength, elemental damage or an XP farmer. Whatever the case, you'll level up after most battles, XP racking up following enemy death rattles. There are skill trees with upgrades where you can spend each earned skill point, boost spells and attacks for when the battle is joint.
Lemuria is also a huge place to explore, with chests to open, treasure to find, secret areas and more. Enemies wildly vary, some small and crappy, others big and scary. There's no shortage of things to see and do from the Forests of Mathildis to the sea and the sky, travelling to each region with the aid of your faithful firefly. Igniculus is his name, he can heal you, slow enemies and activate Oculi mechanisms, he has is own personality, charm and various mannerisms.
Child of Light's painterly style is a thing of beauty, the world home to a range of quests, some optional, some part of Aurora's duty. A lot of fetching items and backtracking you'll find, having to return to previous locations can become something of a grind. Luckily through the map screen you can easily fast travel, or alternatively you can press on with the main storyline and see it unravel. Each of Lemuria's locations has its own people to meet, from the Capilli dwarves, Kategida, Pisceans and Bolmus Populi, each region has things to turn your head and catch your eye.
Puzzles are rather simplistic.
Evil minions of darkness are dotted throughout levels, some you can avoid, some have to be destroyed. Each character has certain magic and specialisations, like Rubella's ability to heal, Oengus's earthquakes and Finn's elemental spells; there are buffs and potions too, speeding up and protecting your crew. Battles commence with a timeline to queue your attack, and you can interrupt enemy assaults or send them back. Two heroes can fight together at any one time, against up to three enemies, holding the line. Now this poetry stuff is getting too hard like a frozen potato, so let's temporarily abandon this stupid rhyme and pick it up later.
You can switch out characters mid-battle, meaning you can call upon the right party members for each enemy, as each are vulnerable or resistant to certain elements. You'll fight animated statues, rocks, spirits as well as other beasts, and you'll find that your tactics remain mostly the same throughout. Certain characters will fast become mainstays within your party, like Finn and his variety of powerful spells or Rubella and her healing, while others like Tristis, Robert or Gen are entirely dispensable, and you'll seldom use them.
As a result, some of the battles can become tiresome, slightly repetitious affairs, but never long enough to really aggravate. Child of Light's shortcomings are glossed over by the game's gorgeous presentation and dreamlike visuals, recalling a childhood Grimm's fairy tale or an old storybook. Its traditional RPG sensibilities make Child of Light a game that's simple and straightforward to play, with hidden depths in its Oculi crafting and skill trees.
Child of Light's world is beautiful and varied.
There's little depth to the achievement list, however, which can be easily completed in one playthrough with little fuss. It's one of the easiest 1000G we've bagged in a long time, asking that you merely recruit each character to your party, which sometimes requires completing a 'plight' side quest first, collecting 'confessions' letters floating on the breeze in the sky throughout Lemuria, and performing various actions in battle.
Such a simple list means you're free to soak up Child of Light without having to take too many detours, although as we mentioned previously, you'll find yourself doing a lot of backtracking. Also, you'll need to make sure you have Uplay friends to gift Oculi jewels to, or else you're screwed and won't be able to obtain 100%, which is a bit of a bugger.
Child of Light is a beautiful, hand-drawn work of art, as a dreamlike fairy tale, it truly looks the part. Thus ends this review and our dreadful attempt at a poem, now here's the lowdown, then we're off, we're going. And if you found all this rhyming incredibly annoying, worry not, as Child of Light's story isn't nearly as cloying. Though some of the couplets miss their mark, recommending Child of Light is a walk in the park. It's brill, go get it. Trust us, seriously, you really won't regret it.
There's no voice work beyond the narration at the occasional juncture, but the orchestral music is memorable, into your subconscious it'll puncture. Child of Light's score is a real aural treat, don't be surprised if you find yourself humming it while walking down the street.
Deftly hand-drawn using the Rayman UbiArt engine, the watercolour style is certainly worthy of mention. There's no real visual difference between last and current-gen versions either, anyone who says otherwise is some sort of deceiver.
Playing Child of Light is impossible to hate; exploring, battling and its straightforward RPG systems are genuinely great.
You'll be playing Child of Light for a fair few hours, upgrading your skills and magical powers. Beyond the eight or so hours of story, side quests and exploration, you'll find little reason to revisit the Lemurian nation. Then again, that said for the price, there's plenty to do and it's all really nice.
One of the most simple achievement lists we've seen in a while, to get the full 1000, you won't need to go the extra mile. It's rubbish that you'll need to gift Oculi to a Uplay friend, meaning you might not be able to bag 100% after all, in the end. Pants.
Ubisoft Montreal has conjured a fairy tale world that you'll enjoy spending time in, a wondrous RPG adventure with its own line in rhyming. Child of Light is a glorious game, short and yet sweet, memorable, gorgeous; an incredible feat. And for the small price you'll be paying, Child of Light is definitely more than worth playing. So buy it.
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