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Review: Child of Light

Posted by on May 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments | Tags:

In the opening moments of Child of Light the protagonist, Aurora, falls sick and dies. She then awakens without any explanation in the land of Lemuria. A fantastical world far different from her own and completely told in rhyme. Aurora soon learns of the Dark Queen, who has stolen the sun, the moon, and the stars, leaving Lemuria in danger. As the Child of Light you are chosen to seek out these sources of light, along with a band of unlikely heroes, to stop the Dark Queen and reclaim Lemuria.

Every piece of dialog and every bit of narration given throughout Child of Light is told in rhyme. On the one hand, this really does play into the fairy tale nature of the story and it makes Lemuria feel unique. Unfortunately, without a consistent meter the rhyming feels disjointed and awkward. There are moments where it works well (including a character who is completely unable to rhyme which I found entertaining) but for the most part it feels a bit forced. While Child of Light misses the mark in this respect nearly everything else in the game works so incredibly well that some awkward rhyming ultimately never phased me at all.

If you grew up playing Final Fantasy, Grandia, or any of a number of other JRPG’s then you’ll immediately see where Child of Light draws inspiration with its battle system. Turn based battles work on a timeline which displays the order in which your party and enemy monsters will take actions. The timeline is split between “Wait” and “Cast” which should be pretty self explanatory. Once a character reaches the “Cast” section they’ll be able to choose an action that will then be performed once arriving at the end of the timeline. Different actions will take a specific amount of time to cast (Instant, Slow, Long, Very Long, etc.) with some even having the power to knock enemies backwards on the timeline. In addition, if you attack an enemy while they are in the “Cast” stage they’ll be interrupted and fall back on the timeline. Naturally, this becomes a key component of the battle system as you’ll be able to juggle enemies and in some cases completely prevent them from ever attacking if you time things correctly.

Igniculus is a firefly that came into being when Aurora first entered Lemuria. He is able to help solve puzzles on your adventure, but also plays a pretty major role in combat. By simply hovering over an enemy and glowing Igniculus is able to blind and slow down enemies on the timeline. (Note that Igniculus can optionally be controlled by a second player.) Through this you’re able to partially control the flow of battle and set up better opportunities to interrupt your foes. Just as well if things start to look bad for your party members Igniculus can shine light onto them and slowly recover HP. This is all limited to a power gauge so you’ll need to use this power sparingly. If you play through on Normal mode you’ll probably be able to get through most of the game without requiring the use of Igniculus in battle. However the game’s Hard mode requires that you fully understand each element of the battle system and more importantly, that you use Igniculus to the best of his ability. I don’t think playing on Normal takes anything away from the game, but by playing on Hard I do think I appreciated the battle system that much more. There’s a patch that’s releasing for Child of Light that will change these difficulty modes to Casual and Expert. All you need to know is that if you’re in any way familiar with RPG’s you’ll likely want to play on the Hard/Expert setting.

Throughout your journey you’ll meet a variety of characters who will choose to join you on your quest. Each of these characters fall into your typical archetypes of Mage, Tank, etc. and are equally useful in battle. While only two party members can be out in battle at any given time the game makes it very easy to switch characters in and out while also rewarding experience to every party member no matter the circumstances. Everyone levels up at the same rate and no one ever falls behind. Leveling up also grants skill points that you can use to gain new abilities and upgrade stats via a skill tree. Each skill tree branch into three different directions with different types of bonuses, but you’ll want to evenly distribute points rather than focus on one specific area.

Oculi can be found around Lemuria and used for crafting. Each Oculi is color coded and when combined will result in a variety of new Oculi. The game never gives you a full list of crafting recipes (though it does provide a hint) so you’ll need to discover these on your own but I really enjoyed crafting. It’s simple and fun just to experiment and see which combinations create new forms of Oculi. Once finished with crafting you can equip an Oculi to grant bonus effects to the weapon, armor, or timeline of each character.

If Rayman didn’t already convince you Child of Light continues to show just how utterly impressive the UbiArt Framework is. From beginning to end every single location you visit in Child of Light just looks incredible. There’s a lot of detail and depth that’s gone into crafting each and every area within the game. Just as great is the game’s soundtrack by Cœur de pirate which fits perfectly into Child of Light’s world. (The main theme, battle theme, and the credits song in particular stuck out to me.)

As someone who loves fairy tales and the style in which they’re told I am a little disappointed in the way Child of Light trips over the rhyming. I appreciate what it was trying to do, but without any rhythm the rhymes simply fall flat. However, when everything else about the game is so good it’s easy to look past what is ultimately a pretty minor fault. Most importantly Child of Light isn’t style over substance. There might not be the same amount of depth you’d expect from a 60+ hour RPG, but what’s there is more than enough to satisfy once the 12 hour journey is over.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.

General Info

  • Rhyming feels forced