Child Of Light Review – Artistically Delicious
There are times as a gamer when projects come along and they just ‘hit home’. Much like the effect of an 80’s action movie or an odd sounding new wave song does, ‘hitting home’ just finds a way to reach into your heart and soul and build a new residence there. Nostalgic efforts in particular manage to have this type of affect on people. Songs or movies that we listened to or watched ad nauseam as kids tend to have that comfort food kind of effect where it simply soothes you or calms you down.
Recently, I heard of Ubisoft Montreal’s effort entitled Child of Light and references to a new game engine that apparently “brings art to life”. By partnering this technology along with a watercolor art style inspired by the Golden Age of Illustration, this game flexed its personality to me long before the soundtrack stole my heart. While I’d never heard of Coeur de Pirate, a French singer/pianist, in my life, I quickly logged the theme song of the game’s protagonist, Aurora, as one of my all time favs. The song builds an ever so slight affinity for the heroine who is lost in a fairy tale world trying to get back to her home. Curiously enough, the entire story is acted out in poetry form and contains bits and pieces of other fairy tales. As the princess of Austria and lost in a fabled lost continent of Lemuria, Aurora’s tale finds her asleep in the real world due to the evil doings of a wicked step mother. In this fairy tale land she encounters others looking to restore light to their world which was stolen allowing for elemental monsters of darkness to roam and terrorize the land. Aurora leads her trusty friend Igniculus the firefly through an amazing world filled with talking mice, massive creatures, giants, and magic.
Once the awe of gorgeous soundtrack wears off, the enjoyable RPG that remains shines through. Technically the game is a curious fusion of a platformer and an RPG. The platformer portion of the game forces you to solve simple puzzles to gain access to certain areas and can even damage little Aurora. You move Aurora around as she is able to fly with relative ease above and underground. With beautiful backgrounds scrolling and moving with Aurora, there is typically some sort of eye candy that is quite picturesque.
As she flies about, so does Igniculus who can also use his light to reveal secret passages and even stun enemies which are visible. Most of them can be avoided completely if stunned first. This is done by using the right thumbstick to fly Igniculus about so that a well placed high beam. Approach them from behind and you can even launch a surprise attack on just about every enemy you encounter which provides a slight time advantage in combat mode. Igniculus has an energy bar that limits the extent of is support though. While he does regenerate there are little plants that glow that can provide small boosts to light energy, HP, and MP. Fly into the lit orbs in the incorrect sequence and the benefit will only be light energy. Igniculus can also heal Aurora also by ‘highlighting’ her by hovering over her. Now the combat itself is resolved much like a Final Fantasy game of old. An attack order is shown at the bottom of the screen showing the speed of all combatants involved as well as when their command stage begins. The speed of your enemies can be slowed down by giving them the high beams from Igniculus as well. This makes for an interesting wrinkle in the typical RPG plan but is far from innovative.
As you go from battle to battle and chapter to chapter, the lack of innovation or noticeable combat diversity is what eventually overcomes the beauty of both the scenes and the music. As you battle drab looking enemy after enemy, you’ll eventually crave a stunning boss battle or an impressive looking attack or spell from someone to shake things up a bit. Unfortunately, that never comes.
Also, while the entire story is being told through poetry, the story itself is not particularly engaging despite being a fairy tale. In part, this could be the reason why opinion on this game will be quite mixed. Either the music and the unique nature of the game captures you or you’ll simply tag this as a mediocre RPG with a unique look. Either way, at the most welcome price of $14.99 on so many different gaming platforms, Ubisoft’s Child Of Light is well worth the trip.