I always enjoy a pleasant surprise, like when I preview a game I wasn’t following too closely and it turns out to be one that catches my attention. Child Of Light is one such surprise. It’s a turn-based RPG from Ubisoft, which couldn’t be further from the series that the company is most commonly attributed with. It wasn’t a game that blew me away, but it was an enjoyable RPG with some unique quirks to separate it from the rest, and it was enough to make me want to play the rest of it.
Child Of Light has very heavy fairy tale influences. A small child named Aurora awakes in a strange land, and must unite with a band of misfits to save the world from the dark magic of an evil queen. All the game’s dialogue is delivered in rhyme, which is cute to begin with but it often feels forced and excessive. One highlight though, was a character who couldn’t rhyme, and would mess up the obvious word choices. The game even looks like it was ripped out of a storybook, with a nice art style using the same graphics engine as the recent Rayman games. It brings areas of the game world and its inhabitants alive with their own unique character. The music, visuals and writing come together to make a charming world, which makes the lack of voice or sound when characters talk stand out. It makes for a strange hollowness that could be rectified with even some beeps and short voice clips (like gasps and groans).
Aurora travels through levels in a platformer-like fashion, with the occasional puzzle to solve. To start with you traverse the environment by walking and jumping, but not too long into the game you’ll be granted the ability to fly. There’s a real magical feel to flying above the tree line and into the clouds. The environments change to fit your new skill, and become large maze-like areas to navigate, sometimes with thorns or another form of threat lining surfaces, meaning you’ll need to fly carefully through the levels. Enemies also fill the world, which trigger a battle when made contact with. You can avoid contact with them if you don’t wish to battle, and if you bump them from behind you’ll be given the advantage when battle begins. There’s a lot of familiar systems at play in battle. Each character has got different skills and moves to choose from (which can be unlocked by spending skill points you earn from levelling up) and you can customise your equipment with craftable gems that change your elemental affinity or alter your stats. Hitting an enemy with an element they’re weak to (or getting hit by one yourself) deals increased damage, with the reverse being true for an element a character resists. It all sounds a bit “been there, done that”, but Child Of Light‘s battle system has some unique features to show for itself.