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Review

Child Of Light Review

You're never too old for a fairy tale.

Let me tell you about Child of Light, a land called Lemuria and its terrible plight. An evil Queen has stolen the sun, moon and stars, bringing evil before unseen while turning the world from a place of beauty to one of scars. The fate of this place rests with Aurora, and those that support her. The game itself is a platforming RPG with a story told in rhyme, but does this latest Ubisoft title bring glee and is it worth your time?

Child of Light is brought to life by the UbiArt Framework engine, the same one encountered in Rayman Legends and Origins. This approach compliments Child of Light’s fairytale nature, as it adds to the charm of this adventure. There are a whole host of locations to explore, each with their own monsters and quests waiting in store. From the Cliffs of Erin to the Plains of Rambert you’ll easily be able to tell these places apart. Each environment have their own art styles from the vivid blues of the seas, to the muted tones of the plains that appear to spread for miles.

The character designs are unique from Aurora’s flowing dress and red hair, to the blue firefly Igniculus who completes this core pair. Surrounding them is a cast of characters each with their own stories, which have had an influence on their own inventories. Each with their own special abilities, you’ll have to use them wisely to survive the game’s various hostilities. These are faced through the active time battle system, decended from classic RPGs you may have already had experience with them.

Child of Light allows for two party members to stay on screen and fight, against foes that number in twos or threes. While this formula remains the same, not changing your battle tactics will lead to the end of the game. You’ll need to learn your enemy’s weaknesses and strengths, because their attacks do not follow a set sequence.

The turn order is represented by the Timeline, a long bar, along which travels each character’s avatar. The quicker they move in this race, the quicker they’ll be able to carry out their actions and attack the foes that they face. It’s quite a simple system to use, and one that makes it easier to decide which tactic to choose. Sometimes it’s best to have a healer keeping your mage alive, or maybe slow down your opponent so you can increase your attacking drive.

Fightscene_Windypeak

There are different types of enemies present, including dark, fire, water and earth, each of which can easily torment. Various party members have access to these too, but with dark being replaced by light, so that as almost all the combat situations are different, working out the best tactic is a delight.

However on some rare occasions certain bosses can be hard to triumph against, and in these situations you’ll lose again and again with your time as the expense.  You can retreat from these encounters and find smaller ones to get experience, and also learn new skills for future reference. There was a point in the game where I got stuck in such a pickle, but after doing the tiniest bit of grinding that particular boss fight proved not to be quite so fickle.

Though you can only have two characters on screen at a time, you can switch them, even if they’ve collapsed from sustaining too much damage, this mechanic is a gem. Also the two character thing isn’t quite true, because Igniculus also helps in all the battles, bar a few. You can move Igniculus around the screen with the right analog stick, and when you press R2 this firefly will light up blinding and slowing enemies, which is a very useful trick. However, it must be conserved in battle as it isn’t limitless, and if you expend it too soon, you’ll find yourself in a potential mess.

Outside of battle controlling Igniculus is done through exactly the same means, helping to light up pathways and activate magical machines. There are also puzzles to complete to gain access to different places and prizes, and from flicking a switch to opening gates that make Aurora look titch, these come in all sorts of sizes.

ChildofLight-InLine-1

Exploring Lemuria is key to victory, as you’ll find treasures hidden in chests located in shadows, caves, and even a small city. These treasures can be potions to heal yourself with or to gain a new skill, but some of these treasures will be gems for crafting Oculi, to improve your character’s stats and will.

The crafting system is easy to work out, just select two or three gems, press craft and you can quickly give your characters more clout. Not all gems mix together though, but you can try different combos as your collection of them will steadily grow. Each character can equip up to three Oculi, affecting resistance against elements, infusing weapons with powers, and making it harder for them to die. It’s a good idea to keep switching the Oculi as you progress, because otherwise battles will be harder and more likely to end in your deaths.

As your characters accumulate victories, they are awarded skill points which can be used to uncover the skill chart’s mysteries. Unlock more health as points are spent on individual character charts, or better defence and new moves which all come together like perfect puzzle parts. What I didn’t do but what you could is plot which course you’ll take, and which powers you want access to. It didn’t affect me negatively during my playthrough, but whether you follow my advice is up to you.

ChildofLight-InLine-2

All throughout the game is a musical score that really compliments the settings as you explore. From the unintrusive yet gentle pieces that play while you walk or fly about to find your way, to the pieces that add to the proceedings with their loud expressions and that can take centre stage and add to particularly tough sessions. It’s some of the best game music I’ve heard in a while, and some of it even made me smile. For reference I’ve had the menu music playing on repeat for an hour while writing this, and I’d say that it is simply bliss. Also if you don’t want to play alone,  another player can control Igniculus to open the doors and light up the ways into the unknown.

What’s Good:

  • The art style is beautiful.
  • The music is very well composed.
  • The battle system is simple to understand, while offering a challenge.
  • The fairy tale like nature of the story is put together well.
  • The party of characters feel balanced and compliment each other.

What’s Bad:

  • One or two difficulty spikes.

Child of Light is a joy to behold, with the tale of Aurora and Lemuria very well told. The way the whole experience has been crafted is nothing sort of fantastic, and this could turn out to be a classic. The story, the characters, the battle system, the art, and the music all shine. This is a game that wears its heart on its sleeve while bringing something fresh to the landscape; it’s quite divine.

I suppose the time has come to score Child of Light then, and I give this game nothing less than a…

10/10

Version tested: PS4

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31 Comments
  1. psychobudgie
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    I cannot seem to see a price. Is it known at this point?

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:03.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      The deluxe/boxed edition (with digital download code) is £15.99, so suspect it’ll be around £10-£12 on the Store, at a guess.

      Glad I’ve pre-ordered it, wasn’t expecting 10/10!!

      Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:09.
    • uncharted86
      Member
      Since: Jan 2012

      £11.99, cross-buy PS3/PS4 in EU.

      Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:11.
  2. a inferior race
    I'm special
    Since: Jul 2009

    Are the battles random encounters or can you see the enemies before you fight them.

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:32.
    • Aran Suddi
      Member
      Since: Sep 2011

      You can see the enemies beforehand so you can avoid them if you wish. Some are unavoidable though.

      Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:38.
      • a inferior race
        I'm special
        Since: Jul 2009

        Cheers for the reply

        Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 20:32.
  3. tonycawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    This one has come right out of the blue, never heard of it before, I guess it’s new.
    Fantastic review so very well written, by the sounds of it you were really quite smitten.
    You’ve got me tempted to buy it, hopefully there’s a demo so then I can try it.
    Sounds like it’s quite a good game, hope it finds fortune and fame!

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:35.
    • Aran Suddi
      Member
      Since: Sep 2011

      We need a like button so I can like this comment.

      Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:40.
    • Power on Pub
      Member
      Since: Jul 2014

      The game has done well, that’s for sure. If you haven’t tried it already, you certainly should. There’s a demo on Steam for those who want it. This review is easily the most glowing I’ve seen, though most seem positive (though not this positive). Our own was pretty positive (here: http://www.poweronpub.com/child-of-light-review/ if anyone is interested), though there were a few minor disappointments. Some other reviews I’ve read take issue with the rhyming and the combat system, so be aware of those points before you buy. Still, for 15 bucks, come on. Well worth it.

      Comment posted on 18/09/2014 at 08:01.
  4. Greg Turner
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    Ah so glad this has got a good review, looking forward to playing it and was hoping it wasn’t all style over substance. Seems like I have another PS4 title to look forward to :)

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:42.
  5. Greg Turner
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    One other question, any idea roughly how long the game is?

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:43.
    • Aran Suddi
      Member
      Since: Sep 2011

      It took me around 10 hours to complete but that doesn’t include getting all the collectables scattered around.

      Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:46.
      • salvodaze
        Member
        Since: Dec 2012

        Interesting, another reviewer said it took him 20 without the side quests. This got me tempted to get the deluxe edition for the keychain, let’s see.

        Comment posted on 29/04/2014 at 06:22.
  6. tactical20
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    Finally something to buy!!! :-)

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:46.
  7. boeboe
    Member
    Since: Feb 2013

    Oh snap 10/10! Nice.

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 17:49.
  8. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    Oh my, which version should I buy? (PS4 or Wii U?)

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 18:24.
    • Kennykazey
      Member
      Since: Mar 2010

      Remembered that Wii U has a limited RGB range (and no surround sound with my setup) so it might look (and sound) a little bit better on Playstation.

      Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 18:32.
      • Blair Inglis
        hisnameisblair
        Since: May 2009

        1080p on PS4, 720p on Wii U. And yeah, the sound/video stuff in your case. Wonder what the GamePad features are like though, could be good for the battle system?

        Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 18:33.
      • Kennykazey
        Member
        Since: Mar 2010

        Only 720p on the Wii U? Damn, it should be easily capable of more than that (given that’s equivalent of the PS3 which has a far inferior Gpu). Makes the choice even easier I suppose.

        I quickly skimmed a couple reviews for the Wii U version, but saw no comment on any Gamepad functionality even though the developer stated it would be “fully supported”. I guess they’d argue “it works don’t it?”.

        Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 22:54.
  9. Steelhead
    Member
    Since: Oct 2013

    I definite buy for me but I think I’ll wait until I have a PS4 to do the art style full justice. I have watched this one for quite some time but I was slightly sceptical of Ubisofts ability to craft a good RPG, thankfully my fears appear to have been groundless. Nice review, your affection for the game really shines through.

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 18:45.
  10. lambchop
    Member
    Since: Aug 2013

    This wasn’t really on my radat, but any game getting a 10/10 has got to be worth a try!

    Comment posted on 28/04/2014 at 19:15.

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