Child of Light Review
To be honest I was looking at getting hold of Child of Light for some time but never got around to it when it first came out, so when it appeared on the Xbox store a few weeks back at 33% off I jumped at the chance to play it!
Child of Light centre’s around Aurora, a girl from 1895 Austria who contracts a physical ailment that kills her. However a protection spell cast by her mother causes Aurora to wake up on an altar in the mythical land of Lemuria.
Lemuria has had its sun, moon and stars stolen by the Dark Queen, Umbra. Aurora is tasked with recovering the celestial bodies and ultimately reuniting with her father, who is a duke. Helped by her playable companion Igniculus the firefly and several unlikely allies, Aurora will face her darkest fears in this modern take on a coming-of-age story...
Was it good?
To be honest I was initially drawn to Child of Light because I was getting tired of playing the same type of game (mainly FPS) and wanted something a little different. Of course the graphics were also a major draw as well and believe me they did not disappoint as they are rendered beautifully in an illustration style that oozes quality!
You can’t help but admire the backdrops and the effortless way that Aurora moves/glides across the screen. However the graphics aren’t just there for show and they have been thought out superbly in that they match the gameplay style that Child of Light brings to the table perfectly.
Another aspect to note is the musical score that runs in the background. It’s certainly fitting of the story and has a lovely soothing aspect that is quite relaxing - to the point it was sending my other half to sleep! :-)
Mind you the story is a little difficult to understand at first because a lot of the conversations Aurora has with the characters she meets is written on-screen in a fairy tale rhyming format. Yet I have to admit that after a while I ended up speaking the parts written on-screen myself. So I think if you have children following the story with you then it could be fun reading the dialogue together, though eventually the story does get darker!
Speaking of the Story there are actually two ways to play the game, the one being the Story driven option which allows you to focus more on this, while the other revolves more around the combat element – in that it’s harder and more of a challenge.
As you progress through Child of Light the fairy tale persona soon changes into a pretty tough JPRG game - when playing on the aforementioned harder mode. Thus combat requires a lot more strategy on your part in order to vanquish your foes (more on this in a moment).
For the most part though you start your adventure with basic goals given to you by the mystical inhabitants that you meet of your travels. This normally requires you getting from A to B. At this point you do get to experience the way the levels work, though the 2D/3D landscape can sometimes make life harder when trying to discover paths that are between the foreground/background.
As you progress further there are basic platforms to negotiate and basic puzzles to solve. However eventually you will gain the help of your first companion 'Igniculus' who can be controlled with the right stick (or another player if you have a spare controller). In his basic role 'Igniculus' can be used to collect items and orbs (which build up his/your health/magic).
He can also be used a light or tactically during combat....
The combat - which starts off pretty easily, but then gets really tough in the later stages - revolves around a turn-base system with a bar at the base showing a small thumbnail of you and your enemies progression along it. The faster you are the quicker you can get to the casting line, which allows you to select your melee or magic combat moves.
Additionally you can take potions to give back health, magic or revive others. Though this does class as casting, so you have to know when to use them. Your small companion can also be used to heal you or slow the enemies down so they can’t reach the casting line before you.
This plays a key role in later combat when the enemies go from 1 character to three. However the casting line needs to reach the end in order to perform the spell or melee move and your and your enemies can interrupt this move if you reach the end-line first.
So for example if you cast and reach the end just before the enemy does, then they get put back before the casting line.
It sounds confusing but it does work well and as I mentioned above the combat does get really challenging towards the later stages.
However you can get to learn the patterns of certain creature types, so that the combat can become slightly easier to manage. Yet for the most part you will struggle to kill off all the enemies unless you have reached a certain skill level.
This is where the RPG style elements come into play, because you can collect crystals and combine these together in the interface to bind them to your weapons. This will then make them more effective against certain types of creature i.e. ones that are affected by fire, water, ice etc.
You can also find potions in crates dotted though the level to give you an instant boost to your default skill base. Such as extra magic defence.
As you level up you can also pick from a skill tree to hone your powers. This is a simple interface and one that is useful as you start to get more characters joining your party (each with their own skill set).
Here combat takes on another element as you can reach the casting line and change your characters mid-turn. This is vital if they are low on health or they have the better spells/EQ to vanquish your foes.
Sadly the enemies also have some tricks of their own, such as the counter attacks which either damage you or make you really slow for a set amount of turns. This can be fatal unless you drink a counter potion or have a spell caster of your own to reverse the proses. Of course you can do the same to them and all of these elements produce lengthy combat at times.
Though it can get frustrating when you die near the end as you have start from scratch!
It’s also annoying that to initiate combat all you have to do is run into a creature. Sometimes this is by accident and if your party has just come out of a fight you won’t be in a fit state so you end up having to flee in order to get out of it.
Also if I was being picky the combat can become a little repetitive after you have learned how each enemy type works.
Then again I think the managing of your party, including their health, magic and skills is interesting and it’s also fun exploring the levels to locate new items/crystals to help with future combat.
To break up the repetition a few NPC’s also give you tasks, such as finding an apple or ridding a basement of creatures (this also features puzzle elements). So exploration is also enhanced here. Thankfully you can nip across the map by fast travelling.
It’s also worth tapping into your UPlay account if you have one, because as you play you can unlock and purchase rewards using your UPlay currency. This can include potions or artwork that you can download to your computer and use as wallpaper.
Child of Light did take me a little time to get into the swing of things and I was not sure on the rhyming aspect when characters interacted, but once the ball starts rolling all of the elements combine to make this an enjoyable/immersive game. One with superb graphics, a fantastic musical score and for the most part fun combat (albeit a little frustrating and repetitive at times).