From the opening lines of Child of Light’s narration, the familiarity hits you. A prepubescent hero whose quest to return home shifts to save a kingdom from utter ruin. A little girl suddenly transported to a magical land. No matter how you spin the tale, it’s one that we’ve heard before in one way or another. But it’s that very nostalgia that is one of Child of Light’s greatest strengths. There’s a lot that’s familiar, but Child of Light is a game that proves how something is presented is just as important as the core mechanics. The battle system is one that we’ve been playing for decades, but it’s implemented with a modern twist that keeps things engaging. It’s these simple changes to the formula that make Child of Light feel new and yet wonderfully nostalgic. What’s been described as a love letter to Final Fantasy and Studio Ghibli, Child of Light is great trip down memory lane with a few bumps a long the way.
The power of poetry
The plot centres around Aurora, a daughter of a duke in 1895 Austria. After suffering what seems to be a sudden tragic end, she wakes up in the mystical kingdom of Lemuria. As mentioned in the intro, what starts out as simple quest to return to her home and father becomes a far more epic adventure to save this doomed land from the evil Queen of Night. It’s a story that we’ve heard before. But what makes it so endearing is it’s ability to tap into those memories of bedtime stories and classics works of fantasy. Inspired by not only Classic RPGs but classics in literature, the story while to some may seem predictable and generic does more than enough to be new and engaging to the player.
One of the unique touches of the story is in its delivery. Combined with the fantasy-jargon is a simple rhyming scheme that every character uses. In fact, it’s such a part of the game’s core that there’s a recurring joke with a character that doesn’t understand how rhymes work. I personally feel that this a nice touch and makes the dialogue more interesting than if they’d gone without. There are several people who will be turned off by this style of story-telling, but it’s something we don’t see very often and a pleasant change of pace from what could have been something far more blasé.
A work of art
Powered by the UbiArt Framework, Child of Light is simply stunning. Like an interactive painting, its attention to detail and design create a world full of whimsy and wonder. Because Aurora has the ability to fly; which you’re grant fairly early on in the game, you’re able to explore every nook and cranny of this lost kingdom. The characters too have received the same treatment, allowing them to stand out and yet still feel like they belong amongst the beautifully illustrated scenery.
Not only is the game a feast for the eyes, but it is a pleasure to listen to as well. The game’s soundtrack was all composed by one artist, Coeur de Pirate, also known as Béatrice Martin. Outside of battle, the melodies are simple and hauntingly beautiful. Any complex and dramatic themes are reserved for the game’s battles, which is fitting as the combat while simple is incredibly satisfying and worthy of an epic score.
Are you afraid of the dark monsters?
Take away an RPGs story and world and what you have left is the combat, the heart of any game in the genre. It’s especially important as this is what you’ll be spending a majority of your time doing while playing this game. Child of Light thankfully has a great battle system, however it’s simplicity and lack of difficulty make the adventure at little less of challenge than it deserves.
The combat is based on systems similar to classic Final Fantasy and Grandia. Every character or monster takes a turn to perform an action, the twist being that if you attack someone while they’re ‘casting’, they’re interrupted and essentially have their turn skipped. Don’t get too cocky though, the baddies can do that to you too. The battle system is a tried and true, but this is one area of nostalgia that while still a ton of fun feels more “copied” than the rest. In a world as stunning and creative as Lemuria, the variety of enemies seems lacking. Also the skill trees for the playable characters is mostly filled with stats upgrades rather than new abilities, stats which already get several upgrades from simply gaining enough experience. It’s still a ton of fun and worth the constant battles, but it feels almost too child friendly.
Drift off to sleep
At around ten to twelve hours, Child of Light is the perfect length. So often I find that games I really enjoy feel far too short and leave me wanting more. With that said though, while Child of Light is one of the more memorable games I’ve played, it’s a game that makes me glad that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Sure there are side quests and “New Game +” modes, but once you’ve played it to the end you can put it down and still feel you’ve got your money’s worth. Especially now as the game is super cheap to purchase.
Who would have thought that game that you’d think would be from Square Enix or Atlus comes from Ubisoft Montreal. An homage to the classics, Child of Light is a must play for fans of old school RPGs. But I’d also recommend it for those who have shied away from games like Final Fantasy for their complexity and intensity, as they’ll have just as much fun.
Hurry now and buy this game,
Lemuria is an amazing sight.
Fun battles, great stories,
Enjoy Child of Light.