There are times when you take a look at a game and realise you just have to play it. There are other times when you may hear a bit of the soundtrack and find yourself taking an interest. And there are other times when you may read a little about the story and think you just have to get in on a piece of that action.
Child of Light is one of those titles that draws you in from the very second you first see, hear or read about the game. It’s beautiful, it runs with an enchanting soundtrack and it’s got an engrossing poetic story lying behind it all.
A platforming puzzling role player, developed and published by Ubisoft and running with the same UbiArt style found in the rather excellent recent Rayman games, Child of Light tells the story of a young princess, Aurora, raised by her father in 1895 Austria. One night she falls asleep to then awake in the mysterious long lost kingdom of Lemuria, before soon embarking on a quest to return to her father by restoring the sun, moon and stars which have been stolen by the Queen of the Night.
Along the way Aurora comes across all manner of dark creatures that inhabit this strange world. From small deadly spiders, to ghostly apparitions and huge ogres, Lemuria frequently tests Aurora and her battle skills. Starting off as a bog-standard platformer it doesn’t take long before this young girl happens upon numerous friends and plenty of powers and it’s here that the game, and indeed the story, takes a twist to turn it into one of the best titles you can currently download on Xbox One.
One of her powers, that of flight, means Aurora has a huge land to explore; one that is filled with collectable confessions floating around in the wind, numerous treasure chests and many many monsters of the night. The sheer scale of the world can sometimes be a bit bewildering and it’s easy enough to find yourself scouring parts of the land in order to get back on track but give it time and the specifically defined sections of the world eventually become easy enough to navigate.
To aid you on your quest, one of the first ‘friends’ you will come across happens to be that of a firefly. ‘Igniculus’ is a key component in both the platforming and role-playing sections of the game and without his help, Aurora would soon find herself over run. You have full control over him with the use of the right thumbstick and Iggy (as he’s known to his friends) is great for searching out hidden areas full of collectables and door buttons. In fact, any time you need to solve anything more than the most basic of puzzles and Igniculus turns out to be more than just a friend!
But Lemuria is a huge world full of fascinating creatures and aside from those dark ones who wish to inflict plenty of pain, there are many of who you can befriend, receive additional side-quests from and ultimately use in battle. I won’t name names or go into details as the story takes a wicked turn nearer the end and by revealing certain characters would just spoil any storyline you may have not yet been told.
I’ve already mentioned that there are plenty of enemies to confront in Child of Light and this is where things get very interesting. A Final Fantasy style active time battle system is in place in order to find our fight winners and it’s been brilliantly executed. Obviously Aurora couldn’t go up against these dark creatures alone and she always takes her team of friends into battle with her. Each compatriot brings his or her unique skills to the table and so if you find yourself struggling to rid an enemy, a quick switch of character can turn the fight completely. The usual melee attacks, magic attacks or potions that are staples of this battle system are in place but alongside that you find Iggy playing a major role. Your faithful firefly friend can collect ‘wishes’ during battle which in turn can be used to heal friends or slowdown foes all in real time. Iggys abilities bring new dimensions to proceedings and for me at least, stop any fights from getting too long and boring.
It’s after these fights that the roleplaying aspect of the game comes into play with huge skill trees available for each and every character you can take into battle. How you level these guys up is entirely down to you and how you decide to take the fight to the Queen of the Night, but obviously it’s good practice to try and level up different characters for specific battles. You also get to play with collectable gems, ‘Oculi’ which will give further enhancements against certain fire, water or earth foes. Crafting Oculi gives bigger rewards and helps your team take on the harder enemies further on down the line. You don’t ‘need’ to get handy on the crafting table but ignore the power of Oculi at your peril!
Alongside the beautiful artstyle, Child of Light has one of the best soundtracks to have ever graced a video game. Not only does the story get told in an enchanting poetic style but the musical score tells it’s own story, upping the energy and tension further during any fights and then calming everything down again during the exploration of the the world of Lemuria. It brings the game fully to life and is something that everyone must experience.
So far everything I’ve talked about has been positive and that’s for one very big reason…..There isn’t an awful lot not to like about Child of Light. Okay, there are a few pointless conversations which seem to have been thrown in to show off the poetry in motion and perhaps it would be nice to see roughly how much energy an opponent has left in a fight, but these are very minor issues. There has been some local two player co-op action included (a second player controls Igniculus) and with this working extremely well it’s a shame that we don’t see this moving into the online territory but like I say, these are me being extremely picky.
Overall, Child of Light is a joy. The download on Xbox One will cost you £11.99 and I’d go as far to say that you wouldn’t manage to find something better for the price. At roughly 20 hours long it’s not something that you’ll complete in a day or two (at least not if you want to take in the whole experience), and so for the price, it’s a no brainer.
Buy it. Right now!