Into the Light
Once upon a time in a kingdom of desert and sea a girl returned to her old Victorian-era home after performing her daily duties with an eagerness in her smile. Today was the day she would get to begin the story of the Child of Light.
From the get-go Child of Light transports you into the pages of a beautifully animated storybook. There have been times where I’ve found myself exploring just for the sake of exploring, something I’ve not done since Okami and Shadow of the Collosus. It’s a stunning blend of what looks like cell-shading, hand illustrations and flowing watercolours. In a time when most games are trying their hardest to look realistic Child of Light offers its pages as a fantastical getaway from reality.
To add to the immersion and fairytale feel the dialogue was cleverly crafted to give each characters their own style of speaking in rhymes. The traditional and familiar lines are given to those in the lead, while the comedic relief Jester speaks disjointedly in their stead. It makes reading the dialogue a pleasure and adds a literary richness to the characters.
Our fiery heroine, Princess Aurora, doesn’t shy away from battle and those that are fans of turn-based, RPG-style battle systems are in for a treat. The timing of characters and foes may be altered by a companion firefly controlled by either the mouse or right joystick depending on your platform which also lends itself to a nice two-player component. Recently I discovered that you can use the controller and mouse in tandem or switch between the two seamlessly. It’s a tad reminiscent of being the second player on Super Mario Galaxy and I found the companion easier to control when treating him like a mouse cursor. I can see younger players enjoying participating as the cheeky little bug. An alchemy-esque equipment and ability system based on gems means there’s no worrying about a full inventory or carrying around of swords and shields and underthings and gold.
Exploration and story has been mostly linear thus far but it makes sense; you’re playing out a fairytale. There are enough hidden areas, environmental puzzles and goodies to collect to keep you entertained on the way. The environmental puzzles lend themselves to the theme of earthly elements and light vs. dark and give each section a distinct feel.
While I’m pretty sure I’ve guessed what the story will entail I can’t help shake the feeling that it’s about to throw a spanner in the works. Child of Light is such a pleasure to play and discover. Every time I’ve sat down to spend an hour with it has turned into a three hour or more expedition into this world that young and old can enjoy.
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PS3, PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
A review code for the game was provided by the publisher.