Child of Light was a game I did not consider getting during the sale. I was interested in the game, but did not think I would be able to get it. Till the summer sale came along. The game is actually a lot longer than I thought it would take. However since I kept exploring every possible place off the beaten paths since I gained the flight ability, I definitely took far longer than usual to get through the game.
I do not actually remember how I found out about this game. I do remember that I saw Lindsey Stirling do a music video to help promote the game, which lead me to check the game further.
You play as a little girl named Aurora, the young daughter of an Austrian duke in the late 19th century. During the prologue, it gives you a brief overview of the family. Her father is a duke, while the mother died mysteriously. He then marries another woman, who becomes the step-mother. Suddenly Aurora falls into a deep sleep due to an illness and dies. However, Aurora awakens but she is no longer in Austria. She finds herself in an unknown magical land known as Lemuria. I know, it is a very sudden escalation. If you think you have a good idea where this story is going; you are very right.
Before I go any further, let me just get the negatives out of way first.
Every single line of dialogue in the game rhymes. I am not kidding. Whoever was in charge of writing the dialogue achieved an amazing feat. I am actually kind of impressed, except the fact everything rhymed annoyed me. In a very odd way. It did not really give anything to the game, other than trying really hard to give the game a fairy-tale feel. I think I spent more time speed-reading through the dialogue cause I could not be bothered to decipher what they were saying. It was more focusing on the points that seemed relevant to either the story or quest(s) then moving on. Otherwise it was distracting. I am sorry but that is how I felt about the dialogue.
I love the 2D visual art in the game, it is so amazingly beautiful with the hand-drawn and watercolor look. It fits the game’s style exceedingly well in my opinion. Combine that with the orchestral soundtrack (and writing style) makes the game feel almost like a ballad of sorts. It enhances the fairy tale setup that the game has going as its theme.
You explore Lemuria solving puzzles, combating enemies and helping the citizens of Lemuria with their quests. All the while trying to find a way home to return to your father and the mystery of why you were brought to Lemuria. Minor spoilers, but exploration is a lot easier when you gain the ability to fly. It is very useful in finding hidden chests that may contain potions (I am always running low on health potions) or the precious Oculi crystals. Actually, exploration is what took up most of my time in the game since I could not help myself but search everywhere possible in hopes of finding hidden locations or items. As a result, navigation can be a little confusing at times.
Lemuria, a beautiful land but is also filled with danger. You will at times, have no choice but to engage in combat with enemies. I think the combat is one of the best aspects of Child of Light, other than the game’s art. The combat is actually turn-based, and surprisingly works very well with the game. I found combat to be very engaging, in fact I spent most of my time either exploring or engaging in combat. Although admittedly, I regret that decision sometimes since there are occasions I get stuck in very long battles and I use a lot of my very limited supply of health potions.
Combat as I said, is turn-based and quite straight forward. I enjoyed the tactical planning it forces you to take during the battle. If timed properly, you could either slow enemies down or interrupt their attack which cancels/resets their turn. Unfortunately, this also applies to you. Thus forcing you to decide whether to risk the attack or use the chance to defend yourself. You are also limited to only two fighters at any given time. You could swap fighters out but it uses up your turn. You do have a third-party member technically, the firefly named Igniculus. He does not fight but he can use his light to help heal you or the accompanying party member (slowly). Or you could use his light to slow enemies down in attempt to get your attack in first. This leads you to balancing between enemies; which enemy do you slow down? Which one do you allow to attack? In the hopes you can cancel its attack first with yours, thus sending the monster back in the timeline.
While there are no shops to buy items in the game, thus forcing you to rely on combat and exploration to find items. You do however, level up and each character has a skill tree which you can unlock skills. Disappointingly, you cannot really customize the party’s skills since their skill-trees are nearly identical with minor changes. Most of the combat is avoidable, thanks to Igniculus’ blinding light so grinding is not a major part of the game.
As I mentioned earlier on, one of the biggest boosters you will get in combat are mysterious crystals called Oculi. These gems can be crafted together to create strong variations of gems have special properties that you can use to the party’s benefit. You can assign the gems into three different slots: weapon, armor and trinket. The gems have different effects based on the slot you equip it on. I’ll give a quick example using the Ruby as the Oculi in this example:
Weapon: Adds fire damage to your weapon & increases attack power
Armor: Adds fire resistance
Trinket: Increases max health
There are four tiers of quality: rough, tumbled, faceted and brilliant. The different tiers obviously have different stats, thus better the quality the more bonus you get (i.e: tumbled gems give +8% while brilliant gives +16%). The only true complaint I have with the crafting system is that you cannot break down crafted gems, so you need to consider which gem you want more. You can upgrade the gems, just not downgrade them to craft other gemstones. In short, these Oculi can make all the difference during a battle for you. If you equipped the right ones however; luckily most enemies give you a clue about what element they associate with by their coloring.
Child of Light is remarkable and engaging RPG with beautiful art and fun combat system. The dialogue leaves something to be desired, and at times feels forced by trying to keep up the rhyme scheme. It feels like you really are part of a fairy-tale as well the coming of age story of young Aurora.