Game: Child of Light
Time Played: 1.2 hours
Child of Light was one of those games that I only knew through screenshots of beautiful art style and faint praises that said it was a game that I should probably try. I picked it up during a Steam sale, and only just got around to trying it last week. I plan on playing it some more, but I wanted to write about my first impression.
What is Child of Light
The game description doesn’t actually tell you what the game is as much as what the game is about.
Aurora, a young girl from 1895 Austria, awakens on the lost fairytale continent of Lemuria. To return home she must fight against the dark creatures of the Queen of the Night, who have stolen the sun, the moon and the stars. At stake is not only Lemuria, but Aurora’s true destiny.
This is pretty fitting considering playing Child of Light feels like you are playing a fairy tale (in a good way). Even the dialogue rhymes! That had to be quite a feat to write.
From the screenshots and trailers I’d seen, I always expected Child of Light to be a platforming game. And it was… but that’s just one of many elements that make up the game. When the first puzzle appeared (early on) I wasn’t surprised. It was an interesting puzzle of the kind I’d not seen before, playing with the reflection of light and color (a major theme in the game).
But then, the game took on the direction of cooperative play. Quickly, you meet your little “firefly” friend, Igniculus, whom you can control simultaneously and independently of Aurora. Thankfully, I chose to play the game with a controller, which made it a lot easier (IMHO)… since you can position Igniculus using the right joystick while moving Aurora with the left joystick. The game also notes that a second player can join in by controlling Igniculus on the keyboard – neat!
Even more unexpected, I came across enemies while platforming and solving puzzles. I thought these were creatures I was just supposed to avoid, but when I came in contact with them, the game suddenly became a full fledged, active time battle RPG! Not only does Aurora have battle skills and magic, but you can use Igniculus’ light to stun enemies and slow them down. This caught me totally by surprise…
As did the customization through skill trees!
Yes, I’m serious. This game has skill trees to unlock as your characters level. It also introduces new characters as the story continues, which can join your party. These characters also level and have skill trees. There’s far more complexity to this little game than I imagined.
As the story unfolds, Aurora comes to know more and more of her destiny in the world, and you can get a strong feel for her character development. Though the story itself is nothing stunningly different (so far), it has a basic simplicity you’d find in a fairy tale, and you get a sense that the focus is on the characters and their journey.
Battle can be challenging, especially if you’re under leveled. I find myself fighting every creature I run across (even when I could avoid them) in order to gain more experience to level and unlock more of the skill tree.
The one major annoyance that I had installing the game was due to the UPlay requirement. Because Child of Light is a Ubisoft game, not only does it run through Steam, but it forces you to install UPlay and log into a UPlay account. I guess I must have created an account a long time ago on an old email address, because I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to even get to the point of launching Child of Light for the first time.
I’m glad that I didn’t just give up on it, though it was tempting to not go through so much frustration for just one game, because Child of Light is a real gem. I look forward to exploring some more.