Developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft, Child of Light was released in 2014 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. Child of Light would receive an updated version for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch showcasing its beautiful water-colored graphics. A beautiful game doesn’t always equate to a great game, would Child of Light shine in gameplay too?
The game follows the protagonist and princess, Aurora, who finds herself in the mysterious land of Lemuria after it is presumed that she has passed away. Her father is a powerful Duke who ruled a kingdom with his new wife after Aurora’s mother dies. With Aurora now “dead”, the Duke falls into a deep depression unable to overcome his grief, he lays in bed all day.
Lemuria is a strange fantasy land filled with many different creatures and inhabitants throughout its vast and diverse landscapes that include underwater caverns, floating cities, and thorny forests. Aurora wakes up on a pedestal and quickly realizes she isn’t in Kansas anymore. She finds a sword and a friend in the form of a firefly who illuminates her way.
Aurora does her best to get back to the land of where she is from and along the way she meets numerous people and creatures who join her in her journey to return to her world. Let’s take a look at them:
Rubella – She’s a strange jester who is solid at healing characters while being extremely quick. She was looking for her brother who also performs as a jester in their sibling act.
Finn – He’s a magical dwarf who lacks courage. He reminds me of the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz. He has powerful elemental spells.
Norah – She’s a step-sister of Aurora’s and is a bit pushy. She doesn’t do much in battle either as she assists in status upgrades.
Robert – He’s a greedy mouse that is always thinking about money or real estate. He has some skill as an archer.
Oengus – He’s a powerful warrior who’s race has been captured and imprisoned for some time. After you help free his people he joins you in the quest.
Tristis – He’s the second half of the clown show. The brother to Rubella, he’ll join once you complete her quest. (Oops, he never joined us!)
Gen – She reminds me of a lizard mermaid who has magical spells. She can join the group once the ogre is defeated. (Oops, we never defeated the ogre.)
Aurora discovers that she can make it back to her land through a magical mirror. Norah helps lead her to the mirror where she betrays Aurora when her step-mother, Umbra reveals that she planned to take over the land and banish Aurora to Lemuria. Umbra tells Aurora that her actual mother was her sworn enemy and known as the “Queen of the Light”. She tries to kill Aurora with a curse but the crown that Aurora wears protects her but drains her of energy. She is taken away and thrown into a dungeon.
While dreaming in prison, Aurora receives a message from her mother who tells her that she transported Aurora to Lemuria to protect her from Umbra. She wakes up and breaks out reuniting with her friends before defeating one of her step-sisters who stole the power of the moon from Lemuria. Aurora next heads to the Palace of the Sun where she defeats her other step-sister and takes back the power of the Sun.
Wounded again, Aurora is healed by her mother the Queen of Light. Not wanting to waste any time, Aurora heads to Umbra’s castle and defeats her once and for all. Unfortunately, her father passes away from his grief of losing both his daughter and wife to Lemuria. A terrible storm is coming for Aurora’s homeland and floods begin to sink the land. She quickly returns through the mirror and leads all the citizens of the town into Lemuria to safety.
Overall the story had a “Cinderella” and “Wizard of Oz” type feel to the theme.
Child of Light is one of the most gorgeous games you’ll play. Everything from the background, enemies, characters, and cities are water-colored graphics that flow together incredibly well. I’m not sure I’ve seen another game that looks like it. The game has two difficulty settings, one for casual players and another for hardcore RPG veterans. I played the entire game with my wife so we went the easier route and selected casually. Sure, the game was easier and we never died, but some battles lasted almost ten minutes and times where our group had two or three fallen members. I think the easier setting still gives a sense of accomplishment where you don’t feel like a baby for playing on it. If anything, I think it just levels you up quicker because after almost every battle it felt like I was adding another skill to our skill trees.
The game plays as an RPG but it’s not a deep one. Maybe it changes with difficulty but it was basic on most fronts. You won’t be changing equipment but you can craft basic gems that improve your weapons and armor. There’s a skill tree for each member of your party and you’ll constantly be adding to it. Skills are simple upgrades to health, speed, power, or a new spell or attack. After a while it got repetitive and whatever skill was next I just added because it seemed like every fight I earned a new skill.
You’ll fight battles with another partner and for the majority of the game, I always kept Aurora in one slot. Finn was useful because he cast magic and enemies were weak against a specific type of element like fire, water, lightning, etc… Battles are not random and you’ll see the enemy coming which was nice to be able to prepare for. During the battle, you’ll have a system to learn which was unique. It’s not turn-based, instead, there will be a meter at the bottom of the screen that shows everyone’s face. The faces race to the “cast” line. When a face reaches it they can select a move to perform with each move coming at a different speed. You’ll then have one or two seconds to wait before they perform the move. There are a few things that change how the meter works and how fast or slow enemies or partners move up it like spells and attacks. You can attack someone when they are in the “cast zone” and it will reset their meter interrupting them. A huge component of battles is Igniculus, your firefly friend. As I mentioned my wife played with me and she controlled him. During battles, he free roams around the field and can heal or restore your health and magic but he also helps on the offensive. He can shine extra bright and blind the enemies so their meter goes slow while you continue to attack them. I thought it was a cool touch and my wife loved playing as him.
You have an open world to explore with very small dungeons every-now-and-then. They might take a minute to explore so as I said the game is not overly difficult. There are a few sidequests to complete for your partners but even if you don’t complete them all you shouldn’t have a problem defeating Umbra. Child of Light is a short RPG, I think we probably beat the game around 10-15 hours of actual playtime. It’s a short but sweet journey.
It was fun to play with my wife and I’ll remember our playthrough for years to come. She makes video games even better.
Child of Light offers a beautiful but short playthrough of a unique plot paired with water-colored graphics not often found in video games. It’s not deep and you won’t be level grinding or exploring deep dungeons but if you want an RPG to introduce to a beginner or a short game to beat over the weekend that isn’t a shooter, Child of Light offers a solid experience.
Child of Light scores a 7.4 out of 10.
Do you remember when Child of Light first came out? Who was your favorite member of your team? What did you think of the water-colored graphics? How about Umbra and her daughters? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!
If you’d like to own a copy of Child of Light, you can purchase a digital copy of it for the PS4 from the PlayStation Store for $15.