Child of Light (360, Xbox One, Wii U, PC, PS3, PS4)

CHILD_BOXYoung Princess Aurora happily lives with her father, the king.  But one day she falls into a deep sleep and wakes in a strange, new magical land.  She soon meets a talking firefly and is given the power of flight, and is tasked with the job of saving this world.  She must return the moon and the stars to their rightful places, and thwart the evil plans of the dark queen Umbra.  Along the way she’ll meet a colorful cast of characters who will fight alongside her, including a jester, a merchant mouse, and many more.  Child of Light is a downloadable gem for nearly all current consoles that is one part 2-D platforming and one part tried-and-true turned based RPG gameplay, and it’s also one of the best games this year so far (Xbox 360 version reviewed here).

When exploring the magical land of Lemuria, you’ll walk or fly around in a 2-D, side-scrolling fashion.  But you’ll still need to avoid obstacles while searching for treasures and other goodies.  When you bump into an enemy, the screen changes to a typical turn-based RPG battlefield.  Try to sneak up on enemies from behind to strike first.  When fighting enemies, you’ll trade blows when it’s your turn to attack, and you must use physical blows and magical spells to whittle down the hit points of your foes until they’re all defeated.  You’ll gain experience when you win, and when you level up you can divvy out skill points to increase your stats and skills for you and your party.

Your firefly companion plays an important role in the game, too.  Using the second analog stick, you can move your firefly around and shine light by pushing a button.  When out on the field, your firefly can help you nab hard to reach items, open certain treasures, trigger light-operated switches, and even blind monsters with light so you can sneak past.  In battles, you can heal your party by shining light over them, or blind monster with light, too.  This is especially handy because on the bottom of the battle screen is a gauge which shows who will attack next.  If you can successfully slow down monsters by blinding them, and then hitting them before they can attack, you can keep them from using their turn!  It adds an extra bit of strategy to fights.  Best of all, a second player can pick up another controller and take control of the firefly for you!

One other unique aspect is that you’ll collect lots of different gems as you progress.  You can combine gems to make new and more powerful ones, and then equip them to your characters to give them elemental attacks and defenses, and other stat boosts.  There are also lots of hidden secrets and sidequests, too.  The graphics have a wonderful, hand-drawn watercolor painted look to them, and the music is hauntingly beautiful, too.  It kind of reminds me of one of my favorite newspaper comic strips called Little Nemo in Slumberland, which was popular in the early 1900’s.  Capcom even made a Little Nemo game on the NES which I loved as a kid, and that’s what got me interested in the comic strip in the first place.  I recommend doing research on it if you’re curious.

Really the only problems I have with the game are personal preference quibbles.  There is no currency earned in the game, so you can’t buy and stockpile helpful healing items.  So you’ll need to use your items carefully and sparingly.  Luckily there are plenty of other ways to heal yourselves.  I also wish you had more control over saving your game.  It saves automatically but I wish I could save when I wanted as well (actually you can if you switch gems out in the menu).  Some RPG veterans may find the gameplay too simplistic and the adventure over too quickly, but personally I prefer a shorter RPG experience nowadays.  Most of today’s RPGs are too long and meandering anyway.  At any rate, I highly recommend this title and I think it’s one of the best games of this year so far!


Kid Factor:

Child of Light is rated E10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco.  While you do trade blows with enemies with slashes and magical blasts, you really aren’t shown actually hitting anything, and defeated characters just fall down and disappear.  Some of the monsters are a little scary looking, but nothing too bad. There are people shown smoking pipes and there is a bar and allusions of people drinking too much, but that’s about it.  Really the best reason why this game is better for older kids is the high level of reading skill required (the text is all charmingly in rhyme, though), and the slightly complex nature of the gameplay.  But kids who cut their teeth on RPGs like Pokemon should have no trouble here, and a younger player can always take control of the firefly.  It’s really a great game for the whole family that plays like a charming bedtime story come to life.

3 Responses to “Child of Light (360, Xbox One, Wii U, PC, PS3, PS4)”

  1. this game rulez!

  2. I really want to play this game, it looks so good.

  3. Glad to find someone else who found this game as charming as I did.

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