Child of Light

Dreamlike, watercolour images help make this 2D RPG a captivating experience

Game Title: Child of Light

Publisher: Ubisoft

Reviewed On: Xbox One

Available on: Nintendo Wii U,Xbox 360,Xbox One,Playstation 4,Playstation 3,PC

Fri, May 23, 2014, 00:00

   

This gamer has a soft spot for fragile heroes – Davids as opposed to Goliaths. And while macho marines will always have their place, there’s something to be said for the lost children of Limbo, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and now Child of Light.

This is a hybrid coming-of-age story woven into a mystical fairytale. It’s a 2D action/platformer with the depth and breadth of a Japanese role-playing game. In grand fairy-tale tradition, Aurora is a royal’s daughter who falls into a troublingly deep sleep. The adventure follows her in a dreamland: “The dream is filled with frigid air/dark spirits fly, I know not where.”

Aurora’s journey takes her through eerie Brothers Grimm forests, rusting industrial buildings with threatening cogs, dusty castles, and creepy caves where she meets giant bugs and malevolent fairies. It soon emerges that she has to retrieve the kingdom’s sun, moon and stars. She’s helped on this journey by Igniculus the Firefly.

Child of Light is a gorgeous game; it looks like an animated watercolour painting, and the dreamlike quality is maintained by countless little details, such as Aurora’s red hair endlessly flowing as if she’s underwater.

The gameplay is rich and complex, with two simultaneously playable characters, menus of power-ups and turn-based combat. This gets deeper as Aurora accumulates allies and skills.

It’s a slow burn that reveals its charms at its own pace, but emerges as a distinctive, poignant and surprising 2D RPG. In other words, Child of Light is more than worth the effort. ubi.com