Child of Light is a stunning game that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Right from the beginning Child of Light separates itself from any other game on the market with beautiful hand drawn graphics that make it an absolute joy to explore. Every corner of Child of Light feels meticulously and lovingly created, each step taken reveals a gorgeous landscape that wouldn’t be out of place in an art museum. The world around you is so masterfully crafted that it wouldn’t be hard to wear out the “Share” button on your PS4, since the temptation to grab screen shots comes up so often.
Child of Light is a joy to explore. Puzzles, strange monsters and hidden chests filled with loot keep your entire playthrough feeling fresh and exciting. Often times it can be difficult to tell which way to go to meet your objectives, which would be frustrating in any other game, but Aurora–the game’s main character–effortlessly traverses the environments around her with grace and fluidity that can’t be described as anything less than masterful.
As wonderful as the graphics are for Child of Light, combat is where the game absolutely outdoes itself. As you explore the world, enemies wander the screen that can be caught for surprise attacks or ignored altogether. You initiate combat by walking into the monsters and depending on if you touched their backs or not you can start a surprise attack, allowing your party to gain the first move.
Combat is handled brilliantly via a turn-based system with a twist. A bar at the bottom of the screen appears whenever you enter into a fight that each character’s icon slides down. Once a character or enemy’s icon reaches the end of the bar there’s a window in which attacks can be selected for party members to perform. Attacks can be timed to land before enemy icons reach the end of the bar, interrupting assailant’s moves and setting them further back on the timeline.
It feels incredibly rewarding to time your party’s attacks to prevent enemies from performing theirs. Ubisoft added another layer of depth to combat by allowing players to stun enemies and slow down how quickly their turn to attack comes up by way of Ingiculus, Aurora’s sprite helper. There’s even a clever co-op mode that allows player two to assume direct control over the spry sprite.
Two members of your party can engage in combat at a time and can be freely switched out at any point during their turn. Child of Light features a wide variety of party members, but unlike other RPGs where you form your main crew and then leave the other less desirable members to rot, every character has a unique role to fill that becomes handy when facing off against baddies. Each enemy has his own set of strengths and weaknesses, and different characters excel at exploiting particular weaknesses, making none your party members expendable.
The one negative thing that can be said for Child of Light is that the dialogue throughout the entirety of the game is spoken in rhyme. Yes, you read that right, the whole game rhymes. Ubisoft’s decision to convey their story in this manner keeps you from ever really getting to know the characters and makes some of the more dramatic moments of the game fall flat since everyone is compelled to rhyme in every situation.
Despite its one flaw Child of Light excels at everything else it does. From its gorgeously stunning hand drawn world to its deeply rewarding combat system, it is easily the best turn based RPG to be released in years. Nothing you do in Child of Light feels like a chore and no part of the game is a pain to explore. For fifteen dollars there really isn’t anything more you can ask for in a game.
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