Child, tuck yourself in bed
And let me tell a story
Of Lemuria, a long lost kingdom
And a girl born for glory.
I’ll come out and just say it, Ubisoft took me by surprise, in a good way, with Child of Light. This fairy tale like RPG was an absolute delight to play and definitely shows that the developers at Ubisoft can be imaginative and can create beautiful stories.
Child of Light tells the story of Aurora, a young princess, who finds herself in the fairy tale land of Lemuria. Lemuria is a land that has been ravaged by the Queen of Night and her forces of darkness. In order to find her way home, Aurora must restore the sun, stars and moon, bringing light back to Lemuria once more. Along the way, Aurora will befriend some rather unusual individuals, including a cowardly sorceror and a jest er who struggles to rhyme- which is a world where everyone speaks in rhyme, certainly presents a challenge. And yes, this whole story is told in the style of a poem. This unique form of storytelling really does solidfy the idea that you and Auora have stumbled into a fairy tale.
And its not just the narrative and plot that give off the fairy tale vibes, the art style of Child of Light also does this. The entire world of Lemuria looks likeits comes straight out of a children’s book. Each location in this fantastical world, is unique. You will never be able to confuse the area around the Mahthildis Forest with Bolmus Populi, home to merchant mice. Each area has its own colour palette and whilst they are all unique, they are all linked with the hand drawn style of Child of Light. Its not only the locations in Lemuria that are varied but also the people within it. Not only ar ethere merchant mice but also sky elves and dwarf like magic users. One thing that quickly became apparent when playing Child of Light was how unique its fantasy world was. As someone who loves fantasy, but has seen most of the troped down to death, Lemuria was a breath of fresh air.
Whilst exploring Lemuria is one portion of Child of Light, much of your time will be spent in battle. As an RPG, the game has interest take on the active time battle system. Firstly, there aren’t any surprise encounters, as all enemies are shown in the world. This I appreciate, as it means I can avoid some fights should I need to and gives me an element of control. However, when you do engage in a fight, it is a rather unique experience. There is a bar at the bottom of the screen, which determines when a character can perform an action. First, each participant of the battle must complete a ‘wait’ phase before choosing an action. These actions vary from attacking, defending or choosing an ability/spell. Depedning on what action the character is undertaking, affects how fast they pass through the ‘cast’ phase. If the character is doing anything other than defend, an oppenent can interrupt them with an attack or ability, causing the character to be pushed back to the ‘wait’ phase. This means there is a whole level of strategy to Child of Light that is not normally present in other RPGs, as you have to weigh up the risk of performing a slow but strong attack over delaying your attack with the defend option. This whole battle system makes every battle more engaging and means that the player has to focus each fight or risk taking heavy losses to the party.
However its not all about the fighting, as Aurora journeys to free Lemuria from the clutches of the Queen of Night. There are plenty of Lemurians that need help, collectibles to find and party members to recruit. Aurora’s adventures will take her all over Lemuria and in some locations will need you to solve some puzzles in order to fully explore them. Naturally, these puzzles are all tied in with the theme of light and darkness. For the most part, these puzzles are about you casting shadows, using your firefly companion Igniculus, to unlock locations. These puzzles aren’t too difficult but they do help to give you a break from the fighting.
Child of Light is a fantastic RPG and is perfect for people who don’t have time to play longer titles like the Final Fantasy games. Its unique, coming of age story is beautiful and told in a way that is rarely seen in video games. Like I said previously, Ubisoft took me by surprise with this game and I wish that they would develop more games like Child of Light, which is clearly a product of a development team that was allowed to tella story that they want to tell in the way that they wanted to tell. So, if you are looking for a unique RPG, then I highly recommend you play Child of Light.
Now, my dear, the fire has died,
The night is dark and deep,
Close your eyes, let go
And drift off to sleep.