“Child of Light” is one of the greatest games I’ve ever played. Unlike many gamers I didn’t really get into gaming till after the side-scroller generation of Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. So I had never played anything like “Child of Light” before, not just in its format, but also in its content.
The whole game felt like it was drawn straight from a children’s storybook, in a good way. Not to discourage any adult-gamers, but I felt like I could have read a transcript of this story to a child.
The setting in “Child of Light” is so beautiful, especially the character design. There is a wide variety of enemies that you encounter, all with their own creative look. Not to mention your gang of quirky protagonists lead by Aurora and her sidekick firefly – Igniculus.
Each character is developed through their own plot lines. The script, written by Jeffrey Yohalem, does a great job of really making you care about these characters, so much that when you are inevitably separated from them, it hurts.
The writing also has this unique entanglement in regards to the gameplay. It doesn’t specifically give you the answers to a particular puzzle, however it guides it toward those answers in a clever way. Also, all the written and spoken dialogue is written like a poem. This unique method added to the mystique atmosphere of the game.
I loved the score as well, composed by Canadian singer-songwriter Cœur de pirate. It works perfectly accompanied by the fantastical elements of the storylines. Listen for yourself!
There are scenes in “Child of Light” that are simply awe-inspiring, particularly in the level design. It takes a strong creative mind to draw up settings like these. Director Patrick Plourde and lead designers Mélissa Cazzaro and Aurélie Débant have those brilliantly talented minds.
The gameplay goes beyond your average side-scroller once you are able early on to fly across elements. Another strong element of the gameplay is the combat system. You were constantly encountering a variety of enemies, whether you had to fight them or you were just grinding to level up your team.
And like many games where “grinding” is a necessity to an easy victory, it can at times feel repetitive. I couldn’t tell though if I was really tired of the combat, or if I was just too excited to get back to the main storyline.
The timeline mechanics of the combat system works exceptionally well, and is a great way to counter the traditional turn-based combat system in most role-playing games. There were so many strategical elements that fell into this timeline, stronger attacks would take longer to hit, and being attacked could knock you backward on the timeline.
You were only allowed 2 fighters at a time from your team, and usually encountered up to 3 enemies at a time. Aurora and Finn were often my go-to characters.
It’s interesting that “Child of Light” is considered an independent game, not because it is grand, but because it feels more epic in scale than many multi-million dollar games being produced today.
I really can’t think of anything that I’d change in this game. The combat system is revolutionary, the levels are gorgeous, the characters are intriguing, the enemies are creative, and most importantly the story is both emotional and well executed. I loved this game.
“Child of Light” is currently FREE for Xbox Live Gold Members on the Xbox Live Marketplace.