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Frugal Gaming Review – Child of LIght

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Playable Female Character? Check

Red Hair? Check

A Ubisoft Game? Surprisingly Check!

Reminds Me Of Childhood Memories

Sounds like a Gallifrayan’s dream come true.  Child of Light has been out for a while now and whilst I’ve been wanting to play it for some time, it’s been sitting and stagnating amongst my vast pile of shame.  So braving the murky waters of UPlay on PC I’ve decided to set that right and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you lovely lot.

The game casts you as Aurora, a small Austrian girl with flaming red hair.  Having gone to sleep one night, you awake to find yourself in the mythical land of Lemuria.  Filled with all sorts of beasties and baddies to battle along the way, your quest is a simple one of a small girl trying to get home to her father.  Along the way you will meet some curious companions –  Tristis a Court Jester with acrobatic attacks, Finn a magic wielding Dwarf and even a Rock Gollum via DLC.

Both the story and the characters wouldn’t seem out of place in a Hans Christian Andersen fable.  Likewise that graphical style could best be described as illustrations come to life.  It truly is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played.  At time mesmerising to behold, the UbiArt Framework engine has been one of the industry highlights for me over the last couple of years.

The game play itself is split into two definite types.  Your exploration takes the form of a simple 2D platforming game, with a bit a flying and a firefly thrown in for good measure.  It’s graceful in movement and a complete joy to play.  Simple light based puzzles and the odd pull/push drag a block around are all unsurprisingly featured.  There are lots to discover in the game, hidden chests and such and whilst it’s nice to find them, the contents don’t exactly lull you into keep searching.

The other game play element concerns combat.  Head towards a foe and the game switches to its turn/time based strategy element.  A meter across the bottom of the screen has icons for each combatant, a bit like the seaside donkey derby games, your character will race along to the activation line when you can then unleash your attack or ability.  Each character, both friend and foe feature on this line and it determines the order of attacks.  So it’s a bit of a twist on turn based combat and anyone who’s played a Final Fantasy game will feel at home.

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If I Stare Too Long, I’d Probably Break Down and Cry

So that’s the meat and potatoes of Child of Light.  A solid little game, but my problem is that it’s not that little.  I’ve played about 5 hours so far, it’s still not completed and it’s back in my pile of shame.  I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve played, but over the 5 hours that I’ve played the game just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Although you can level up your character and add new moves and attacks none of it feels different enough from what you start out with, hence the boredom. It’s like that perfect partner that you could take home to mum, treats you like a goddess and would never stray, everyone loves them but at the end of the day they really are a bit of a bore, and you find yourself hankering for something more immediate, dirty and dangerous.  Child of Light is a great idea, and Ubisoft must be applauded for offering games like this along with Valiant Hearts.  But campaign edges towards the 10 hour mark and feels bloated, I’d rather have had 5 hours of exploration and no combat to be perfectly honest.

COL_Screenshot_5_DD_130910_9When you find a game that you want to love, it’s all the more heartbreaking when you realise it just isn’t for you.  No doubt some people will love Aurora’s adventures and rightly so, it’s just definitely not for everyone.  Whilst the combat is a drag that I could of overcome, the lack of engagement with the supporting characters and the way dialogue is presented is a huge stumbling block in wanting to see the whole thing through.

We’ve all got games that we leave half completed, Child of Light might remain that way sometime for me, instead I’m off to the trenches of the First World War, a Dog is clearly a much better companion than a wisp of light.  I can’t wait to see where the UbiArt engine might take us next.

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Child of Light is available on all major platforms – Version tested PC

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