Child of Light Vita Review

Child of Light is a beautiful, charming and special game.

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The game follows a young Austrian girl named Aurora who, following an illness, dies and is transported to a magical land named Lemuria.  Having awoken in Lemuria Aurora must travel throughout the absolutely stunning land of Lemuria, working to find a way back home.

As you can see from the screenshots the first thing that begs to be pointed out are Child of Light’s graphics.  They are absolutely breathtaking.

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The game was developed using the same graphics engine, called Ubiart, as Rayman Legends and Valiant Hearts, also stunning games.  All three titles share a distinct hand drawn aesthetic that I’m now a huge fan of.  Rayman Legends is my favourite platformer ever and Valiant Hearts is like nothing I had ever played before.  Should any future titles come out that also make use of the UbiArt development kit I will be very keen to give them a look.

The game looks fantastic in screenshots but in motion it is truly stunning. When moving Aurora’s hair flows around her as if she is floating underwater, giving an ethereal feel to her movements. I played through Child of Light on a Playstation Vita where it really impresses on its OLED screen.

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The game plays out as a RPG despite appearing from screenshots to look more like a platformer. Throughout the world of Lemuria are all manner of interesting beasts that Aurora must defeat in battle. Thankfully she is not alone in her quest as she finds friendly faces throughout her journey who happily team up with her. These companions are a wonderful collection of interesting folk including a dwarf, a clown and a rat.

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The game’s story is told through on screen text and in classic storytelling style it does so through rhyme.  I’ve never played another game that uses rhyming to tell and story and it is a wonderful idea that fits the classic fairy tale mood that was clearly aimed for in the game.  The rhyming does not quite work all of the time though, it makes for some slightly awkward conversations that feel a little forced and out of place.  It is at it’s best however with the clown character who attempts to, but is unable to complete rhymes when he is speaking, much to the frustration of other characters.

The game’s combat is one of it’s biggest strengths (alongside it’s visuals).  I’ve never played a game with combat quite like it and I hope to see other games making use of a similar system in the future.

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Combat is turn based, but the turns take place based upon character’s position upon an on screen timeline.  Playable characters and enemies’ portraits move along the timeline (all at different speeds) until they reach an action line, at this point they can choose what they wish to do (attack, defend, use an item etc).  These actions also take different amounts of time to complete and when completed they carry out their action.  If however they take damage during their action preparation time that action is cancelled, meaning with careful planning you can prevent enemies from every having a chance to attack you.

The system is wonderfully simple to get used to and very visual to keep track of, but hides incredible depths that make clashes a real challenge of intellect and planning.

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As you vanquish enemies you are able to level up your team of characters and their is also a basic crafting system in place to add depth to the inventory.

As a complete package Child of Light is an incredible experience.  Parts of it are somewhat lacking, like it’s rhyming story telling and inventory system, but others are amazing design decisions, such as it’s graphics and combat mechanics.

If you’re looking for a beautiful, fun and engaging RPG that a little different to the norm, then Child of Light is definitely worth a look.

Child of Light is available for PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

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