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Feature Video

Child of Light: The Most Beautiful Game You've Never Heard Of

RPG-lite.

It's hard to ignore just how beautiful Child Of Light is. For the first few minutes of the game I just sat there, gawking at the gorgeous watercolour-like landscapes, oblivious to the fact that there were in fact some neat ideas strewn amongst the pretty visuals. It is, after all, a marriage of two disparate genres: the 2D platformer, and the turn-based RPG. They've come together in the past with the likes of the Paper Mario series, but Child Of Light takes a slightly different approach.

Child Of Light simplifies and condenses many classic RPG mechanics to fit its shorter running time. Experience points, magic points, skill trees, weapon upgrades, buffs, spells and turn-based battles are all there, but are far less complex than in your average RPG. In the few hours I played the game, I'd already worked my way up to nearly level 20, and unlocked quite a few blocks on my character's skill tree.

Weapon upgrades came in the form of gems called Oculi that I recovered from chests during my adventure, which slotted into weapons for different kinds of buffs. Some gave my character more strength, others better magic defense, while another added elemental buffs like fire and water to attacks. It's a simple system--at least when compared to the complexity that the likes of some of the Final Fantasy series has reached over the years--but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad one.

I found Child Of Light's rewards came not from tweaking an endless array of menu options, but from the combat itself. There battles relied less on canny equipment choices and more on deft timing. Essentially, it was all about the balance between executing a defense command and launching an attack. A bar at the bottom of the screen showed when the characters (including enemies) were waiting to attack, and when they were actively casting.

If I launched an attack while an enemy was casting one of theirs, it would interrupt it and send them to the back of wait bar. The reverse was true too, so if I attacked just as the enemy was getting to the end of a casting period, I'd have my attack nullified. Simple enough, but it got quite tactical as I timed my defense moves to the rhythm of the opposition's attacks, and began using slow to ensure my attacks were perfectly timed, while the enemy used haste to speed up their time to casting.

It was a fun, tactical system, although once I'd got to grips with it, the battles themselves weren't particularly challenging. The potential is certainly there for it to come into its own during more difficult encounters, and I've got high hopes for it doing so later in the game. Even if it doesn't though, Child Of Light's aesthetic qualities go a long way towards picking up the slack. A captivating soundtrack accompanied the beautiful visuals, while the cast of cheeky fireflies, melancholy jesters, and grumpy gnomes and their rhyming dialogue were utterly charming.

That's not to mention the puzzle-filled platforming elements of the game, and the fairy wings my character was gifted with that let me gracefully flutter through the dreamy watercolor landscapes. Child Of Light is a game that's filled with charm and joyfulness. No matter how much I pondered about it having a deeper set of RPG mechanics, or battles with a more challenging set of opponents, I couldn't help but be utterly smitten by it. And if that happened after just a few hours, lord knows what a mushy mess I'll be when I get my hand on the finished game. Can't wait.

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Discussion

80 comments
benleslie5
benleslie5 moderator

Now this does look impressive for an RPG game

Leria
Leria

Looks like a harkening back to the old school pseudo-turn RPG's. If done well, those games are exceptionally good. If done poorly however.....

drewrobertson
drewrobertson

your voice put me to sleep. you should read bedtime stories.


UTTERLY SMITTEN!!!! LMAO who says that?

Nawras
Nawras

Certainly been waiting for this for a while. And glad to see a Grandia battle system.

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

after awhile in darksouls 2, i need this light...

Dradeeus
Dradeeus

It's a neat battle system. >.> Even if it's ripped off. -coughGrandiacough-
I'm looking forward to it, though. It looks neat.

Rakou
Rakou

And so the Lord of Light said: "The night is dark and full of terrors"

LilithN
LilithN

I dont find it beautiful at all, the artstyle rather creeps me out. Sorry, its just my opinion.

19James89
19James89

I'll pick this up on a Steam sale, it looks very, very good.

d33pak001
d33pak001

OMG this looks dreamy. A JRPG Side Scroller with beautiful visuals. Sounds like a great combination.

NeverMore0
NeverMore0

I've heard of it. In fact it's on my followed games list. Of course, I still didn't receive a notification about this article.

Veenox
Veenox

Seriously I don't get why Ubisoft didn't market that game a little more! I can assure any JRPG fan that this game is pure awesomeness!

dannydopamine8
dannydopamine8

With all the countless number of absolutely gorgeous games that are actually 3D and not just pre-drawn images.. It's pretty shallow to put this game up on a pedestal

Stesilaus
Stesilaus

Am I the only one who thought that the opening line of the narrative sounded disconcertingly like: "Child, touch yourself in bed ..."

:-/


Totabiento
Totabiento

Looks like a good game for little kids. Will buy it for my daughter for sure. Will it come for Wii U?. I hope.

bhmg
bhmg

heerrr...Old battle system from grandia ¬¬

Poison-tooth
Poison-tooth

Looking good! Reminds me of «The Secret of Kells».

kitty
kitty moderator moderator

Been watching this for awhile. I'm in love with the art style and was since I first seen pictures and a video about it. It looks to be very promising. 

divinejester
divinejester

Look this will probably be a great game and I will get it. But I love how the JRPG genre is all but ignored, but as soon as a Western developer basically makes what amounts to a JRPG its somehow some masterpiece. This game probably won't disappoint, but you can't even compare to games like Ni No Kuni. 


But because its Western, its so great. Also Puppeteer was more underrated, and more visually impressive in my opinion.

omNOMinator
omNOMinator

The indie scene right now is so rich with great art.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

what makes this game even more surprising is the fact it has only been in development for just over a year (according to one of the documentaries they put out). not sure if i should play this on ps3 or pc and if there will be any major graphical deifferences... likely you can't go wrong either way :D

StarsiderSajun
StarsiderSajun

Can't wait! I loved Paper Mario so much simply because it took a classic formula and improved on it, which a lot of rpgs don't do, or don't quite pull off in some cases.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

The new Trials gets a disc, but not this?! Not a shot at that game, but this seems less like a download title.

e_sh_n
e_sh_n

all hail the Grand UBIART

they are fantastic

limbo12
limbo12

"never heard of"


Sorry, no hipster cred for you today. The poseur-filled gaming press has already reported this game to death.


I'm sure it'll still be good, though, no matter how many faux-journalists write on it.

Moonco
Moonco

What a gem! Hope this becomes available on GOG 

The_Last_Paladi
The_Last_Paladi

I'll try it out because I love supporting something unique and interesting from time to time, and this game seems to fit those category.  That said, I am not sure if I will actually enjoy the game as much as the art style.  There has been a lot of pretty looking indy games that rely more on the artistic aspect than actually having really good gameplay, and while I'm sure there is a demand for games like that, I am not the one that would sacrifice gameplay for a riveting art style.  


I would love to see more games with gorgeous aesthetic offered by indys AND really deep gameplay you would find from some of the hardcore games out in the market today,

nayce54
nayce54

@Arsyad00 How far are you in Dark Souls 2? I am in the lava place called, "Iron's Keep." There is a lot of "light" there....and lava!

X-RS
X-RS

@LilithN

Any chance you might elaborate I'm genuinely curious what element are off putting.

TY

gannon27
gannon27

@Veenox I agree. I am going to get into this as soon as I finish Bravely Default.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@divinejester Uhm what... I thought Ni No Kuni was praised just about everywhere... Also a lot of Jrpg's are trying to accomodate to westerners while this title is trying inherently to be Japanese... Everything is totally Bass Ackwards!

Poodger
Poodger

@divinejester Honestly, I am more likely to be excited for a Western based RPG over a Japanese one, if only because I am a westerner, and I find the intricacies of Japanese culture to be, if not weird, downright creepy.

Hellbishop
Hellbishop

@omNOMinator Yes but always be weary of scammers bearing false completeness of potential awesomeness left to the side of the road as they scamper off into the late evening sunset.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@thissonicboom And here I thought I read about it on Gamespot a few months back... Not that they weren't probably just copy/pasting something from elsewhere at the time, but still.