I have always been a fan of RPG games, but over the last couple of years, I have grown really tired of turn-based RPG games because they are so slow and meticulous. This week’s game, “Child of Light,” is a very different kind of turn-based RPG that mixes elements from traditional RPGs and Side Scrolling Platforming with a whimsical fantasy story. “Child of Light” borrows a lot of things from classic RPG games but changes things up by having innovative action-style gameplay and an interestingly beautiful art style and musical score.
The first thing that is noticeable is the graphics – “Child of Light” looks like a storybook come to life. It isn’t the most breathtaking game ever, but the level of detail in every environment and the charming hand-drawn characters themselves are very impressive.
The main protagonist of the story is a princess named Aurora, and she has many interesting powers, especially when it comes to movement; she is able to fly and glide around with ease. The fighting system is one of the most innovative I have seen in a while. When you do encounter an enemy, both Aurora and the enemies are timed with the same meter. The key to winning is learning how to manipulate the meter to interrupt your opponents’ attacks, which sends them back in the timeline, allowing you to have more attacks. The system makes for an interesting balance, managing your timing and getting the correct rhythm. The controls are simple to learn but difficult to master; timing isn’t the only thing you have to learn. There are also elemental attacks, unlockable skills, and you can even craft your own items that will augment your weapons and abilities. There are several characters in the game, and each of them have different attacks. When a battle begins, you can choose two characters, giving you the ability to combine their abilities. There are several different variations, but only certain ones will be go-to attacks you will choose all the time.
The story is where “Child of Light” really shines. The evil Black Queen has stolen the sun and the stars, and it’s up to Princess Aurora and her friends to get them back. Aurora’s closest companion is Igniculus; he is a little flying orb that helps out in battle and lights up dark paths to help in exploration. Igniculus can be controlled by a second player, making for a nice multiplayer experience, especially for a child playing with a parent. Each character has his or her own motivations; Aurora’s father has been kidnapped by the queen, there is a mouse archer, a weird jester, and several more. All of the dialogue in the game is told in rhyme, which lends to the storytelling feel, but it can get a bit cutesy and overly irritating at times, especially since there are no voices. I don’t mind reading, but all the rhyming can make the story a bit confusing and messy at times. In order to see the conclusion of each character, you are going to want to play through the game several times. It is about 10 hours long to complete, but there is a new game plus feature, allowing you to maintain all of your weapons and abilities for each play-through, making it feel less tedious.
Overall, I did enjoy “Child of Light.” This downloadable title is one of the most inventive RPG games I have played in quite some time. The combat is less tedious than the average turn-based RPG, and the movement in the platforming sections is a lot of fun. The art style and music are beautiful, even though there is a lack of character voices, making it feel a bit dated. If you are a casual fan of RPG games, this might raise your interest in the genre. If you are a diehard fan, there are some traditional elements to love. If you are looking for a fun new RPG on the new generation of consoles, “Child of Light” is definitely worth a download.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]