PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4/PlayStation Vita/Xbox 360/Xbox One/Nintendo Wii U/Windows
It’s hard to believe that Child Of Light is a Ubisoft game. Not that being a Ubisoft game is necessarily a bad thing but it has to be said that arguably most of their games tend to follow the same cookie-cutter style approach to game design.
Take the game I played before this for example. Far Cry 4 felt like 30 hours of side quests with a 10 hour story campaign thrown in at the last minute. Not that this made it a bad game as such but when you spend a good few minutes each time you call up the map screen trying to find the next story mission hiding amongst hundreds of side quest and collectable icons you reach the conclusion that the games production team had their priority’s wrong.
But that ‘gaming by numbers’ approach has been thrown out of the window when it comes to Child Of Light. Instead Ubisoft have come up with something that’s so far removed from their mainstream franchises and so visually beautiful that you could almost forgive them for inflicting the miserable Aiden Pierce on us in the original Watch Dogs.
In simple terms, Child Of Light is a side scrolling adventure game with some basic RPG elements thrown in. You play the role of Aurora – a young red haired princess who after waking up captive in the strange land of Lemuria has to embark on a quest in order to recover the sun, the moon and the stars and ultimately overthrow the evil Queen Umbra in order to restore normality to the land and return home.
During your journey you’ll meet a number of other characters who will join you to aid you in your mission. These range from a traditional medieval jester to a field mouse with a business approach that would give Lord Sugar a run for his money.
Each of these additional characters have differing skills and elemental powers that can be utilised during the game’s battle sequences. These are your typical turn based RPG style fights that see two of your characters taking on up to three enemies at a time. Each adversary has a particular elemental weakness and in order to successfully defeat them you need to hit them hard with the appropriate type of attack. So for example if a particular enemies weakness happens to be fire then a water based attack will deal the most damage.
By successfully winning these battles you’ll level each of your characters up. This will earn you skill points that you can then use to improve their abilities such as strength, magic, etc.. You’ll also be able to learn new, more effective attacks all of which can then be upgraded to deal even more damage as you progress. In terms of the game-play then it’s all pretty standard stuff.
Where Child Of Light really shines is with its presentation. I’ll just come out and say it – Child Of Light is one of the most beautiful and visually stunning games that I’ve clapped eyes on in 30 years of gaming.
The world of Lemuria and it’s inhabitants look like they were lovingly painted with watercolours. The backgrounds are so full of depth and detail that you could spend hours casting your eyes over them and still not manage to see everything that they have to offer. It’s almost like somebody has taken the most beautifully illustrated book of fairy tales and crammed it into your PS4.
The visuals are nicely complimented by the games haunting orchestral soundtrack that manages to convey the mood and emotion of the on-screen events without ever becoming overpowering.
Child Of Light isn’t the longest game I’ve ever played. Nor is it the most in depth. What it is though is a wonderful piece of escapism that gently draws you into its world and tickles your senses in a way that no other Ubisoft game has ever quite managed to. Highly recommended.