I’ve been following this game for a while now. Ever since I saw the initial preview of Child of Light, I knew in my gut it was going to be something special. With the artfully crafted water color painting aesthetic, the game creates a serene peacefully beauty that begs to be explored. With turn-based battles, character leveling, skill trees to climb, and lite crafting features, all the RPG elements are in place. Child of Light is the most original, charming, peaceful, and creative new IP I’ve seen in years!
Child of Light’s battle screen. Look at the simple beauty of it. The demo starts things off with little explanation about who or where you are, so I won’t be able to talk much about the story. The games visuals on the other hand make you feel like you’re playing around on the canvas of a painter. The water color effect is immediately calming and light hearted. I love the way Aurora’s red hair clouds and smears along behind her as she wisps around through the air. Very evocative of floating like a flower pedal on the breeze, so natural and soothing. Watching her walking on the ground is very different from flying through the air.
While walking, Aurora feels very much like a child. Her walk animation is bouncy and cumbersome, making movement much slower than flying. Flying creates an atmosphere of elegance, while walking leaves an impression of immaturity and youth. Very interesting differences, but I’m not sure if it will build to a bigger meaning by the end or not. Mix in the calming music and you have an experience that exudes peace and serenity.
Controls are tight. You move Aurora with the left stick and with the tap of the X button, you jump and take flight. The transition is smooth and effortless, as it should be. The right stick moves your little blue sprite buddy, Igniculus, who follows you everywhere. Again, no story elements were introduced in the demo, so I can’t say how or why he’s with you, but he is a controllable helper. With the right stick you can move Igniculus to collect item picks ups and reach otherwise unreachable areas.
A few instances in the demo had Aurora passing through tight corridors where spikes pop in and out from the floor and ceiling. By moving Igniculus over a switch (only he can reach) the spikes are disabled for a short period of time. The catch is, it consumes a limited meter. This meter refills over time, and can be replenished with item pickups, which are plentiful. It appears he will be an ever-increasing help in these types of situations as you progress through the game.
The Flow of Battle
Battles occur much like any RPG. You encounter an enemy in the world, and touching them cuts-to the battle screen. It’s worth mentioning that you can prompt a surprise attack by approaching the enemy from behind, which gives your party a head-start on the timeline of attacks when the fight starts. On the battle screen you and your party are on the left and the enemies the right. On the bottom of the screen you have an attack meter with all members involved in the battle represented as bubbles, indicating their attack turn.
As time flows each bubble approaches the “Cast” section of the meter, in red, and represents the time when you attack. Your actions are still turn based, meaning everything waits for your command input. This is my personal favorite style in RPG’s. At your disposal you have attack, magic spells, defend, items, and flee. Pretty standard stuff. The twist occurs with the addition of Igniculus. Moving him over top an enemy and holding L2 will slow their progression on the attack meter. But, doing so also drains Igniculus’ action meter (which is the source that allows him to slow enemies) although it will refill slowly once depleted.
Now, if you attack an enemy while their icon bubble is in the “Cast” section of the meter, you will cause an interrupt, sending their bubble back to the start of the meter, effectively canceling their attack turn. Carefully managing your attacks and Igniculus’ “slow” mechanic will be imperative to winning the bout, adding depth and tension to the fights.
Furthermore, there are collection spots (plants) on the battle screen that Igniculus can fly down to and collect HP/MP from. Not sure if this was just for the demo, or if it will be present throughout the game. I like the idea though. Saves from having to waste time/turns using potions each and every battle. Balancing the flow of battles in RPG’s is key to a successful game. These collection spots are also present and plentiful everywhere in the world, and used as your means of replenishing HP/MP between battles.
Each character has their own skill tree in Child of Light to add experience points to, gained from leveling up. This appears to be pretty standard fair for now. Some areas on the skill tree were grayed out, again not sure if this was just for the demo or will appear in the final game too. But I like having some surprise around end game skills. Along with the skill tree you have some lite crafting you can do with these gems you collect. Each gem has their own ability when placed in the attack/defense/speed slot. Combining 3 gems together can either create a large gem of the same type or a different gem based on the color combo. Currently I only saw the option to combine a total of 2 or 3 gems. We’ll have to wait and see if that will expand as the game opens up.
Child of Light feels like a breath of fresh air. Honestly it does, in every way. I played through the demo in a trance. All elements of the game mix so well together from the water-color visuals and the soothing music, to the fast paced strategic battles. Exploring is effortless and calming….I want more! After finishing the demo and taking a break long enough to give you guys some impressions, I’ll be purchasing the full game, and will get back to it! I can’t recommend this game enough, to anyone, especially RPG fans. If you’re an RPG gamer, don’t miss out on this gem of a game!