Flying through caves while reading endless streams of poetry, now that’s my kind of game.
Ubisoft’s Child of Light was released in April, in all its puzzling glory, last year. This is what I’m playing this week.
Aurora is our 8-year-old heroine and she’s fearless. She thinks she’s walking through a dream, slaying monsters in the dark and helping fellow wanderers until she finally meets and defeats the Dark Queen. She doesn’t yet know she’s entered the eternal slumber and her only chance for finding meaning in her short life would be to accept the fate that she’s been given.
The way I see it, the goal of the game is to stay positive and just keep learning all you can until you find your way.
So, the controls are your run-of-the-mill X=jump, SELECT=main menu and so forth. A word about the menu: Oculi is neat. When you’re traveling through the woods or the crumbling edifice of some forgotten ruin, you’ll come upon chests that hold stones such as rubies and amethysts and you have the opportunity to socket them into your main items. Each has their own attributes, for example, equipping a diamond into your armor gives you extra EXP after each battle.
If you’ve ever played Diablo, you know that once you make your choice, you can’t undo it. Players must choose wisely when it comes to the stats they want to boost for certain NPCs. I gave Rubella a sapphire for her Trinket to raise MP, as she is my main healer when I need her.
The further you go, you’ll find more NPCs and you can switch them out in battle using the turn-based system. Ah, this takes me back to my early Final Fantasy days, except for the part where you get to slow your enemies when you shine light on them. Make sure you keep watch on who’s up next if you want to stun a foe in time for your turn.
The basic mechanics of the game are simple enough, and the music is beyond beautiful. The tale itself is almost a hyperbole of childish feelings one might recognize as a journey through the hopelessness of being trapped in the shadow of a stepmother after your father’s turned his shining gaze away from you. Who knew that as soon as you gave into that fear, you’d just as soon be dragged into the Underworld.
Backdrops for the different levels of the game are masterfully composed of drawings something the like of Legend of Mana, and I must say the creators behind Child of Light have chosen their character names quite skillfully, as well, painting them as an allegory for the secrets they hide inside themselves. A rough translation of “Tristis”, the name of Rubella’s brother, paints a picture of utter desolation and sadness in the French, Spanish, Latin vernacular. “Igniculus” is also Latin for a spark of light, which is just what guardian angel-like firefly is for Aurora.
This game may be geared toward children, but anyone who has played Limbo should know that 2D sidescrollers can be enjoyed by all ages. I, for one, am on a ‘Child of Light’ kick this week.
Child of Light is available for the PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, and on PC through Steam.