Child of Light Review - Light Entertainment

Jim Sterling | 28 Apr 2014 12:00
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As I said at the top of the review, Child of Light is a simple game, and as nuanced as the battle system sounds, it's far from complicated. It is, however, wonderfully clever, and transforms a traditional quasi-turn-based system into something more involving thanks to a slight amount of alteration. Mastering combat to the point of completely disallowing enemy attacks is an incredibly gratifying experience, though naturally such a feat is not always possible, and it can be exasperating to get caught in the same trap.

The only major issue I have with the battle system is how only two allied characters can be involved in a fight at once. Party members can be swapped out during the command phase at no extra cost, meaning the entire party can get involved (and should, because they all have useful abilities), but having to constantly swap characters in and out of rotation quickly becomes a hassle.

In truth, there's not a lot more meat to the battle system - or indeed the whole game - outside of the central idea. Characters level up and gain more skills, and switching them out to make use of their varied attacks, buffs, and debuffs is all important, but the bulk of fighting can become fairly formulaic at times. Most regular enemies can be defeated in identical ways, save for the occasional elemental strengths and weaknesses to navigate. Fortunately, there are a number of large-scale bosses that show up now and then, providing some suitably lengthy challenges and often requiring a greater level of strategy.

The only other thing to be aware of is a streamlined crafting and equipment enhancement system. Colored gems known as Oraculi can be equipped on one of three gear slots per character, or mixed together to create new gems. There's not a lot to it, but getting elemental damage or extra hit points isn't anything to sneeze at.

It bears repeating how gorgeously presented Child of Light actually is. What could have been a fairly bog standard RPG is given an extra air of enjoyability due to just how pretty the storybook visuals and evocative soundtrack are. Graphics and sound are far from everything - they can't ruin a great game, nor elevate a terrible one to legitimacy. However, they can always add that little touch of polish required to turn a good experience into a great one. That much is evidenced here.

Bottom Line: While its writing can make one cringe now and then, Child of Light is an overall charmer of a game, with a beautiful audiovisual style and clever twists on simple RPG concepts. Lovely stuff!

Recommendation: It's not the most deeply engrossing roleplayer on the planet, but it's the perfect bit of light entertainment for the casual and veteran genre fan. And that theme tune!

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