To me, video games are like food. Sometimes I want to sit down to a giant meaty game with rich characters, a complex battle system and epic storyline. And then other times, it’s nice to just have a light snack that isn’t a major commitment. That’s where Child of Light comes in. It’s like a delicious salad on a hot summer day. A salad filled with bright, colorful, fresh vegetables and a tangy dressing that will give you a little boost, but won’t bog you down. I love salads, and I love this game.
In fact, it’s pretty hard not to love this game, at least visually, because it’s one of the prettiest games ever made. That may sound like hyperbole, but Child of Light is an artistic masterpiece. It has a storybook art style filled with wondrous creatures and splendorous locales. I don’t normally toss the word “splendorous” around in video game reviews, but it takes a special word to capture the grandeur of the graphics.
And aside from the exceptional graphics and art direction, the game’s got a little something under the hood, too. It’s got a simple, yet very engaging battle system. If you’ve played Grandia, which in my opinion has the best battle system ever created for an RPG, you’ll feel right at home. The battles are turned-based, but there’s a bar at the bottom that shows which characters will attack next based on their speed. Once you reach the action segment of the bar, everything stops and you get to choose your attack. This is the important part, because certain attacks are faster than others, and if you attack an enemy while he’s also in the action segment of the bar, you can interrupt him and reset his attack.
The bar also shows you when to block based on how far ahead the enemies are in line. And you can use spells to slow down opponents or speed your own guys up. Of course, everything you can do to the enemy, they can do to you, so you’ll have to choose your attacks carefully, so you don’t get interrupted. It might sound complicated, but once you see it working, you’ll get it right away.
The game features a gem system where you can find gems, craft them to make them stronger and assign them to your characters to give them boosts. It’s a simple system, but kind of fun to fiddle around with. There’s also a fairly basic ability tree that allows you to choose how you want to specialize your characters. Don’t worry, the ability tree is very straightforward, and you won’t break your brain trying to figure out the best build for your character.
The story in the game is light and matches the children’s storybook art perfectly. In fact, I find it refreshing to play a game where they don’t beat you over the head with forced drama and earth-shattering events every five minutes. The characters are cute, and the set up is just interesting enough to keep you involved.
All in all, this is a wonderful little RPG and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s light, fun and has a clever battle system. Visually, it’s in a class of its own and is a must-have for illustrators or aspiring game artists. I would especially recommend it for gamer parents who want to play with their children. This is the perfect game to share with a child, although you may have to cover their eyes for some of the monsters.
My only complaint—the game is too easy. Even the boss fights are a breeze. But if I'm going to stick with my metaphor and say this game is a salad, I guess it should be easy. Have you ever had a hard time finishing a salad?
Hint: You can swap out characters at any time without losing a turn! Take advantage of this and your foes will fall!
by Urian Brown