More often than not, a game with an interesting art style is a surefire way to grab my attention. While this is most certainly not the only criteria one should consider when perusing their gaming options, it has also led me to such interesting titles as Okami, GRIS, and Cuphead, all of which are excellent games in their own right. Another such game was Child of Light, whose pink-haired protagonist immediately caught my notice. Interest piqued, I originally passed this game up on the Wii U because of the console’s limited hard drive space, only to end up buying it for the slightly more spacious Switch.
As I mentioned before, I game ought not only be judged by its graphical style alone. And while this game is beautiful, what really matters is that it manages to stand up thanks to a plethora of other merits. Before I get into my full review, let’s begin with a short synopsis, shall we? Aurora, daughter of the Duke of Austria, dies in her sleep, only to wake up in the fairy tale land of Lemuria. Here, she meets Igniculus the firefly, and with his help and the help of other allies she meets along the way, she sets out on a quest to recover the sun, moon, and stars from the Queen of the Night.
Child of Light is a charming game, its lovely graphics and fairy tale tone paired excellently with rhyming dialogue and equally charming characters, such as the jester Rubella (who can’t seem to get her rhymes correct), the magic-wielding and cowardly Finn (who has quite the full beard for a mere teenager), and Robert the enterprising young mouse.
Gameplay-wise, this is an RPG with two noteworthy elements. One, early into the game, you get the ability to fly freely, which is really awesome. Very few games give you such freedom (or do any…I actually can’t think of any), and it’s all the better that this ability is granted so early into the game. The other highlight is the game’s unique turn-based battle system. This battle system has been around for ages, and yet Child of Light manages to freshen up this rather outdated system with new mechanics that add a lot of strategy and make the whole experience a lot more fun.
You see, throughout the game, battling or otherwise, you can control Igniculus the firefly with the right analog stick. He can grab items, open certain treasure chests, and even stun enemies by shining light into their faces. During the battles, Igniculus can slow enemies down by glowing next to them or even heal your characters by shining his light on them. Slowing enemies down in particular is very important because, once a character, friend or foe, is in the Cast section of the timeline, they can be interrupted if they’re attacked. So you can slow enemies down so they don’t interrupt you, or you can attempt to attack first in order to interrupt them. It’s such a simple, yet ingenious, idea that made battling enemies so much more fun than simply choosing your moves and waiting your turn.
The remaining aspect of this game that I want to highlight is its short length. This game can be beaten in approximately 10-20 hours, which is super short for an RPG, a genre that can often take as long as (if not more than) 100 hours from start to finish. And while I sometimes enjoy a long game that I can get lost in for months at a time, I also really appreciate an RPG that isn’t a major commitment. Being someone who has less free time than I used to, super long RPGs are just not as appealing to me as they used to be.
With that said, if you’re a fan of RPGs, but you don’t have the time to spend 100 hours on a single game, I would highly recommend you give Child of Light a try. It’s a really wonderful game with a super fun battle system, and you’ll get a charming RPG experience that won’t take over your life.
So dear readers, who here has played Child of Light? What did you think of it? Did you appreciate the game’s short length, or did you feel that it was too short? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on September 15, 2020.