Hands-On Preview: Child of Light
Most people aren’t talking about it, but one of my most anticipated games that’s due to be released soon is Child of Light. This being the case, I just had to get myself over to Ubisoft’s booth to play it. I’ve only seen this game in the form of trailers so it was great to finally get my mitts on it. From the short time I had with it, I’m happy to say that my enthusiasm for the title hasn’t diminished.
The game is inspired by old fairy tales — even the dialogue rhymes in order to create that story book feel. The team even went as far as making sure that the dialogue rhymed in every language that the game is available in. The visuals and music also invoke the sense of wonder and awe of these tales. The graphics are powered by the UbiArt Framework engine and it’s obvious that it evolved since it was last used to create the visuals of the previous two Rayman games.
The game is a nice mix of both platforming and turn-based RPG mechanics. While exploring the world, you’ll have to jump over gaps, move objects to help you advance and solve puzzles. The levels are multi-layered and you can go further into the background in some places. This also means that a good amount of secrets are hidden throughout the levels. Platforming was good for the most part but it did feel a bit sluggish at times. The game was running on a PC that was experiencing some issues so perhaps things will control better in the final build.
Combat happens when you approach or are ambushed by foes. Battles take place in a separate plane and not in the actual field. You take turns in battle with both parties’ movements tied into a bar located on the bottom of the screen. There are icons that represent you and enemies and they continually slide to the right of the bar. Once it hits the red portion of the bar, you or the foe can attack. At first, combat is simple but it does get more complex as the game progresses.
The main character Aurora is not alone. There is a firefly creature that aids you in exploration and combat. This character can either be controlled by you or by another person. At PAX I saw a live demo featuring the game writer and someone who was selected from the crowd demonstrating how co-op works.
Since your buddy is a firefly, he can illuminate hidden items and paths in the world. He can also blind enemies in and out of combat. Out of combat this means that you can bypass foes who are blinded and in combat you can slow down their movements. As the enemies became harder, it became essential to combine the firefly’s abilities with timed attacks to get the best of foes.
One of the unique goals the developers wanted to accomplish with this was to shake up the gaming industry. So many titles focus on aggression and putting out as much horse power as possible. However, Child of Light aims to be a breath of fresh air since it will focus on creating a magical atmosphere through its music and design. I for one applaud this tactic. I favor a strong and distinctive art style over hyper realistic graphics almost every time. Although the game does have combat in it, raw aggressive energy is not what it is about.
After playing the game myself and seeing a co-op demo I’m even more excited for Child of Light. I’m happy that a game like it exists and I hope, alongside the developers, that it does become the breathe of fresh air that this stale industry needs.