PAX EAST 2014: Child of Light Hands-On Preview

Child of Light is one of the games that were already on my radar before heading up to Boston for PAX East. I’m really enjoying the recent popularity of role playing game releases, and could always use another one. There’s something calmly satisfying about a game you can take your time with. 

I couldn’t sit down for a long play session on the show floor—boy, that would have been nice—, but I quickly fell in love with the little I did experience. The game art immediately sets the tone for the experience ahead. The hand painted characters and environments feel like a dark and moody fairy tale. 

This being my first time with Child of Light, I needed the game’s full introduction. The story of the main character, an Austrian princess from the 19th century, is presented completely in rhyme, adding to the storybook atmosphere.

 The game starts with Princess Aurora becoming mysteriously ill and falling into a deep sleep. Aurora wakes up in a strange new world where she befriends a magical blue flame named Igniculus. Igniculus was not only my guide through the lands of Lemuria, but also aided me in collecting power ups and fighting off dark creatures. 

Child of Light uses a version of turn-based team combat where attacks and spells take varying amounts of time to cast. A timeline at the bottom of the screen indicates when each character will act next. Time only stopped long enough long enough for me to pick each action, and I could send Igniculus to shine light on enemies to temporarily increase the time between their attacks. 

Browsing through items and character upgrades gave me a glimpse of just how deep I could go into customizing how Aurora and her team played. I had to remind myself people were waiting to play as I stared at talent options.

I saw a healthy sampling of the platforming, puzzles, and combat during my time with Child of Light. None of it felt tedious or acted as filler to break up the action. Every sequence helped me slip a little deeper into a story and world that felt brooding and beautiful. For $15, I have a hard time imagining I’ll pass on this game when it releases in a couple short weeks.

Child of Light is coming to the PC, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, and PS4 on April 30th.


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