This week, we continue our Weekly Spotlight series with another one of the best Xbox games under $15. Not too many major AAA publishers release games with a price point this low, but Ubisoft opted to do just that with this week’s game – Child of Light.- $14.99
First released back in 2014, Ubisoft’s Child of Light is an absolutely beautiful game. You’re missing out on an amazing game if you haven’t played it. It’s a gorgeous tale of growth into adulthood, and I can only hope my own daughters grow up to have Aurora’s strength.
Child of Light won many awards, including five at the Canadian Game Awards in 2014 for Best Original Music, Best New Character, Best Downloadable Game, Best Visual Arts and Best Animation.
It speaks a lot about the game’s story when a game can have a gripping, emotional impact on a player without much dialogue. That’s exactly what Child of Light does. A story encased in exquisite rhyme, Child of Light focuses on the Duke’s daughter, Aurora, who passed away in her sleep. We find out that in her “sleep”, she is transported to and awakes on an altar in the magical world of Lumeria. A magical firefly named Igniculus helps Aurora realize she must rescue the Queen, who was trapped by the Queen of the Night before stealing the sun, the moon and the stars. Aurora is granted special abilities in order to aid her in her quest. She is determined as it is the only way home to reunite with her beloved father.
Child of Light also features some of the most soothing and mellow audio you’ll encounter in a game. It is incredibly captivating, yet relaxing, and it allows for a much better experience. Ubisoft has given us the same soft, gentle music with a slight harmonix feel during battle, which successfully carries on the overall aesthetic environment of the game. It’s a perfect blend that allows us to get the full experience and is brilliantly executed.
Ubisoft utilized its new Ubi-Art engine with Child of Light. It’s a mixture of hand drawn background with beautiful water color type characters. There is a lovely aesthetic feel to Child of Light that looks as if it’s something straight out of the Thomas Kinkade vault. The game implements light in a manner similar to how an artist uses pencils for shading. Combined with the audio in both the music and poetic rhyming story, it feels as if you are a child again listening to your parents tell you a bedtime story while imagining the world in your head.
Child of Light has some beautiful exploration options that allow you to simply enjoy the landscape without actually doing anything other than marvel at its looks. Aurora is able to fly around the landscape, and her flowing red hair is rhythmic with its movements. The upgrades make a difference and provide ample improvements over the standard +2 we tend to see in games. All of the magic spells and attacks land every time in battle. Speaking of combat, Child of Light has the most basic yet most advanced battle system I’ve seen. It’s so easily put together yet requires substantial planning in order to come out victorious.
Each of the character icons move across that grey waiting area in battle. Once you hit red, you can attack, cast a spell or use an item. Some moves are faster than others, like attacks striking faster than a spell. You’ll need a delicate balance of strategy, as enemies can hit you while you’re waiting to attack. This will knock your icon back in the holding area and delay your turn. Often times, you’ll need to choose between killing an enemy and striking one with more health in order to prevent it from dazing someone in your crew. Your companion Igniculus is also a mandatory asset in battle.
Collectables in the form of various stones can be found. These will augment your moves, for example, by adding certain elemental damage to your attacks. Things like ruby, sapphire, emerald, tourmaline etc all have their individual powers. They can also be combined to form other versions. For example, ruby adds fire damage and sapphire adds water damage. If you combine the two, you create amethyst which will increase your overall attack damage a certain amount based upon your level.
Overall, Child of Light is an exquisite work of art. It was almost as if I was in a living, breathing painting. The progression of Aurora’s story herself was also refreshing. In a short time, she grows from a scared, little girl into the heroine of her own tale. It was done in such a way to be consistent with the theme of the game and had me hoping my own daughters will grow up with the same conviction.
Child of Light is available now on the Xbox store for $14.99, and is definitely a game you should pick up. Take a listen to some of its soundtrack below. I can listen to it for hours. It is, in fact, pure beauty.