As a former teacher I love it when a game embraces reading over voice acting. Don't get me wrong, voice acting can be wonderful, but sometimes I have missed the feeling of reading a book that I used to have when playing classic role playing games like Final Fantasy VIII.
Classic RPGS [Role playing games] are really good at telling stories from multiple sources and allows us to explore dialogue in a way that books really can't. Child of Light tried to embrace this in a way that I haven't seen in a long time, but with a delightful twist. The Entire Dialogue is in Rhyming Prose.
The whole story is told poetically and the dialogue flows in a sing-song kind of way that is sure to make any English teacher smile. Even if poetry isn't your thing you have to commend them for writing an entire game in a form of poetry. It looks, sounds, and reads like a modern day fairy tale.
The artwork in this game looks like something you would see in an old picture book, but updated with rich colors and a ton of detail. It's lovely and the way things move almost feels like playing with paper dolls on an old fold out background. The game is relatively short, and I suspect that part of the reason is how extensive the artwork is. I'll say it again-Like a picture book.
The music. I go back and forth between loving the soundtrack, and being bored or sleepy. It is simple, clean, orchestrated, and honestly, thematically appropriate. There are some themes that really stand out, but in this case I think it's a matter of personal preference. I can't imagine anything more impressive with the mood of the game. However, I wish that some of the songs had developed their melodies more. For a game with so many different tracks I felt like I was listening to the same exact song over and over again. I don't want to be so harsh on the music because it's beautiful, and I can't really think of any constructive criticism for it. But I can't say that any of it has made its way onto my playlist either.
The gameplay is interesting. It feels like it's not sure if it wants to be an RPG or a Platformer. I kind of like that they mixed it up a bit. However, I think that Aurora's controls in the platform sense were a little rough around the edges. It's a minor critisism. In some instances even though it's pretty clean technically it is visually rough. I loved that the RPG style fights were visible encounters. I've never really enjoyed the 'random encounter' system myself. I like being able to avoid enemies before it cuts to the battle sequence...even if it ends up hurting me later in the game because I've skipped too many things. Child of Light has a really interesting encounter set-up, and it's really engaging.
Child of Light is a perfect example of games-as-art. I know that most games have artwork in them and a lot of time and effort goes into their design. I appreciate those games on a regular basis. However, what I mean by games-as-art is that it is experimental in nature. Either it is like exploring a painting, or it has something important to teach and uses game mechanics to help people understand something they otherwise might not. Child of Light is the latter. It's like playing a storybook fairytale. It's almost as if you close your eyes you might hear someone turning the pages.
I would recommend this game. It's definitely not going to please hardcore gamers, but it's perfect for a kids first game. I could see a family sitting down to enjoy this together and having a great time. This is definitely a title that will appeal to girls with it's courageous sword-wielding princesses, delicate design, and sweet lullaby-esque soundtrack. However, I think that anyone can enjoy this game. It's a classic fairlytale. You're not going to break any new ground with the story line here, but it's nicely delivered all the same.