Today's favorite thing is a small gem of a game that went a little unnoticed earlier in the year. Child of Light is the product of a large publishers attempt to create an 'indie' style game of it's own. Ubisoft gave the Creative Director of their Montreal studio, Patrick Plourde, who had previously helped forge the huge Assassins Creed and Far Cry franchises, the mandate to go off and create something smaller, and well, more intimate.
Largely they succeeded.
The game has a captivating watercolor aesthetic, one of the best soundtracks in recent memory, and enough meat on the game-play bone to please most that have played it.
Set in a world called Lemuria, the game combines platforming, with some mild puzzling, and a JRPG style, almost turn based combat system, that comes into play when enemies are encountered.
The story tells the tale of Aurora, a young princess thrust into a . In a fairy tale fashion more in line with old fashioned scary fairy tales rather than our modern sanitized ones, this one is dark, mature, and deals with the themes of loss, betrayal, family, and ultimately love. The heroine may be young, but she becomes a compelling character that fits the story perfectly.
The platforming is fun, and rewards exploration of the levels without ever getting too frustrating. It's a gorgeously rendered world that deserves exploring. The art style is appealing throughout, and as would be suggested by the title, light is used really well, to create a magical atmosphere.
While the RPG mechanics may not satisfy the most hardcore of JRPG fans, what is presented fits the title perfectly. There is some depth in there, and the fights can be challenging as you progress, in particular in that sweet spot in the middle section before you get that little bit too powerful that makes things a deal easier later on. An early Final Fantasy it is not, and there is a simplicity here that works with the other elements of the game.
Elegant is probably the best word to describe City of Light. So go, visit the world of Lemuria and say hello to Aurora. You won't regret it.