Child of Light is the first game from Ubisoft built on the UbiArt Framework not in the Rayman series. It’s also a classic inspired RPG being developed by, of all people, the folks behind Far Cry 3.
That makes this game a labor of love, and that fact combined with the UbiArt Framework produces a gorgeous effort.
I had a chance to briefly check out the title at PAX East this weekend. I spent, maybe, 30 minutes with the game. I stumbled onto a village of people turned into crows, set off into a well to save them and teamed up with an odd wizard.
Aurora, the heroin in this game, can move about the world by walking, of course, but she can also fly. Flying through the space and touching shiny objects produces glowing collectibles that translate to health and mana. Exploration, then, isn’t just walking between battles and objectives, instead it’s flight and collection between combat.
And that works really well to accentuate the hand drawn look of the world. As you zip around in flight, you’ll see all the minutiae tucked in each and every corner of the screen, and it’s the minutiae that brings this game world to life.
When you encounter enemies, you’re presented with a combat scenario that feels both familiar and new. It’s turn based, sort of, and you’ll select defense and attacks based on skills, weaponry, spells and enemy weaknesses. That part is the aging stuff.
There’s also an attack timing bar. Each combatant is represented on the bar, and they slide towards the end where their attack will happen. Once they near the finish, they’ll hit the cast bar, be given a chance to select their move and then speed along towards the end.
Here’s the thing: different attacks either speed up their progression along the bar or slow it down. You’ll almost race opponents to get attacks out, and you’ll select maneuvers based on how close they are to the end.
There’s an extra mechanic at work, too. You can control an odd energy ball with the right stick on your controller. Hover that ball over an opponent and hold the left trigger down, and you’ll slow their progression along the attack bar thus aiding you in combat. There’s a limit to this ability, so you’ll want to use it wisely.
My brief time with Child of Light really told me two major things: first, the game is a visual and aural delight. That much I suspected early on, and I can confirm. I also learned that there’s a lot more to combat here than in other classic RPGs, and that bit has me excited.
Good thing I won’t have to wait too long to dip into the real thing. Child of Light hits the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC platforms on April 30, 2014.