Child of Light is a role playing game that tells the tale of a young girl's fantastical adventure in searching for a way to reunite with her father. After falling deathly ill in real life, Aurora awakens in the strange new world known as Lemuria and is tasked with recovering the sun, moon and stars from the nefarious Queen of Night, who also happens to be her stepmother in real life. Players will accompany Aurora and a band of unlikely allies in her journey to thwart the evil queen's plans and save her father, the duke, from the queen's clutches.
Mixing Mario style platforming with some puzzles involving moving crates to activate pressure switches and shining lights/casting shadows over certain objects, and some fun turn-based battles, where Aurora and her allies fight strange monsters, there's a lot to like here. With a "timeline" bar at the bottom of the screen showing when you can attack, or have to wait in a "cooldown" phase for your next turn, the timing of your moves matters almost as much as what you choose to do - whack an enemy as they're winding up to attack you, and you'll knock them off balance, and stop their attack - but time yours wrong, and they'll do the same to you. It's a gorgeous looking game, too, with fantastically colourful backdrops tied together with a great soundtrack and a decent plot that'll keep you playing until the end - even if, at 12 hours, it is a little bit short for a role playing game.
However, there are a few stumbling blocks younger players may hit. The battle system, for one, is a little bit on the complex side, with the timeline adding an extra layer of complexity - but perhaps the biggest stumbling block for little ones is the amount of text. Packed with reams and reams of non-voiced, rhyming prose, if your child isn't the strongest at reading, they may well struggle with this. While most of the dialogue simply pads out the story, there's a lot here that's vital to your quest, so when the talk turns to objectives, those who aren't the strongest readers may struggle. Sample sentences include: "That night Aurora went to sleep. The fire burned down low. She caught a chill that spread. Her skin was cold as snow. At dawn they found her vacant, Aurora's light gone out. Her father wept and pleaded, but there could be no doubt. For all intents and purposes, Aurora was dead. And yet... once upon a time, she awoke in a strange land instead." Parents may also like to know there is a positive message throughout, as the game encourages exploration and friendship, as well as fighting evil [creatures] in order to protect those in need.
With no bad language, no sex, and only very mild violence, there's little here for parents to be concerned about. While the game does feature plenty of battles, swords, and attacking of enemies, there's no realistic damage (with the players on one side of the screen and the enemies on the other, no attacks from either side actually 'connect' with the opponent visually - the attack is performed and the opponent flinches a little, and that's that) and no blood.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo Wii U