In late April 2014, Child of Light hit the world – one of major game developer Ubisoft Montreal’s smaller projects. It’s a lyrical, charming, beautiful, and captivating little RPG that sure made us swoon four years ago. Now that it’s launched on the Nintendo Switch, we caught up with its many joys again.
Child of Light
It’s tempting to categorise Child of Light with other indie games, but as this is Ubisoft (responsible for some of the industry’s biggest AAA blockbusters) behind it… it’s just a game. But a short one. Like most indie games are. So, with that confusion cleared up (!) let us embrace this poetic little wonder.
Child of Light is set in the land of Lemuria. You star as Aurora, who becomes mates with this firefly thing called Igniculus. The Queen of the Night has plagued the land with evil creatures, though, and stolen the Sun, Moon, and stars. Bitch! So, it’s up to you to take that swine out in classic RPG fashion.
Along the way, Aurora teams up with a host of characters. Our favourite is the melancholic joker Rubella, who has a cool hat. It’s little artistic flourishes like that (another favourite moment is a pink rodent-like creature that panics if you run by, lets out a yelp, and goes into hiding) that make Child of Light special. It’s full of introspective, melancholic pathos that’s complemented by that beautiful visual style.
Ubisoft Montreal put a lot of effort into the game’s dialogue, too. It’s all written in singsong, lyrical fashion – like a fairytale. The dialogue is quite sparse so this doesn’t grate at all, plus there’s a fair bit of bone-crunching violence in the game’s excellent combat sections. We mention that as it feels like a game made for women – that’s a female touch throughout Child of Light and, frankly, it’s all the better for it.
Four years after its release, this Ultimate Edition bungs in a batch of new features to the experience. It does make the Switch edition the ultimate version you can pick up, but by all means help yourselves to the PS4, Xbox One, or Steam versions. It’s something of a delight to play.
The talented Canadian musician Cœur de pirate is responsible for the stirring soundtrack. And what a bloody excellent thing it is, too, orchestral in theme and largely driven by piano and violin. There are some rousing numbers in there for the more hectic moments, but for us the melancholic piano pieces are what make the experience an emotional one.
If you’ve no idea who Cœur de pirate is, incidentally, we’ve included the above to bring attention to her work. As we’ve ranted about in the past, we think a musical score is much more important to a game than its graphical brilliance. Child of Light obviously boasts excellence in both areas, and they work in tandem rather fantastically.
But in isolation the pieces are quite brilliant as well. Cœur de pirate was 25 when she put the soundtrack together! Stupid bloody talented people. Bastards! Not that we’re jealous, though, as we once again get to enjoy this magnificent game and everything it has to offer.