The recently released Child Of Light was brought to us by the same guys that graced us with Far Cry 3, but this is a far cry from that genre in every respect. When I first seen details about Child Of Light, I was uncertain about who exactly this game would appeal to. As a grown man and one that loves to be running and gunning while gaming, you know manly things, I was definitely sure this game would not appeal to me in any way. A fairy tale in which you play a young red haired princess, is something no grown man wants to be seen to enjoy, but this is exactly what happened. Child Of Light not only surprised me, but is a dark tale wrapped in a world of breath taking art, and evocative music. The game has many great RPG elements, simplified enough to allow younger players to get to grips with, and has all been made using the same engine that brought us Rayman Legends, Ubisoft’s own Ubi Art game engine.

You play as Aurora, you falls asleep to awaken in a mysterious world known as Lemuria. The land of Lemuria is under a dark spell and you must unravel it, in order to get back to your father, who is terribly distraught as the loss of his raven haired princess. You are soon joined by a small but very useful firefly called Igniculus, who comes into play by lighting the way in dark areas down to blinding enemies in battle. Igniculus can also be controlled by a second player, which my son JJ decided to take control of along the way. Once you aquire your sword the real adventure begins, travelling through ever increasingly dangerous environments on your quest. The art style of Child Of Light could well be seen as having a Japanese influence, as all of the different environments are painted in striking watercolours. Travelling through Lemuria, will see further characters joining your party, each with their own combat and magic abilities to aid you in combat, a jester, a dwarven mage, a mouse archer to name a few.

Combat is handled in true RPG style, with each attack move chosen and planned before execution. Battles are abundant in Lemuria and you will never have to travel far before you encounter an enemy of some kind. As with all RPG’s you can upgrade every characters abilities, add experience points to skill trees, craft gems called Occuli into useful additions to armour and weapons, and even switch between characters at any point during a battle. All of this is done in a very simplistic and clear manner, giving the player a real RPG experience without the full complexity of the genre. All of the actions are based on a time bar at the bottom of the screen, which you can manipulate in certain ways, using Igniculus to blind an enemy will see his timer slowed, or by casting a speed up potion on one of your team members. Hitting an enemy or being hit will also see the time interrupted, so the use of defend and armour is highly recommended, especially when you start getting into the bigger, tougher enemies. All of this makes for a very simple, yet deep battle system where you will find yourself having to rethink your strategy, or even flee from some battles as the enemies outsmart you.

Child Of Light also has a number of side quests for you to complete, with subtle clues scattered across Lemuria to aid you in completing these. The one thing I really enjoyed about the game, is the lack of real hand holding, you are never really given clues that say you must do this, or this, but it allows you to explore and discover on your own. It may be based on a fairy tale, but it has a real maturity about it, and that was one of it’s appeals to me. You won’t find gold or other loot to gather around this world to spend on new weapons or upgrades, as this is handled by collecting gems to craft or potions to use in battle. One thing to that did get up my nose a little in Child Of Light was the dialogue, this is all delivered in rhyme, while it may be a nice touch if you are reading it from a book at bedtime to your child, it started to grate on me towards the middle of the game.

Child Of Light at first look may put some seasoned gamers off, but if you swallow that pride and give it a chance it will not only surprise you, it will leave you with a definite joy for having played it. It is not as complex as other RPG’s, but the simplified way in which it tackles the genre is both unique and enjoyable. The addition of controlling the firefly with a second player is great if you have a kid wanting to get involved, after all this is a fairy tale. Ubisoft have again surprised and entertained me with this title, just as they did with Blood Dragon, and I hope that they continue to explore unique ideas in this way. Few games I can think of have delivered such a beautiful vision coupled with a full campaign, tremendously suitable music and an enjoyable all round experience, apart from the dialogue. It also offers great value with the campaign lasting around 10-14 hours depending on completion of the side quests. You simply have to play this game regardless of age or pride.