Oh goodness me, Child of Light is going to be wonderful. Take the engine of Rayman and bump up the prettiness to maximum levels...
Then add in a charming tale of a little girl trying to save the world accompanied by a Navi from Zelda's cousin (a sprite called Igniculus and chuck a bit of turn-based RPG action on top for good measure - all that combines to become what has quickly become one of my most looked-forward-to games for next year already.
Coming out of Ubisoft Montreal, Child of Light
incorporates many different elements but doesn't feel hackneyed or old. If I could boil it down into a single word, I'd say that it's charming - your character, Aurora, flies around this stunningly realised world in search of people to assist (who can then become members of your party, adding some much needed assistance). There's a little Ni No Kuni
in there, a dash of Eternal Sonata
... but also some simple but joyful platforming.
The hands-on gave me a good chunk of the start of the game, with a little exploration of the opening area - a village where the residents have all been turned into crows. All exposition is told in rhyme, adding to the storybook feel of the game, and I quickly come across a gentleman whose betrothed has gone missing. After offering to find her, he joins our party and I set off on our first mini quest.
Everything takes place on a 2D plane, but different - and accessible - areas are visible in the back of the play field. After leaping down a well, I get into my first fights, taking on a bunch of spiders that prove to be little trouble. Levelling up boosts your various attributes as in countless other RPGs, but there's also a skill tree for each member of your party as well as collectibles that will boost your stats. The final game also promises crafting to truly bring an element of personalisation to your characters, tricking them out exactly as you please.
Co-op play is catered for with one player controlling Aurora, the other Igniculus. He is given much more freedom to roam around the screen, ducking into dark areas to bring light and - most brilliantly - blinding opponents during combat to give you an advantage. The second player isn't a spare wheel in Child of Light
, they're actually useful and contribute much to the proceedings, whether they're giving you some much needed extra health or preventing enemy attacks.Child of Light
is due 'sometime' in 2014. But I really want it now. Oh, and did I mention that this comes from the creative director of Far Cry 3? Yeah... I guess sometime folks really do like to do something totally different.