The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES - JOE GRIF­FIN

7 cert, Ubisoft, Xbox One (also Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Wii U, PC)

This gamer has a soft spot for frag­ile he­roes – Davids as op­posed to Go­liaths. And while ma­cho marines will al­ways have their place, there’s some­thing to be said for the lost chil­dren of Limbo, Broth­ers: A Tale of Two Sons and now Child of Light.

This is a hy­brid com­ing-ofage story wo­ven into a mys­ti­cal fairy­tale. It’s a 2D ac­tion/ plat­former with the depth and breadth of a Ja­panese role­play­ing game. In grand fairy­tale tra­di­tion, Aurora is a royal’s daugh­ter who falls into a trou­blingly deep sleep. The ad­ven­ture fol­lows her in a dream­land: “The dream is filled with frigid air/dark spir­its fly, I know not where.”

Aurora’s jour­ney takes her through eerie Broth­ers Grimm forests, rust­ing in­dus­trial build­ings with threat­en­ing cogs, dusty cas­tles, and creepy caves where she meets gi­ant bugs and malev­o­lent fairies. It soon emerges that she has to re­trieve the king­dom’s sun, moon and stars. She’s helped on this jour­ney by Ig­nicu­lus the Fire­fly.

Child of Light is a gor­geous game; it looks like an an­i­mated wa­ter­colour paint­ing, and the dream­like qual­ity is main­tained by count­less lit­tle de­tails, such as Aurora’s red hair end­lessly flow­ing as if she’s un­der­wa­ter.

The game­play is rich and com­plex, with two si­mul­ta­ne­ously playable char­ac­ters, menus of power-ups and turn-based com­bat. This gets deeper as Aurora ac­cu­mu­lates al­lies and skills.

It’s a slow burn that re­veals its charms at its own pace, but emerges as a dis­tinc­tive, poignant and sur­pris­ing 2D RPG. In other words, Child of Light is more than worth the ef­fort.

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