Game Title: Child of Light – Ultimate Edition
Company: Ubisoft
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 2.75 – 3 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 2.1 GB

There are a lot of RPGs out there in the handheld world, and even fewer that I would choose to go out and buy on two separate handhelds for the purpose of replaying and making new/updated reviews on those games for the new platform. If you wanted to dwindle the number even further, you could include western-developed RPGs.

But that is what we’re going to talk about today. Ubisoft launched a Western RPG on consoles back in 2014 that had a huge, story-book world and played like a poetic fairy-tale reading. Then it came to the Vita and I was charmed by it’s, well, charm.

With the Switch, Ubisoft’s own fairy tale has reached new handheld audiences, and I’m more than ready to head back to Lemuria once more. Here is my review for Child of Light: Ultimate Edition for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

child 2 - story

Child of Light is centered around Aurora, the princess of a kingdom who lost her Mother at a very young age. After years of being raised by her father, he finds a new bride and Aurora’s room burns around her that same night. Being dead in the real world, she awakens in the magical realm of Lemuria as its savior from a dark witch that has stolen away the sun and the stars.

The story of Child of Light can only be described as a Fairy Tale. The entire script is made in rhymes and everything from the intro cutscene to the random banter between Aurora and other party members is straight poetry. THe game weaves a magical tale of a princess saving a kingdom and is heart-warming from start to finish.

Gameplay

child 3 - gameplay

Child of Light is a turn-based RPG and a Metroidvania game all thrown into one experience. When exploring the world, you’ll be side-scrolling through a large overworld and when in combat, you’ll take part in turn-based battles.

First of all, this is “Ultimate Edition”, so all previous Child of Light DLC is built in, including the special Golem Side Quest along with all of the extra items and special costumes for Aurora. All of this is available from the get-go, so you can play the entire game with the other costumes and get a head-start on equipping gems to enhance your stats.

The way you progress is to move around the world and platform/fly to objectives to advance the story. At first, this will be a very linear game but after the first hour or so, it will become very open with a lot of new paths for you to explore and side events to find alongside the main quest of the game.

child 5 - tree

In this manner, you’ve got a bit of a meld between platforming and RPGing. As you fly and jump around, you have hazards that you would normally have in a side-scroller like hazardous terrain you have to carefully maneuver around and hidden chests in small paths in hard-to-reach places. Along with that, there are enemies all over the place that spark turn-based battles when you touch them.

The big thing with this game is that you’ve got a firefly partner that can interact with things as you move around, making things easier for you. On the map, he can unlock certain chests and solve certain puzzles. For combat, he can blind enemies before you engage combat, guaranteeing you a pre-emptive strike along with slowing enemies down while in the middle of combat.

The battles, themselves, aren’t just your typical battles, either. You have an Active Time Battle system like a lot of RPGs, but with a twist. Every action you do takes time to “cast” and if any character or enemy is hit before their casting time is done, they become Interrupted and their entire turn is cancelled out.

child 4 - battle

There’s a lot of strategy here with the firefly, too. You can use his energy to slow down certain enemies, giving your characters time to catch up and deliver an Interrupt so you go one more turn without taking any damage. His energy isn’t limitless, though, so you have to be wise with who you decide to use it for when you’re fighting multiple enemies.

When combat is over, things get more traditional with gaining experience and leveling up. Then comes customization. Leveling gives you skill-points that you use for skills in each character’s skill-tree. Similar but less complex than FFX’s Sphere Grid, you go from point to point, gaining skills as well as extra stat upgrades as you gain more Skill Points.

One thing to note is that, despite being like a JRPG, this isn’t that long of a game. On your first run, I wouldn’t expect to spend more than around 12 hours on the game. It’s a great amount of length for the price being paid, but it’s not like the 20-40+ hour RPGs available on handhelds. It’s a much shorter experience.

Controls

Controlling the game isn’t too tough. You move Aurora around with the D-Pad or Left Analog Stick and move the Firefly around with the Right Analog Stick. You can Jump/Dash with the A and B buttins and interact with objects by using the Y button.

Outside of the + button opening the menu, that’s all there is to it. It’s an extremely simple game to play.

Presentation

child 6 - pres

Graphically, the game looks colorful and beautiful. There aren’t any jagged edges anywhere and the world looks drawn straight out of a storybook. Everything down to the hair effects on Aurora and all of the moving backgrounds look pristine and fit right into the setting.

There is one mishap, though. The frame-rate does drop quite a bit in a few small areas. This doesn’t affect combat, but it does affect exploration in those small areas. On the bright side, all of the crashing and long load times from the Vita version are not present here. It looks better and plays better.

Battery Life

When it comes to Battery, you get a fair chunk out of the game. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 43 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 49 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 04 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 07 minutes

I was expecting a bit more, but it’s not terrible.

In conclusion, Child of Light is a unique RPG that feels far more Eastern than Western. On the downside, the frame-rate drops in some areas. However, that’s just a small blemish on a beautiful and affordable fantasy tale disguised as a WRPG.

Final Score: 9.5/10