Child of Light (Wii U) Review

By SirLink 05.05.2014 1

Review for Child of Light on Wii U

When talking about RPGs, Ubisoft is a company that is rarely mentioned, if brought up at all. That's what made the announcement of Child of Light - an RPG using the UbiArt Framework that powered both Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends - all the more surprising. It's not just available on Wii U, either, as Ubisoft also released the game on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC. How does its take on the genre hold up, though? Read on to find out…

The plot follows Aurora, a girl from 1895 Austria that fell asleep and found herself in the foreign lands of Lemuria, a world that has had its moon, sun and stars stolen by a mysterious queen. Her goal is to recover them and reunite with her father, who is a duke in Austria. Almost the entirety of the dialogue consists of rhymes and while rhyming is perfectly fine by itself, it gets a bit tiring in this case, simply because of the sheer volume. Other than that, the story does feature some good characters and is a magical experience overall.

While an RPG with battles and character growth, outside of combat it resembles a side-scrolling title instead. There are plenty of opportunities to explore and collect additional items and stardust that can be used to gain additional stat boosts for a character. Differently coloured gems called Oculi can also be found and put into a weapon, armour or accessory slot for stat boosts or various other effects. Additionally, it's possible to combine Oculi into superior or completely different kinds. It's a relatively simple equipment system compared to some other RPGs, but it works well nonetheless.

In addition to controlling Aurora, the player also controls Igniculus, a small firefly that can stun enemies and open specific chests by shining brightly. His ability is also used for various puzzles throughout the game, some of which are quite clever. Recharging his energy is done by collecting floating orbs with either character, and if they are gathered in a specific order, they also provide some HP and MP to heal up between battles.

Although the player's main control will always be over Aurora, a simple tilt of the right analogue stick will guide Igniculus along, too. Another option, should more accuracy be required, is the humble GamePad Touch Screen, which - much like tracing patterns in The Wonderful 101 - requires relinquishing either main movement or button-based actions for a free hand, which in the heat of battle is not ideal.

Child of Light could also be considered a two player game of sorts on the Wii U through yet another guidance method for Igniculus; the humble Wii Remote. Sadly what may come as an obvious use for the Remote's pointer function is relegated to sideways D-Pad usage. Controlling the little firefly via this method is still quite nippy and helpful for a younger main player, but ultimately not as good as it could have been.

Screenshot for Child of Light on Wii U

The combat is based on the Active Time Battle system that’s found in many games of the Final Fantasy series, but with a clever twist in form of something called the Timeline. Once a character or enemy reaches a specific point on the Timeline, they can pick an action, but to actually perform said move they have to reach the very end first. Getting attacked during the casting period will interrupt the action and knock the affected unit back in the Timeline by a significant amount. As both regular foes and bosses are also affected, a big part of battles is timing attacks to interrupt the opposition as much as possible while trying to prevent them from doing the same to Aurora and her allies. Different moves also come with different cast times, so a very powerful attack will have a longer cast time that also increases the risk of getting interrupted. Igniculus is a big help for managing the Timeline, as he can slow down enemies as long as he has energy to spare.

The playable characters cover a fairly wide variety of roles, such as physical attacker, healer, mage or support with either buffs or debuffs. Level-ups provide typical stat increases and a skill point per level, which can be used to gain additional stats or learn more skills from one of several skill trees. It's a very straightforward progression system, but some thought has to be put into skill point distribution nonetheless, as it's not possible to for a character to excel at everything without a lot of additional level grinding. It's extremely convenient to make use of all of them, too, as they all gain the same experience regardless of participation or even survival at the end of battle and can be instantly switched out on someone's turn.

There are two difficulties to choose between, called Normal and Hard. These are soon to be changed to Casual and Expert instead, as the current names can be a bit misleading. The former is quite easy and doesn't require much thought, while the latter requires taking advantage of the unique Timeline mechanic, enemy weaknesses and different character abilities to simply survive most encounters. It's a much more satisfying experience that way, but the option to make the game a lot easier is there for those who prefer to breeze through the game instead.

Screenshot for Child of Light on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Child of Light is a great first step into the genre for Ubisoft and a thoroughly enjoyable experience overall. It takes the classic Active Time Battle system and puts a twist on it with the Timeline mechanic. The presentation is top notch and sure to generate some interest in the game all on its own. Child of Light comes highly recommended for fans of RPGs, but those who usually aren't fond of them might want to check this game out, too, as the battles can be made a lot quicker and easier by selecting the lower difficulty.






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I was confused earlier because I saw this enter the UK charts, but had simply forgotten it had a limited retail release on PS4. Not sure about other formats...?

Anyway, I wonder if there are any real major differences between versions, otherwise I'll likely just get the PS3/PSN edition.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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