Spring Cleaning Episode 2: Child of Light

It’s spring cleaning time, but here at GameCrate we aren’t interested in vacuuming or dusting. Instead we’re cleaning out hard drives, giving older games a try, and delving into our piles of shame. It’s Spring Cleaning: GameCrate style.

I honestly couldn’t remember why I got away from playing Child of Light. I remember looking forward to it and downloading it pretty much as soon as it came out. I liked the art style. I thought the dialogue, all done in an alternating rhyme scheme, was cute. At some point I just stopped playing and never went back back.

As I go through all the unfinished games that will make up my part of this Spring Cleaning series, each gives me a different vibe.  Some of the games are mad at me. Some are indifferent. I think at least one of them is mocking me. This one? Child of Light is just sad. “What’s wrong? Don’t you love me?” the game asks with tears in its eyes.

So to give this game some peace and get it to stop crying, it’s time to finish Child of Light.

That Was Quick...

Ok, so as it turns out there may not be as much to say about Child of Light as I thought. To my surprise, there wasn’t that much left for me to play. I only had three boss battles left to fight, and as nearly all random encounters can be easily avoided, I was able to, literally, fly to the end of the game.

This begs the question: what brought my first playthrough to a halt so close to the end? The answer appears to be a buildup of frustration, as even this relatively brief gameplay session was getting annoying. The game is almost, but not quite, a turn-based RPG, while at the same time being sort of, but not really, a real-time RPG. There’s a peacefulness in the turn-based RPG that I appreciate. It can be downright Zen-like. You can consider possibilities, review options, make a choice, then let the decision play out. When it’s not your turn, you have no control. When it is your turn again, you bring order to the chaos.

When you throw a real time element on top of what it is a fairly standard turn-based system it harshes my mellow. I was already irritated with the real-time aspects to the fight after the first battle. The real-time element, in the form of a sentient blue dot who can either heal you or slow your opponents' attack speed during battle, is just one more damn thing to keep track of.

My separation from the story for several months forced me to rack my memory.  Right, my sister turned out to be evil, or was it not really my sister, just somebody pretending to be? *checks Wikipedia* Nope, turns out your sister is just evil (wait Wikipedia says this game is a platformer? Really?).

Another thing I started to remember is that I never really felt connected to the story in the first place, which was another reason I put this game down.  Story is often a driving force for me in games. I’ll push through some really terrible gameplay just to see what happens next in the story, assuming I care. The story here isn’t bad, it’s good, I just don’t feel like I’m part of it. I’m still not sure why.

Wrapping Up

Child of Light

After beating the game you can continue to play, in order to finish up side quests and pick up any collectables you missed. In doing so I discovered a character I was supposed to pick up but never did. This moment makes me understand a broader issue I was having with the game. I never felt like I was playing it right. There were party members I almost never used (never mind the one I never had), with abilities I never utilized. Was I supposed to use everyone? In order to do that I would have had to swap party members in and out of the battle much more frequently than I did. Was that the point? I get the feeling there was a proper way to play this game and I just sort of missed it.

Oh well, what’s done is done. Overall Child of Light is a game worth playing.  It’s currently free on Xbox One, so go check it out if you haven’t yet. It’s a fun enough game and it won’t make you sweat.

Join GameCrate by doing some gaming Spring Cleaning of your own, and let us know about it in the comments or on Twitter @GameCrate!