There was once a time when stylish, whimsical, and what some might call ‘artsy’ video games were relegated to the fringes, often overlooked in favor of their bombastic, blockbuster brethren. But the times are changing, with Child of Light a perfect example of just how much.
Ubisoft gained plenty of attention with the game’s announcement trailer alone, but thanks to a new gameplay walkthrough with developer commentary, players can see for themselves how a fairy tale aesthetic looks to conceal one intriguing system for exploration and turn-based combat.
With Ubisoft Montpellier’s impressive sequel Rayman Legends, the studio proved that there are still new experiences and styles that 2D sidescrollers can offer, provided the designers are determined to innovate. That title – like Origins before it – employed a lighthearted art style to catch the attention of casual gamers, while masking a seriously sophisticated platformer.
The first trailer for Child of Light was all it took to prove that the Montpellier studio wasn’t alone, with Child of Light’s team counting on a watercolor landscape to turn heads before its actual gameplay was even explored. With with a creative team last responsible for Far Cry 3, it was clear some surprises were in store.
Now that the first trailer has shown off a bit more of the game, it’s clear that this is anything but a simple ‘art’ project. Even if the plot synopsis seems pulled right out of a child’s fairy tale:
Child of Light is a re-imagining of classic fairytales, inviting players on an epic adventure into the magical painted world of Lemuria. Players will uncover mysteries, participate in turn-by-turn combat inspired by classic JRPGs, and explore the mystical kingdom.
The above video helps lay out the basic gameplay, blending dialogue with NPCs, exploration, traditional questing and even the ability to blind enemies instead of engaging in combat. But it’s the unique twist on turn-based combat that will likely grab the interest of JRPG fans. Although the presentation seems standard for the genre, the emphasis placed on time, not necessarily stamina, mana, or any other mechanic is something new.
The idea of wagering time against damage was a strategy that first made headline with Final Fantasty XIII, and although Child of Light may not be as complicated or extensive as that, the video hints at unique challenges and tactics that could arise. With details on party members and attacks still likely to be detailed in the future, the only concrete gameplay mechanic shown is a player’s need to track the cooldown times of both their allies and enemies. The potential for that system may not interest casual turn-based strategy fans, but certainly makes this game one to keep an eye on.
What do you think of this early look at the game? Is the creative team behind it curious enough to hold your interest, or is the art style is one you’d like to see more of? Sound off in the comments.
Child of Light will be released in 2014 on PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
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