I think I'm a monster. I'm a horrible human being who doesn't appreciate good, pretty things because I'm not digging Child of Light. I know, shock and awe. There exists a person who isn't in love with one of the best received, downloadable games released in 2014.
The fascination and devotion some people have for Child of Light leaves me flumoxed. At times, I think I can understand from an aesthetic appeal, I suppose. It is a rather pretty game, and I can tell a lot of effort went into the hand drawn visuals. Still, it isn't the prettiest title I've seen in the last year or so. That would be Muramasa Rebirth. However, it isn't just the visuals people are raving about. They're going on and on about how this is a perfect game for families and lauding the characters and story.
Meanwhile, the second I began playing Child of Light on my Wii U and realized that rhyming in the introduction was going to be a thing for the entire game, I let out an audible groan. I can understand wanting to follow the fairy tale tropes and keep a consistent theme, but don't make me have to hear everyone rhyme for an entire adventure. While some may find it cute or perhaps even clever, I found it forced and irritating. My eyes felt ready to roll out of their sockets after an hour of play.
It isn't just the use of rhyme Child of Light that got me cringing. The plot did as well. Aurora is a lovable and strong character, yes, and I think she deserved a better story. I can understand the desire to create an interactive fairy tale within the game, but that doesn't mean it had to be so obvious. There's no element of surprise. It's so similar to stories we've heard before, and while there are some endearing moments, I felt like my intelligence was being insulted at the same time. The plot twist was blatantly obvious and it felt like par for course. Instead of stepping outside of comfort zones and doing something different, like Disney most recently did with Frozen, it's take on The Snow Queen, Ubisoft Montreal played it safe.
Yet, oddly enough, Ubisoft Montreal then decided to go overboard when it came to delegating skillpoints. It seemed at odds with the notion of a family game to offer 70 different skills to choose from. Let's keep things simple, with everything right in front of you when it comes to both the story and battle system, but them have oodles of options when it comes to customizing Aurora. It's just such an odd contrast, especially since many of these different attribute and ability upgrades could easily been combined together.
I like Child of Light well enough. I wouldn't have spent money on it if I didn't. It just hasn't captured my heart and left me awestruck in the way it has my friends and colleagues. Somehow, I feel like I'm left out or missing something because it isn't reasonating with me as it did with others. While I feel like all my points critiquing it are valid, a part of me wonders if perhaps I'm at fault somehow, because everyone is having such a wonderfully, extraordinarily good time when I'm only just doing "okay." To quote the iconic Mugatu, "Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"