Child of Light – The RPG I’d Hoped For

In my past post concerning Child of Light, I gushed about how beautiful the game looked. The question I still had was, how would it play? Well, I’m here today to provide my promised feedback.

Story

child-of-lightChild of Light is a fairy tale. It starts with a young duchess apparently dying, but then awakening in a magical land. She embarks on a journey to find a way home and in the process, save the land from an evil queen.

Yes, it’s like so many other fairy tales you’ve read. But even though the overall story is cliche, the assortment of characters you meet along the way, combined with the visuals and game play, make for a charming experience that will evoke warm childhood memories.

Graphics

homepage_slide_child_of_light_screenshot_temple_127570Beautiful. I mean, what else is there to say? The game looks like living water colour paintings right out of a children’s book. The character designs are unique and whimsical. There were numerous times I just sat and stared at the screen to enjoy the visuals.

Game Play

Child-of-Light-Walkthrough-NORTH-AMERICA-630x354Regardless of the beauty and charm, if the game mechanics stink, the game would be a miserable experience. Thankfully, Child of Light delivers.

The game play is a mix of exploration ala sidescrollers of the past where certain obstacles had to be overcome with levers etc. (not to mention avoiding dangerous areas), combined with Japanese style RPG battles.

Enemies are present on screen as you explore. This allows you to avoid some, but the game levels your character as you progress, so it’s worth while to do battle. When you come into contact with an enemy, you are transported to a battle screen. You can have up to two characters on screen at any given moment. One thing I appreciated with the battle system is you can swap characters in your party anytime during the battle without penalty. If you’re familiar with the Active Time Battle system many RPGs employ, you’ll understand this. A bar along the bottom shows the time you have to wait before you can take action. Once you reach the “Cast” point, you choose what you want your character to do. Different actions take different amounts of time. This determines how fast your character travels through the Cast phase and then performs your selected task.

To complicate things (or make them more strategic) if an enemy strikes you during your Cast phase, it knocks you back on the ATB bar, meaning you have to wait longer before acting. You can do the same thing to your enemies if you hit them while they are in the Cast phase.

As if this didn’t add enough, there is also the ability to separately control your firefly companion during battle. He can perform actions such as slowing monster’s progress along the ATB bar and even healing your own party members.

The combat system is pretty simple and straightforward, but as you add new companions with different specialties, you can get very complex in how you play during the harder battles later in the game.

Other RPG Elements

I mentioned above that your character gains levels. Not only do these increases grant you higher hit points, magic points, etc., they also give you points you can use on an ability tree. This allows you to learn new skills, or upgrade existing ones.

Also, you find items which can be used to permanently up character stats, healing potions, magic potions, etc.

Finally, you find gems which you can combine and then add to weapons, armor, and jewellery to give you other bonuses.

Final Thoughts

Worth every penny! The most fun I’ve had with a Japanese style RPG (which was made in Montreal, Canada, funny enough) in a long time. The various game systems are simple enough to not be frustrating, but still retain a level of complexity that harder core players can enjoy.

The graphics, story, and game play mesh into a wonderful experience. It took me about twelve hours to complete a play through on Easy (I think they’re renaming this ‘Casual’).

If you love RPGs, play this game. If it doesn’t sound like your thing, then at least Google Child of Light and look at the beautiful images 🙂

 

Because of Twitter – A Sneak Preview of Book Three’s Cover

When I logged into Twitter today, I was offered the chance of updating my profile.

Now, if you haven’t been keeping up with Twitter news, they’ve decided to make several changes to your personal profile page. In the end, it makes it look very much like a Facebook profile page.

This isn’t a bad thing. I’ve often wished Twitter would allow a larger, and more prominent, banner image. Another handy feature is you can pin a post you specify to be “Featured” on your profile. The featured post will always be listed at the top of your profile.

Now, as an Indie Author, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to pimp my wares. So I created a new banner, which is very similar to my Facebook page banner for one exception… it has a picture in the place where book three, Resonance, will go. And yes, that picture is the beginning of the new cover. It’s not a hoax, or a stand in. The image you see will in fact be the background image for Resonance’s cover.

More elements will be added, to keep it in line with the design style of Harbinger and Suture, and when that happens, I’ll be posting the completed cover image here first.

In the meantime, here’s the beginnings of Book Three’s cover, as seen now on Twitter.

Book3-Cover

Video Game Poetry – Child of Light

More and more, video games become my source of entertainment and inspiration.

Particularly with the rise of Indie games and even large studios taking a chance on less “commercial” games. With the age of downloads, iTunes Stores, etc, companies seem far more willing to take a chance with more niche projects.

A game I recently learned about fitting this mold is Child of Light. It’s being produced by a smaller development team within Ubisoft called Ubi-Art.

I read somewhere (forgive me for not quoting, but I’ve lost the link) the developers wanted this game to be like playing through poetry. Check out the gameplay trailer below, and I think you’ll agree they succeeded.

 

Just watching this fills me with inspiration and makes me want to write fairy tales.

But don’t worry, Bleeding Worlds will be finished first 😉

This releases at the end of April. I’ll absolutely be buying it, and I’ll give you some thoughts.

What do you think? Look enticing, or not your thing?

Hyper Light Drifter – 8-bit Gaming with Modern Esthetics

Caught this video via IGN on YouTube. The game is called Hyper Light Drifter and evokes memories of the classic games on NES and SNES. I love the look of it and will fork over a couple of bucks to own it on my PS4.

It’s an Indie game that got its funding via KickStarter.

Check out the video below. If you’re a fan of anime, I think you’ll agree that the designers took some influence from the genre. I’m excited for this. I think it’s amazing that Indie games are starting to get the same freedom and wide availability that we Indie writers are enjoying.

You can currently pre-order the game for Mac/PC/Steam from their website

How Did Captain America Become the Most Pivotal Character in the Marvel Film Universe?

shield_of_captain_america-HDI’ve always been more of a Marvel fan.

In terms of Comics, Batman was the only DC character whose monthly issues I purchased regularly. On the other hand, I had numerous Marvel titles including the heavies, X-Men & Spiderman.

I never got into Captain America. To be honest, I always assumed he could never exist outside American patriotism. Since I wasn’t American, I wasn’t overly interested.

The first Captain American film was a surprise. An engaging every-man’s tale, it had all the things a movie needs to be decent; good directing, excellent casting, and a strong script. I admit it, I ate humble pie. Captain America’s tale was more than just American breast beating. It was a tale about a man who wanted to do the right thing, and when the opportunity came, he did the right thing.

Still, despite Marvel’s above average batting score on films, I had to wonder if Captain 1 had been a fluke.

Thor 2 dispelled some of those fears. After all, Thor seemed like even more of an unlikely film franchise, and I enjoyed both movies.

When the trailers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, I was excited. It looked thrilling, an action feast.

What I didn’t expect was it would prove to be the biggest game changer for the entire Marvel Film Universe. What I didn’t expect was a strong script that featured some amazing character moments and even elevated secondary character, Black Widow, to feature character material.

I don’t want to spoil it, though I suppose most fans have seen it already, but now that I see how this played out, it’s so obvious Captain America was the only character on screen who could’ve told this story. Only Cap, with his patriotism, fight for the truth attitude, could possibly make this work. It also helps that of the current Marvel roster, Cap is the most human. He lives on the government dime, he’s stuck in his past while trying to figure out his future. He’s strong, fearless, and a master using a shield, but take that away, he’s very human. Stark without the suit is still brilliant and wealthy, Banner can’t exorcise the Hulk, and Thor is…well, a demigod. Captain America is a man with principles, and while his abilities allowed for some stunning action and fight sequences, he still bled, he still bruised, and he still felt every betrayal.

Some reviews have compared this film to the espionage films from the Seventies. They’re not wrong. Despite the action sequences, which were stunning, this movie had a lot of exposition, a lot of plot and twists. And funny enough, it actually did what many amazing Indie comics have, and continue to do, which is act as social commentary. Captain America has a message, and it’s timely. It made me think about our world and current society. It gave me pause, because its ideas weren’t all that implausible.

Unlike  Thor 2 and Iron Man 3, this film didn’t feel like a stopover while waiting for Avengers 2. It felt vital and refreshing. It left the Marvel films, and especially the TV show Agents of SHIELD, in a different, and thrilling, place.

Comic Book movies have often fell into a paint-by-numbers rut. Hero meets girl, girl (and world) get in trouble, hero saves both, teaser for the next film, The End.

Captain American didn’t do that. It broke a few of those conventions. And I’m going to spoil this… MINOR SPOILER… Cap doesn’t end up with Black Widow. Which I thought for sure they would angle for. I mean, every DC movie would have. But Winter Soldier manages to avoid it plausibly.

Yes, I loved this movie. Because it was everything I would want a movie to be, comic book based or not.

The Marvel Universe has been greatly altered, and it all hinged on Captain America. It’s awesome.

And my humble pie continues to be delicious.

JR

Join My New Mailing List

1215930_14474450In an effort to stay better connected with my readers, I’ve created a mailing list.

Privacy

I’ve set up the list with MailChimp. They’ve been around for many years and comply with international standards on Spam, and Privacy, controls. Also, I am the one acting as list admin and the one sending out all the updates, so there aren’t any other hands involved with your contact information. Your email will never be sold or provided to any other parties.

And no worries on the volume of mail you’ll receive, the updates will only occur for big news items such as sales, new releases, or exclusives.

Which brings me to the next point…

Why Should I Sign Up?

Mailing list members will get the following benefits:

  • First news about new releases
  • An early heads-up on any book discounts, including exclusive discounts for list members.
  • Contests, including signed book giveaways, free ebooks, and more!
  • Previews on upcoming releases, including sample chapters.
  • Exclusive story content not available anywhere else.

If any of that sounds good to you, then use the widget to the right to sign up. I look forward to communicating with you!

Some Other Ways to Reach Me

In addition to the new mailing list, the Contact page now has a direct mailto link if you wish to send me an email, and it also has an address you can send snail mail to, if you still prefer to communicate that way.

Thanks everyone,

JR

Progress on Bleeding Worlds Book 3

Bleeding Worlds Book 3 - TeaserHi everyone.

I’m lousy at maintaining this blog. I often say that, but I’ve yet to find a cure.

That said, I think it’s important to keep you all up to date with The Bleeding Worlds and progress on Book Three, Resonance.

So, the short answer is, things are going slowly.

The longer answer is to say the book has become a victim of my failings as an author.

Failing number one is my inability to outline. I start with an idea, get excited about it, follow it down the rabbit hole, and reach about 15,000 or so words. And then I hit a wall. Not just writer’s block, no I could probably handle that. Instead, it’s the inescapable sense that I’ve taken a wrong path and the book no longer meets my vision.

The solution usually takes the form of a mass purge.

I start over.

The few things that survive do so in thought only, they require total rewrites.

The happy news is starting over always makes me happier with the book and, certainly in the case of Suture, delivers a superior story than the one I started with.

The second failing I have as an author is not being able to work through my moods. Those authors who attain true success sit down everyday, crank out their desired word count, and move ahead in their work, regardless of their mood. I’ve yet to master that skill.

When I’m depressed, words don’t flow.

When I feel overwhelmed, or tired, ideas don’t take shape.

And the worst part is the longer inactivity continues, the more depressed I get because I’m not making the progress I want.

I hoped Resonance would be nearing completion by this point.

It’s not even close. In many ways, it’s just starting to live again.

But I will not fail you, or myself. The story will be told. I will write the best book I am capable of, and The Bleeding Worlds will come to a conclusion.

This happened with Suture last year, and I was able to release the book in the first week of August. I think I’ll be a little earlier than that with Resonance, but I don’t realistically see it being released before July.

Which is still faster than a lot of authors release their novels, but I had hoped to improve my release times by now.

So there’s the update. I’m still writing, the new direction is a huge improvement over the first words I wrote, and the book will be out this summer. I hope you’ll hang in there and join me when that time comes.

Thanks for all the support,

JR