Princess Aurora, beloved child of light
Her father, the Duke, remarried
She caught a deadly chill, that very night
They thought her dead, her soul Reaper ferried.
T'was an evil slumber. No, she wasn't done
The sleeping beauty awoke in a forest, darker than night
A land without stars, moon nor sun
To return she must banish evil, and bring back the light.
So begins the story of Princess Aurora, who must find and restore the stolen sun, moon and stars, defeat the evil Queen of Umbra and find her way home to save her father before he dies from a broken heart.
Rendered in picturesque hand-drawn art and accompanied by soothing, if melancholic, music, the game sets the right mood for this dark fairy tale from the start.
The tale is told in literary splendour and every narrative is poetic, worthy of being remembered.
Desperate, the red-haired heroine quickly finds a friend in a magical blue firefly called Igniculus, which becomes her trusted companion.
Igniculus can light up dark places, fly through walls to reach impassable locations, as well as slow down enemy creatures in battle while providing cheerful chatter to the lost princess.
This is, in essence, a platformer. You control Aurora by using the left thumbstick; Igniculus, with the right.
You can have someone else control Igniculus, so that you can focus on Aurora, as you must search every nook and cranny of the land, use your wits to reach places which seem out of reach and battle dark creatures that stand in your way.
Once creatures are encountered, the screen changes to a turn-based battlefield where you use skills and spells to beat the enemy.
The combat system is surprisingly deep and you can recruit seven allies to aid your cause, including a jester with healing abilities, as well as a gnome wizard whose entire family has morphed into crows.
You can take three characters into battle, but you can have only two on the battlefield at any one time. The third acts as a reserve and can be swopped without any loss of combat turn. Each character has a multi-level skill tree which lets you customise characters as they level up into the warrior, mage or healer that you desire.
You will also come across many gems, or occuli, which you attach to your weapons and armour to enhance your battle prowess.
A sword with a ruby, for instance, adds fire damage, while a diamond increases your attack speed. Combine multiple gems to create new ones - ruby and emerald, for example, gets you citrine.
Most monsters are easy to kill, but boss fights can be tough and require planning and thinking to succeed.
Shooting balls of fire at pesky monsters while exploring the stunning watercolour backdrops of this fantasy world of Lemuria swept me off my feet and transported me back into the once-upon-a-time lands of my boyhood dreams.
Great for kids and adults alike, this game is a shining star.
Price: US$14.99 or S$19 (Xbox One - version tested, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PC)
Genre: RPG platformer
This article was first published on May 21, 2014.
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