Let's get it out the way: Child of Light looks amazing.

But that's not a surprise. After all, the game was developed using UbiArt framework. That's the graphics engine behind Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, two gorgeously vibrant games which any self-respecting Vita owner will have already played.

If recent Rayman games are cartoons in game form - bright, zany, and lightning-paced - then Child of Light is more like a children's storybook. It's a world of muted watercolours, fantasy archetypes, and that uniquely sinister undertone which tempers so much children's fiction.

Sweet nightmares

You play as Aurora, a young girl who suffers from a severe chill, and ends up in a coma. Waking up in a fantasy realm known as Lemuria, she attempts to make sense of her surroundings and make her way home.

The game's keen to reinforce the idea that Aurora is just a child, and too young to really deal with the treacherous environments of Lemuria.

Finding herself stranded amongst this bizarre new landscape, the first thing she does is call for her Father - a stark reminder of her youth.

With childlike characters - even a bearded, gnome-like companion claims to be only 13 years old - and relentlessly rhyming storybook dialogue, Child of Light plays with the idea of fairytale storytelling, all the while weaving a coming-of-age tale.

It's initially charming to hear characters consistently quipping and communicating in verse, and it's a testament to the care and effort that's gone into Child of Light. It does get a little annoying after a couple of hours though.

Goodies and baddies

Aurora crosses paths with a host of quirky and diverse characters, who can be recruited to join your party of brave adventurers.

From the start you're accompanied by a friendly, floating orb called Igniculus. You control him using the right stick and use his powers to solve puzzles.

But there are plenty of other characters along the way, all willing to help you out in combat.

Personal favourites include Rubella, a jester who consistently fails to rhyme, and Robert, a love-sick, mouse-like creature who wants to prove himself as an adventurer.

War's no fairytale

The turn-based battling is fairly light, but it's consistently fun. Each party member has their own role to play, and you'll soon get to know their strengths and weaknesses.

Scraps work on a timeline system. Party members and enemies race for the opportunity to make the next move, frantically using everything at their disposal to quicken their pace, or to slow down enemies.

You can also interrupt an enemy mid-attack, which sets them back significantly on the timeline.

If your timing is good enough, you can essentially deny your enemy a turn, launching a barrage of attacks before they have the chance to recover.

When you master the timing, and learn to use Igniculus to slow down your enemies, it's a very satisfying feeling indeed.

Cover to cover

For an RPG, Child of Light is very short. Personally, I think that's brilliant. Imagine, a role-playing game that you can complete in 10 hours. Unlike many, it respects your time, and knows when to wrap things up.

However, its brevity does mean that some interesting elements are sadly short-lived. The platforming, which feels like a satisfying way to get around, is abandoned within the first hour when Aurora is granted the ability to fly.

But that's nitpicking really.

Child of Light is still just as gorgeous on a small screen as it was when it was released on consoles and PC, and it plays just as well on Vita.

This twee tale doesn't come entirely without frustration, but it's still a short and sweet RPG.