Children of the Sun offers one of the most challenging, satisfying levels of 2024 so far

In a yr already filled with terrific video games, Children of the Sun stands out as one thing really particular. Developed by René Rother, the psychedelic puzzle-shooter performs like a non secular mashup of Sniper Elite and Superhot by manner of the anarchic noise rock sensibilities of Suda51, dropping gamers in the function of a vengeful masked murderer on a one-woman warpath throughout a surreal model of the American South to kill the chief of a military of cultists.

The sport’s core idea is comparatively easy: You may have precisely one bullet that you should use to take down each enemy per degree. Fortuitously, your character is a robust telekinetic, permitting the participant to information the bullet mid-shot to ricochet between your targets like Yondu’s whistle-controlled arrow from Guardians of the Galaxy, carving a path of demise and destruction throughout every of its 26 levels as you search out your remaining goal.

The result’s a chaotic, viscerally participating expertise that incrementally grows tougher because it introduces new and extra ingenious strategies to your psychic arsenal. You’ll be able to sluggish the velocity of the bullet to bend the trajectory of your photographs in actual time or velocity them up, permitting you to pierce via closely armored foes at the expense of accuracy. You’ll be able to goal particular weak factors in your enemies’ our bodies to unlock the skill to re-aim your bullet mid-shot. You’ll be able to even shoot pigeons in midair to realize a extra advantageous, hen’s-eye view of the battlefield.

You’ll must depend on all of these maneuvers, in addition to improvise a couple of others on the fly, with a view to take down the cultists. Whereas every degree offers up its personal distinctive set of stunning challenges, Children of the Sun’s 18th degree, “Open Mic Night in Hell,” stands out as one of the most satisfying levels I’ve performed in any recreation this yr so far.

Picture: René Rother/Devolver Digital

The extent locations the participant on the outskirts of an workplace constructing advanced that’s been taken over by the cultists. To be able to full your mission, you’ll have to plan a approach to take out each member on the higher exterior flooring of the constructing, in addition to a gaggle of cultists internet hosting an impromptu live performance in the courtyard between two buildings. After managing to take out the cultists in the courtyard, I discovered myself at a loss as to how I used to be going to make it again to the exterior of the advanced to wipe out my remaining targets.

I attempted to goal the bullet over the constructing itself after which re-aim it to take out one of the exterior guards. I tried to wipe out the cultists on the exterior of the constructing earlier than working my manner inside, together with a number of different approaches from totally different vantage factors; every try was extra irritating than efficient.

After racking my mind, I lastly got here up with an answer. I would wish to redirect the bullet via an open hall to the exterior of the constructing, activate my skill to re-aim my shot in midair, make a full 180-degree flip to line the bullet up with one of the cultists, and speed up my shot to pierce via an armored cultist’s physique earlier than doing it once more.

A woman wearing a hoodie with the words “No Peace” embroidered on the back aiming a rifle at a cluster of burning houses in a forest.

Picture: René Rother/Devolver Digital

Stumbling throughout this system was nothing brief of a eureka second, ultimately changing into a daily trick in my private arsenal of strikes that helped me out in a pinch throughout the recreation’s latter half of challenges. Children of the Sun is full of these moments, however this one particularly felt like a breakthrough in how I approached the recreation by forcing me to take inventory of the powers at my disposal in addition to the structure of the terrain.

The sweetness of Children of the Sun is that this resolution is completely non-compulsory. There are just about dozens of totally different potentialities the participant can soak up approaching this exact same downside. The one commonality, nevertheless, is that, whichever manner you go about conducting your mission, the finish result’s going to be sick as hell.

Children of the Sun was launched April 9 on Home windows PC. The sport was reviewed utilizing a pre-release obtain code supplied by Devolver Digital. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought through affiliate hyperlinks. You could find extra details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.

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