Children of the Sun is an unhinged yet fun puzzle shooter that forces players to literally make every bullet count

While the overall vibe and narrative of Children of the Sun may not be for everyone, its tactical and challenging gameplay is perfect for more strategically-minded players.

Don't let the creepy vibe of Children of the Sun put you off--if you love puzzles, this game is for you. (Photo: René Rother, Devolver Digital)
Don't let the creepy vibe of Children of the Sun put you off--if you love puzzles, this game is for you. (Photo: René Rother, Devolver Digital)

I initially hesitated to give Children of the Sun a try, but after conversations with other indie game lovers, I realised there were certain intriguing aspects of it that caught my attention.

Children of the Sun presents itself as a blend of tactical third-person shooting and puzzles, yet the puzzle component takes precedence over traditional shooter elements.

It offers a unique experience akin to a supernatural sniper game, blending aspects of Hitman: Sniper Assassin with a touch of mystique reminiscent of a Seinfeld plot twist.

Despite its unconventional and somewhat eerie graphics, there's an underlying charm to the game's visual style. The protagonist, adorned with a clown mask, adds to the game's distinct (and very creepy) aesthetic, while the colour palette evokes imagery reminiscent of heat-sensing technology.

The narrative centres on a tale of vengeance, with our nameless protagonist, a young adolescent girl with a clown mask, driven by a desire to avenge her parents' murder at the hands of The Cult's sadistic leader.

Alongside her quest for retribution, she possesses paranormal abilities — and she kills to soothe the pain she feels.

However, the narrative lacks further depth, and how her killing spree was portrayed reminded me a bit of serial killers in media — a factor that almost deterred me from exploring the game further.

The game does little to allow players to feel sympathy for the protagonist, as she feels sensations that aren’t ordinary, such as feeling horny after killing a man. It felt like she was an unhinged teenager that needed therapy. A lot of therapy.

One shot, one kill

In Children of the Sun, gameplay revolves around meticulous planning and strategic execution. Essentially, players are tasked with orchestrating precise sniper shots to eliminate enemies within each level, with a single bullet allocated per target.

This limitation introduces a layer of complexity, necessitating careful consideration of actions. Strategic planning is paramount as players must analyze the environment and enemy placements to find the optimal path for eliminating all adversaries with a single shot.

Additionally, bullet control is crucial; unlike traditional shooters, where ammunition is plentiful, Children of the Sun forces players to make every bullet count, with no mid-flight trajectory alterations possible.

Environmental awareness is also key, as stray bullets hitting objects or exceeding the map's boundaries result in failure, necessitating level restarts. Sequential elimination adds further challenge, requiring forward thinking to ensure subsequent targets can be reached without running out of viable shooting angles.

Precision and timing are essential for success, with split-second decisions dictating victory or defeat. As players progress, levels become increasingly challenging, introducing new obstacles and enemy types that test their skills and adaptability.

However, the game's short length and limited replay value may leave some players wanting more once all puzzles are solved.

Despite this, Children of the Sun's clever puzzle mechanics and strategic depth offer a satisfying experience for puzzle enthusiasts willing to embrace its unique premise.

Overall, Children of the Sun caters to a specific audience — those who relish puzzle-solving challenges.

If you can overlook the game's eerie ambience and the protagonist's limited character development with an odd ending, and focus solely on its puzzle mechanics, you'll find it remarkably satisfying.

So, to those curious about the game, I offer a simple piece of advice: don't dismiss it without giving it a chance, yet don’t expect the best story out of it either.

Children of the Sun is available on Steam.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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