Children of the Sun

Posted:  Apr 09, 2024
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
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SDHQ CONTENT SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Cloud Saves

Review

Children of the Sun was provided by Devolver Digital for review. Thank you!

During the last Steam Next Fest, I had a chance to play Children of the Sun, which almost immediately became one of my favorite games. It gave me Sniper Elite vibes, which I loved, and the visual contrast between enemies and the world, as well as the way the story was told, captivated me almost immediately. Now, the game has been released, and I can confidently say this is still a very worthwhile experience. Even if it is a little on the shorter side, I am happy to say I can highly recommend it.

At its core, Children of the Sun is a puzzle game. Your goal is to kill everyone on the map with one bullet from your Sniper Rifle, which you can change the direction of when you hit someone. You will run around each level, marking enemies and planning out which enemies you want to bring down in which order. As you complete levels, new mechanics will be added in, like changing bullet direction mid-air or speeding up the bullet to penetrate armor, and the puzzles start to get a bit harder.

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In general, I really enjoyed the gameplay. It feels a bit Sniper Elite-esque since you can only use a Sniper, and the camera angle follows the bullet similarly, but it doesn't have those X-Ray kills. I enjoyed figuring out the best way to kill all the enemies without the bullet flying into the unknown or hitting a wall. It can feel a little monotonous in the first few levels, but it picks up when you get into the new mechanics that can change the way the bullet moves while it's in the air. I loved the levels that had me shoot away from everyone, then slightly curve the bullet to aim for the enemy's head.

Children of the Sun's mechanics all work with each other especially well, adding new elements of strategy with each addition. As you get towards the end, you have to carefully think about which enemy to go after first, as some need more distance to pierce armor, while others may need a completely different angle to get around their riot shields. Completing levels while balancing all of this feels especially rewarding, and that's where I found the bulk of my enjoyment in the gameplay loop.

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But, when it comes to what really draws me in, it has to be the aesthetic. I love the way the developer has colored the world. They use gloomy, darker colors, with some bright reds here and there, to illustrate fire and blinding yellows to highlight lights and enemies. The contrast with the cult in the dark world, mixed with the scratchy sound, creates an extremely creepy atmosphere, which is reinforced continually by the story and how it's told.

Children of the Sun's story is quite intriguing, too. It follows a girl who is waging a war against a cult that is committing horrible atrocities in the name of their leader. It is told primarily through quick comic book-style cutscenes, but the way they are styled, along with how creepy the protagonist is, just highlights how unhinged it can be.

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Overall, it is a little bit on the shorter side. I was able to beat the game within 5 or 6 hours, and I didn't see a large reason to return, but I loved playing through the game for the first time. There are leaderboards for each level so you could play them to get a better score, but I otherwise didn't feel like going back in. But it's a really fun time, especially on the Steam Deck.

Children of the Sun - Steam Deck Performance

Children of the Sun is awesome to play on the Steam Deck, and it feels right at home there, but the performance was a spot I wish was a bit better. There aren't a lot of settings to change, but there are some levels that are sadly a bit too heavy to hit 60 FPS. On some levels, there was even a drop below 40 FPS. We can turn off volumetric lights to stick above 40, but in the end, it won't get higher than that. But with the type of game this is, it didn't hurt my experience.

You can set the framerate to 30 FPS to save a bit more on battery, but I didn't mind the drain for the smoother experience overall.

Accessibility

There aren't a lot of settings to change for Children of the Sun overall. You can change language, aim sensitivity, rumble, and volume sliders, but that's about it. I do recommend changing aim sensitivity a bit, since it feels a little too slow through a controller.

The game supports 16:10 resolutions, so there are no black bars on the top and bottom of the screen, and it has both gamepad and cloud saves. There are no HDR settings.

Conclusion

Children of the Sun is a fantastic puzzle game that is a joy to play through. The concept of taking a bullet and being able to manipulate it in different ways to kill all the enemies in the level is a lot of fun. There isn't a big reason to come back and replay it other than beating the leaderboards, but it's still a great time, regardless! I do wish it played a little better on the Steam Deck, but 40 FPS felt great, and that's all that matters to me!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Children of the Sun is a fantastic puzzle game that feels great on the Steam Deck, even if it lacks much replayability.

Content

Gameplay: 
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Graphics: 
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Story: 
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Sound: 
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Fun Factor: 
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Build Score

Performance: 
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VISUALS: 
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Stability: 
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Controls: 
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Battery: 
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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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