Children of the Sun – Vengeful Bullet

REVIEW – This is a very unusual game, because it wants to be both a third-person shooter and a puzzle game. This combination of the two extremes works, however, as it can be quite entertaining in the short time the player is bound to it, while the task (which involves eliminating the cult) becomes increasingly difficult.


However, its competitiveness may be hampered by the fact that replayability is mostly about getting as high as possible on the leaderboards, so if you’re not in the mood for that, you’re only tied down for a single playthrough of René Rother’s work.



One life, one… bullet


The story unfolds slowly, with a scene appearing every few stages, usually with still images to summarize what is happening. At first, you might not be sure that you can interpret what’s going on with the cavalcade of colors during the cutscenes, which can be a bit annoying in CotS (but outside of it, it’s not a problem). The goal of the game is to effectively use the one bullet at your disposal to kill cult members. This is aided by telekinesis, as we can control the path of the bullet, and it helps that when we take someone out, we can redirect it elsewhere. So it’s not going from point A to point B, but depending on the number of enemies, there will be several points where you can plan your next move. If the line breaks (the bullet doesn’t hit a target or misses), you’ll have to restart the stage. This will get more complicated later on because you’ll be able to adjust the speed and trajectory thanks to the expanding abilities, and the enemies will also get more complicated, either because they’re in a moving vehicle, or because you have to hit them at a certain speed, at a certain point because of their armor, or even because they’re hiding so it’s not so easy to hit them. It does help a little bit that even when you restart the stage, the enemies still have markers on them after you throw them… and then at the end of the game everything gets really hard, and this feature doesn’t help much either.

Towards the end, the church will be bubbling with cultists… or in other words, the cultists will be in bubbles. First you have to remove them, then you have to change the aim of the bullet and time the hit so that the bubble does not activate again. The difficulty is in the short window to do this, so if you don’t get the timing right, you have to restart the level (and usually it’s an enemy that causes this problem; so you can’t slow down and be more deliberate, because the game doesn’t allow much time to get a successful hit in). And because of this, you really have to plan carefully how to complete a particular stage, which can turn into a kind of perverted ballerina act that can be as exciting to watch as it is to perform. The whole thing can be risky in the sense that it can be overly annoying, but thankfully it doesn’t go overboard, so it’s just more of a challenge, nothing more. At least the game does that perfectly.



A typical revenge story with a unique twist


It’s not the story that will make CotS sell, because it’s all about the anonymous lady who wants to take revenge on the anonymous cult for crossing our protagonist (…or the protagonist’s bullet?). This could be the Achilles heel of the game, or maybe it’s that the length isn’t that outstanding. Even if you take it easy, the game shouldn’t take more than five hours to complete, and there’s a lot of replayability in it. Fortunately, the graphics are only overly colorful in certain scenes (something that Rage 2 or maybe the now defunct Hyper Scape could have done), but otherwise they’re quite good, as they do a good job of showing how out of this world it can be, going into slightly crazy tones.

It also makes it memorable, because you have to see it and experience it. The soundtrack also follows this bizarre yet unique style with its muted drones and almost orchestral industrial soundscape. CotS leaves us alone in the sense that we don’t know where our enemies are at first, and we have to forget about the map, but this can be a positive thing in the sense that it gives us room for experimentation, so we can approach the location in a different way (which could be as simple as a gas station) and thus perhaps also in a unique way to remove the cultists from the living. In time, there will be some more serious speedrun strategies, but it’s too early to see that now, just a few days after release.



Not your average puzzle


Children of the Sun fell short of an 8/10 rating because it can be chewed through relatively quickly, and not everyone is there for a second/Xth replay. It ends up with a 7.5, but it absolutely deserves it. Maybe the change between story and gameplay is too abrupt and bizarre, but apart from that, an atypical puzzle awaits you. This is what Superhot tried to do (but always in a first-person perspective), and it was successful.



+ Unusually exciting puzzle
+ Functional weirdness
+ The sound world


– Towards the end it will suddenly become difficult
– Not everyone will play through it several times
– The scenes are perhaps excessively colorful

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Developer: René Rother

Style: sniper puzzle

Release: April 9, 2024.

Children of the Sun

Gameplay - 7.7
Graphics - 7.3
Story - 5.6
Music/Audio - 8.4
Ambience - 8.5



A pleasing experience behind the bizarre visuals

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Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

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