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One of the most unique new shooters of 2024 is finally here

If you miss Hotline Miami, long for more Superhot, or have fond feelings for Killer7, 2024’s most unique new shooter, out now, is for you.

Childen of the Sun new Steam FPS game: A frightening masked figure from new Steam FPS game Children of the Sun

From Doom to Call of Duty, Half-Life to Grand Theft Auto, it’s the most common action in all of videogames, a banal, dispassionate input that we mostly execute without thinking. You point the gun. You shoot the gun. You kill whatever is on the screen. The Last of Us, Spec Ops The Line, and various others present moral challenges to this tradition, but it’s still almost always the same: you kill in videogames without really feeling anything either way. From Cult of the Lamb and Hotline Miami publisher Devolver Digital, and created by independent developer René Rother, a new shooter, and one of the most stylish and unique games of 2024 so far, makes every single bullet an involved exercise in planning and delivery. Available right now, this is a vicious, vivid variation on virtual slaughter.

Children of the Sun is part puzzle, part FPS game. You play a young, mask-wearing sniper whose parents died at the hands of the mysterious, eponymous cult. The titular Children of the Sun have expanded across a stylized, quasi-nightmarish version of the Deep South. They hang out in barns, go drinking and drift racing by the lake, and sip beer by the bayou while feeding the bodies of their enemies to alligators. You, by contrast, exist literally on the periphery. Like the disguised on-rails movement of Suda 51’s Killer7, you can only move in a fixed circle around your prey, observing them from a cold distance. Once you’ve tagged every soon-to-be corpse, that’s when things get wild.

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You crouch, pull down your mask, and lift your rifle to your shoulder. The first target is always the easiest, but from there, Children of the Sun introduces its unique twist on the act of killing. You don’t get to fire a second shot. Instead, you need to guide a single bullet from enemy to enemy, bouncing off foreheads, sternums, and shocked faces like some kind of blood-drenched leapfrog.

If you hit a solid surface, the combo is broken and you start over. But environmental soft spots like the gas tanks of cars or birds flying overhead can be used to shift your perspective if you can’t find anything cultist to kill. Later in the game, you can also bend bullets telepathically or, if you successfully nail certain body parts on your prey, reset your aim and take a follow-up shot.

The result is a cerebral, sometimes dizzying reimagination of the pattern of shooting and killing. Every time you aim, every time you pull the trigger, and every time you steer your molten lead lump towards another squishy body, you need to think. It puts you in mind of a calculating, obsessive murder, single-mindedly dedicated to exacting revenge. Available right now, if you want to try Children of the Sun, it’s right here.

Alternatively, take a look at some of the best new PC games, or look ahead to the rest of 2024 with the best upcoming PC games on their way to you.

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