Shadow frog? Shadow frog! Shadow frog puzzler Schim has a free demo you can play now

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The demo for puzzle game Schim, in which you play as a boy and his frog that only exists in the shadows, is out now on Steam. I’ve given it a whirl, and its pretty froggin’ delightful. The game has you progress through different scenes set in a chill, colorful townscape. You can switch at any time between boy and frog. The boy can go anywhere, but is frequently blocked by environmental puzzles. The frog has the means to solve such puzzles, by hopping between shadows naturally cast by the environment. They act like little inky puddles, and simply jumping from one to the other is a rare joy.

As someone who aspires to, but does not currently, possess the jumping skills of your average garden-variety shadow frog, I really enjoyed how sticky the jumping feels in Schim, although not so much that it feels automatic. It never drains the traditional freedoms of getting from point A to B, via very close bits of sky, of their juice. But it flows well enough so that it never really demands any sort of taxing precision. You just sort of plop about at your own pace. “I’d quite like to plop over there,” you think, and before you’ve had time to stress about it too much, there you have plopped. Plop your eyeballs at the tray-tray below:

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Here at the treehouse, we respect frogs. This goes double for frogs that have forsaken the light. Alice O (RPS in peace) first learned of Schim through #ScreenshotSaturday, taking every chance she could to fling more frog at your eyeballs. “I enjoy games offering worlds as little puzzleboxes full of moving pieces to track and figure out how they might interact with other moving parts,” she wrote of Schim. And yup, there’s certainly a touch of Hitman but cosy about it, similar to Untitled Goose Game. You can hop or just walk normally to Steam and to purchase Schim on the 18th of July. The free demo is available here.

Steam Next Fest 2024 doesn’t kick off properly until the 10th of June, but we’ve already got some lovely demos trickling in. You can keep up with all our coverage here.

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