SCHiM is a seriously interesting concept for a game | Hands-on preview

by on June 11, 2024

There are a huge number of reasons why I so often end up more excited about upcoming indie games than big budget AAA titles. Smaller teams are often able to work together better to create a more cohesive product, and without publishers pushing for features and a swift release it’s rare for an indie game to feel incomplete or rushed. More than any other reason though, I love that indie games are often just incredibly weird. I’m always going to be more excited to play something completely unique over something tried and tested, and it doesn’t get much more unique than hopping between shadows as a little frog called a SCHiM.

Now what is a schim l hear you ask, well that’s an interesting question. A schim is sort of the essence of an object, and it lives inside its shadow. Absolutely everything ranging from people and bikes to traffic cones has a schim, and they’re generally shown as frog-like creatures peeking out from the darkness. Losing your schim could lead to catastrophic consequences, so when that happens to a person in the opening of the game, this cannot stand. As the lost schim in question it’s up to you to reconnect with your person by jumping between shadows to catch them, but that’s easier said than done.


In early stages you’ll usually manage to find a fairly obvious path of bollard and fence shadows to follow to find your way to the goal, but you’ve got to be careful hopping between them. Landing outside of a shadow isn’t an instant death, but once you’re on a shadowless bit of ground you can only do tiny hops and after two of those you’ll be kicked back to earlier in the level. With a bit of practice, though, you’ll make most jumps with ease, as long as you’re following the right shadowy trail.

It won’t take more than a few minutes of hopping before you reach a dead end in a stage of SCHiM, and are shown that you can rotate the isometric view with the shoulder buttons. Flipping ninety degrees will often give you a new perspective and show new shadows you can use to get to your destination, and thanks to the handy “focus on the goal” button you’ll never get spun around and confused.

This is all fairly basic SCHiM gameplay though, and it doesn’t take too long for it to amp up. Perhaps you’ll only be able to make it across a park by using the action button to fling yourself off a springy sign. A busy road crossing might require you to jump into the shadows of pedestrians, or cyclists on their way to work, and you’ll need to switch from one to another to reach your destination. The stages of SCHiM feel alive with activity, and it makes exploring them via the shadows a real treat.


Of all the levels I was able to play in this preview build of SCHiM, my favourites were the night stages. When playing a game where shadows are key, making your way through a stage with less light is a hell of a challenge. Only by turning on streetlights will you make it through the darkness to your destination, and it’s a clever way to shake up the game.

SCHiM is a seriously interesting concept for a game, and combines platforming, exploration and puzzles to create a really intriguing experience. I’ve never played anything quite like this shadow hopping experience, and I can only imagine as the game progresses there will be more unique environments to make your way across to get back to your person.

SCHiM is coming to PC via Steam on July 18th. You can play a demo version here.