Schim: Preview on Linux (and Steam Deck)


Schim will be released this year in July (2024) and we have got access to a pre-release demo (which is apparently different from the public demo). The game has been in development for a fairly long time, and you can see it’s now very polished. It’s mostly developed by Ewoud van der Werf, who started working on Schim as a school project, until the scope expanded beyond that.

What is Schim about?

Schim has a simple concept: you control what used to be a frog, and what is now some kind of creature with large eyes, to jump from shadow to shadow, to reach certain places in each level. It could not be easier to grasp than that. The beginning is very easy as all the shadows form stepstones in a very obvious way. Then it gets a little more convoluted when you have to use the shadows of moving objects (such as cars, or people) to be able to reach certain places. The game is in 3D but is seen in an isometric view, that can rotate at 90 degrees angles so that you can observe your surroundings. The rotation is another trick to reveal more shadows that you did not notice in the first place that can help you find your path.

Finally, the little creature you control can do some small actions when next to an object, like kicking things. Useless most of the time, but useful when some devices are on the way and can be turned on or off to help creating new shadows or making existing ones become longer. For example, an electric unit can be switched on to turn on the lights on the street at night.

You don’t really die in the game. If you fail to jump on the next shadow for some reason, you have one more second to do a mini-jump in a different direction - sometimes it’s enough to reach another shadow. If you can’t, the game sends you back to one of the previous shadows you reached, usually not too far from where you were. You have unlimited retries. Pretty forgiving.

Looking good

The controls are very accurate, and allow for some slight margin of error (the shadows can be thin so the game is forgiving) which makes perfect sense for the end-user. Schim has a very distinctive visual style, with only few colors used in each level (usually in the same tones) that give it a very clean, solid style. One of the key advantages of this approach is to maximize contrast, to make the shadows very visible on screen. The rest of the world is made of buildings, moving people and objects, and while very few colors are used in the end, you can see that the 3D models are very good and precise.


While the demo only gives a short preview into that, the game has now a backstory where your little creature used to belong to a little boy, who grew up progressively to adulthood, until one day an accident makes the creature lose track of his person’s shadow and they become separated.

From there on, the creature is determined to find back its way to the person it ‘belonged’ to, and this is the motivation for the game to make you from point A to B in every level. Note that everything is told visually, without any kind of additional explanation - another great example of narration in games.

Perfect on the Steam Deck

Schim looks like it was made on the Steam Deck. Everything works perfectly and the controls are just right on that kind of device. We could see Schim being demoed on the Steam Deck back at the BitSummit 2023 in Kyoto (by Ewoud himself) so you can expect great Linux support from Day 1.

Release Date

It’s planned for July 18th 2024, which is just a day before the opening of the Bitsummit Drift 2024 in Kyoto (probably not a coincidence). I must admit that the backstory has me hooked to know more.

We will come back to talk about Schim once the full game rolls out. You can try out a demo of the game right now on the Steam page for Schim.