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Chambara's split-screen action sneaks onto PC

It actually works

It's notoriously difficult to surprise anyone when playing a first-person shooter in split-screen multiplayer, as they can simply peek at your portion of the screen, so how could a split-screen stealth FPS work? Released yesterday, Chambara attempts this using colours. Levels in the split-screen FPS are mostly stark black or white, see, and so are player characters - so you can hide in plain sight simply by being in front of scenery that's the same colour as you. With shuriken and with sword, players try to find and murder each other. I quite enjoyed the early version I played a little in 2016, so I'm keen to see how it's ended up.

It's a neat idea: one player is black (or one team - Chambara supports 1v1 and 2v2) and the other is white, while levels are mostly split starkly between black and white. You're trying to kill the others, stabbing them with your sword or hurling a shuriken to stun -- and, crucially, colour -- them. Standing in the right area, you're basically invisible - though of course your opponent can peep at your screen.

This can make for good sneaky fights but it's not also intense when people move quickly, flitting in and out of sight and up, silhouettes breaking against mixed backdrops. Blood trails leave coloured marks too, so the level gradually changes as murders happen.

I only played a little at an event early last year but I quite enjoyed it and would be curious to see how it develops as players learn the game.

Oh, and it has fun cosmetic options for your birdperson's hat, sword, and blood.

Chambara is out now for £4.67/€6.29/$6.29, including a launch discount. It's on Steam, Itch, and the Humble Store. It's made by Team OK, who initially released Chambara on PlayStation 4 last year.

The 2014 FPS Screencheat has a similar idea but goes further, making players outright invisible. Screencheating there isn't just encouraged, it's mandatory.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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