Jul 11, 2013
So many of us cut our gaming teeth on scrolling beat em ups. You know, those games like Fighting Force that gave us the opportunity to graphically beat up hordes of violent thugs. There was usually the simplest of backstory, plenty of swinging limbs and even a weapon or two to procure.
Ultimate Stick Fight is in that same glorious vein. Jumps, kicks, punches and tons of people to practice them on.
And stick figures.
Part of what sets this game apart is the look; instead of regular-looking characters, we get souped up, colorful stick people. Interestingly enough, the developer does well with colorization, and is able to imbibe a good deal of character into the thin guys. The movements and animations were fairly life-like, but kept the whimsical nature that we expect in characters of this genre. When matched with the numerous, creatively diverse backgrounds, it makes a pretty compelling 2D visual feast.
The gameplay is fast and furious. The incorporated tutorial is brief, giving our protagonist (two choices) some purpose, which in this case, is to save the city from the “Man.” And the Man, as to be expected, has plenty of thugs to spare, and sends them in swarms. The first stages are basic and easy to understand, and this is helpful as it allows time to get used to the virtual controls that guide movement, jumping, kicking, punching, and holding. Additionally, there was a rechargeable bomb feature that helps with the large swarms down the line.
The enemy combatants basically try to do to me what I am trying to do to them: inflict enough damage to wipe out the life bar. Craftier opponents with different weapons start making an appearance as the game progresses, and it becomes clear that the in-game upgrade system is a key component. Successful level completions gives payouts in virtual currency, and this make-believe cash can be used to upgrade player attributes. Such upgrades make the game much easier to play, and the procurement of these can be expedited with real cash. Levels can be replayed for cash (or two increase the star score, as in Angry Birds) but the cash payouts are not as high as the initial go.
All in all, this game is a fun diversion, even if only because of the familiar genre and the unique visuals. This makes it appreciable across age generations.