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Stickfight: The game: Brawling slapstick

Intro:

I made it a rule, to not review multiplayer focused games.  Granted I have done so in the past (Warframe and Rocket League for example),  but I normally avoid them due to the fact, that my opinion easily becomes outdated. 

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Too many boxes

As said previously, Warframe and Rocket League have changed drastically since I reviewed them in 2018.  But yet here I am, talking about a multiplayer focused brawler which (I won’t lie)  I love dearly.  Stickfight: The Game is one of most fun experiences I have played in recent times.

Story:

Stickfight tells a tale of Shakespearian tragedy, as multiple little stickmen battle for supremacy, ravelling the dark side of….just kidding.  There is no story to speak of.  Consequently,  let’s move on.

Gameplay:

There is an elegance in Stickfight’s simplistic controls, they are clunky (on propose but more on that later). But they are very enjoyable to use regardless. To clarify, I used the keyboard and mouse, the controller just was not for me.  You use the mouse to punch and block, WASD to move, jump and duck.  Like I said before, very simple, easy to learn and master.  The fun comes in what the game throws at you.   

The levels were madness

Stickfight offers 80 levels across five different tile sets.  Because the progression is randomised,  it works in Stickfight’s favour. Consequently keeping the game fresher, by reducing what could become repetitive. Moreover,  Stickfight keeps itself fresh by changing the rules in what happens per level .  The end goal is to be the last stickman standing.  How one gets to that end, is entirely up to the whims of the player and the level itself.

For example, some simply require the player to outlast the others. One such level would be the one where players are set on a conveyer belt that spews boxes at said players.  Instead of actively encouraging the players to kill each other,  Stickfight nudges the player to survive,  climbing over boxes to not get knocked into the death bit.  Another example would be where the floor simply disappears.  Your only recourse is to stay in the air longer then you opponents. 

Edit: The floor disappearing was in fact a result of internet lag, try to not play this game in South Africa or anywhere with an unstable internet connection.

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What could possibility go wrong?

There are a lot of levels that spice up, what could have been a very simple brawler. Consequently,  Stickfight is much more interesting than a lot of brawlers out there.  You are not only fighting other players, but often the environment itself.  The environment can screw you over in number of ways,  like getting blattered by a flying piece of the scenery,  or the floor disappearing at a critical moment, causing you to lose. Considering that Stickfight is not competitive at all, it is perfectly fine, I would even say that it enhances the overall experience. 

Shooting stickmen

There are guns in Stickfight, and like any suitably wacky title. They offer a wide range of serious and silly weapons. These include, but not limited to:  Glue guns, rocket launchers that fire snakes,  machine guns that fire snakes ,  gigantic machine guns and also lightsabers.  All the guns pack a fantastic punch, and are hilarious to use in more ways than one (more on that later).

  Plus, it’s just fun, watching your opponent getting eaten alive by snakes, who then come after you in an extremely funny instance of karma.  The guns can just as easily destroy the holder as it can the opponent. For instance, the glue gun can cause the shooter to get trapped in its sticky maw of death- just as easily as the poor victim.   Guns are enjoyably chaotic; they form an important aspect of both the challenge and the humour that make up Stickfight

Organic slapstick

The players are subjected to a wacky physic engine (Octodad Dadliest Catch), to which all their actions are governed.  As a result, the main flux of the challenge and comedy comes from simply navigating across the level.  Direct shotgun blasts send the stick figures flying across the screen, climbing a wall is a challenge in trying to get to the place before your opponent (who is either about to shoot/punch you).

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Yip.

Instead of being frustrating,  Stickfight makes the simple act of moving and platforming- not only funny, but challenging in its own right.  For example, swinging a sword is just easy enough to get the job done. But the risk of being mindless could see you tumbling stupidly into oblivion. 

The pringles analogy

Again, very similar to Rocket League, Stickfight’s matches are short with little to no penalty for leaving.  This makes Stickfight a fantastic party/lan game.  You drop in and out whenever you want, play as much as you fancy.  Consequently,  Stickfight doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.  It provides just enough variety to not become boring, as well it doesn’t force the players into long drawn out sessions.  It’s a pringle, delicious, fun and should be shared with as many people as possible. 

Graphics and art style:

Simple in look, but perfect in execution, Stickfight The Game puts basic 2d graphics to great use.  The striking use of colour makes this brawler, a joy to behold.  

Performance:

Perfect

Conclusion:

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Bugger.

I am very strict with what gets into both the Hall of Fame and Infamy.  A number of games including Outlast,  Bioshock Remastered,  Until Dawn and Blair Witch, all failed to get in, despite being outstanding titles.  On the other hand titles like Walden and the Warewolf,  16bit Trader and  Sleeping Valley were all bad, but not bad enough for Infamy.  I want to insure that the Halls remain special  (restricting the winners and losers to five).  That is why I am happy to make Sickfight: The Game the third entry into this Year’s Hall of Fame.  Grab it with some friends and enjoy a couple of nights of laugher, and punching the snot out of each other.  

Edit: 2020/04/07: Misinformation fixed.

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