The Stickmen return in a 3D-like take on a classic game
Price: Free (Remove ads for $0.99/£0.79)
Size: 156 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Austrian developer Djinnworks has been steadily releasing its series of Stickmen games, beginning with simple representations of popular sports like basketball, ice hockey and soccer. However, they’ve now begun to turn their attention to other familiar games. In the latest release, Sticklings, the comparisons to retro PC and SNES game Lemmings is unavoidable, and almost certainly intentional.
The aim of this casual puzzler is to guide the Sticklings from a box, which they pop out of at regular intervals, into a glowing portal. You don’t always have to save all Sticklings, and some will have to be sacrificed for the wider cause. Some can be used to block other Sticklings from falling off the edge of platforms, or to throw bombs or self-explode to find their way through to the portal.
If you do nothing, very quickly the Sticklings will fall off the edge of the game’s platforms and you’ll lose the level.
Other ways to save them include building bridges. There’s a decent, but not overwhelming number of tools you can apply to Sticklings in order to save others, and the difficulty comes simply from the level design. The design is generally pretty simple – a couple of platforms, the odd blocks that can be blown up, and a few other bits and pieces, but the real challenge starts to become extremely tricky around the half-way point of the game’s 40 levels.
This is where the assembling of platforms, the number of them, and the need to place numerous sets of stairs or move objects adds up to a real challenge. It’s certainly good to see in a game like this. Similar titles all to often neglect to provide a really tough experience in later levels in favor of allowing more every day players to complete the game. However, Sticklings harks back to the time of computer games where completing the game isn’t always a given. On the other hand, it’s incredibly easy to pick up. As the adage goes, easy to pick up, hard to master.
In terms of design, it’s extremely simple and not particularly aesthetically groundbreaking, but the Sticklings themselves remain weirdly endearing and it’s great to see these characters feature in a new adventure. The game is also free to play, while removing ads costs just $0.99. But make no mistake, this is a tough title. In fact, the only real criticism we would have about this game is the time it takes to restart a level. If you find you’ve not saved enough Sticklings, or made a mistake and start again, you have to trigger the self destruction of the characters, which then counts down from five. Considering how challenging it gets later, a quicker way to restart would be far less disruptive to a game that is otherwise remarkably immersive.
In conclusion, Sticklings is great fun and caters to all skill levels – even better, it’s great value.
- Great characters
- Nice and simple realisation of the Lemmings aesthetic for mobile
- Decent ramping up of difficulty
- Needs quicker level restart
- Not much you can do if you get severely stuck