Stick Fight: The Game is probably one of the most simple and straight-forward titles I've ever reviewed. In this physics-based fighting game, each player, represented by a stick figure, is dropped into an arena and battles to the death with an assortment of random weapons that fall from the sky. The controls are exceptionally simple for a fighting game; the only moves are run, jump, and attack. Players defeat each other by either dealing enough damage to score a kill or knocking each other off the screen. The moment that there is only one stick person left, the arena reconfigures itself and everyone respawns. Repeat.
Despite the simplicity of the game, Stick Fight kept my friends and I glued to our computers for several hours. A combination of three factors makes this seemingly shallow title so entertaining: level variety, unpredictability, fluidity.
- The level design in Stick Fight is the game's strongest feature. Each time the stage reshuffles, the players are thrown into another set of environmental hazards that can range from lava flows, to explosive barrels, to destructible ice platforms. There are probably about fifty different stage layouts and the key to victory is quickly figuring out how to use the environment to your advantage.
- Nothing in Stick Fight ever plays out exactly as you would expect. Sometimes just the right weapon lands at your feet to give you the upper hand. Th next thing you know, you're firing that weapon at your enemies and the absurdly strong recoil causes you to ricochet off a series of explosive barrels to your doom. Every once in awhile a brazen unarmed stick person can rush into a barrage of bullets and land a knock-out punch on a heavily armed foe. A few seconds later, a stray bullet might topple a stack of crates that crush the triumphant pugilist. Some guns fire angry snakes instead of bullets. Anything can happen in a bout of Stick Fight and it's hilarious.
- The flow from one match to the next is seamless. Bitter about that last round where your victory was snatched from you at the last second? In a few seconds, the next round will begin and you'll forget all about it! Each battle usually lasts no more than a few seconds and after a quick flash of text acknowledges the winner, the next round begins immediately.
Acknowledgement: I'm playing this game as part of #FightingGameMonth. This event is part of the Chic-Pixel blog's Community Game Along series. For more info, check out their post on this month's theme.