Published on July 19th, 2015 | by Tyler Horst1
League of Stickman Review
In console gaming, certain titles get the somewhat derogatory distinction of being “button mashers.” These are also frequently referred to as your “hack-and-slash” fighting or action games, the ones in which the vast majority of the gameplay involves jamming your fingers on one or two different buttons to swing your character’s sword, fists, or whatever weapon they happen to carry to slice up hordes of bad guys. Android phones don’t have buttons, but they do have games like this. So, in order to review League of Stickman, I propose a new term. Let’s call games like this… “screen touchers.”
League of Stickman is a screen toucher that promises much but delivers little more than casual entertainment. It barely even has stickmen, and that’s right in the title. We can be thankful that the artwork is a little more sophisticated, though, as the game is pretty pleasing to look at. While the character designs are based on that most unlikely of internet action heroes, the stickman, they are embellished with armor, weaponry, and the like until you can’t tell that you are playing as the most rudimentary art form known to man. With dynamic, layered backgrounds and fluid animations, the game at least feels like a lot of work was put into it. The only problem is that all the hacking and slashing gets old, no matter how nice it looks.
The game has no story at all. League of Stickman is a straightforward side-scroller that doesn’t feel the need to explain to you why you are traipsing through two-dimensional fields to kill a bunch of monsters. You’re thrown right into the action, playing in a party of heroes with distinct weapons and abilities. The first is a big guy who wields a big sword, and the second one, which you unlock fairly quickly, wields a bow. It’s a nice balance, and being able to switch between controlling different characters helps relieve some of the monotony, but in the end there’s just not a whole lot to do. The reason League of Stickman is a “screen toucher” is because you can literally hold your thumb down on the attack icon and not lift it for an entire level. There are four special attacks per character, which help with especially dense groups of baddies, but aside from that combat is what you’d expect from a side-scrolling action game.
Without a story or any quests to provide structure, you just kind of slog through. You can upgrade your special moves and equip your heroes with the loot you plunder, but nothing happens to advance or alter the game experience in any way. You can unlock new heroes, but you need a lot of gems for that, and gems are painfully difficult to come across, so you’ll be stuck with the sword guy and the bow guy for a long time. But the game doesn’t request permission to make In-app Purchases for nothing, because of course you can get gems with real money, even though you already paid once for the game. Only ninety-nine cents, sure, but you paid nonetheless.
League of Stickman is fun. It’s just not fun for very long. Every level follows the same sequence: kill bad guys, advance, kill more bad guys, advance, kill boss, get loot. It might get you through a morning commute on public transportation, but it won’t keep hardcore gamers satisfied. At the very least, we can thank it for introducing a new word into gaming vernacular. That is, if “screen toucher” catches on.
Is it Hardcore?
Summary: Generic side-scroller provides good fun but stagnates very quickly.