Hooray for Steam sales resulting in me having a copious number of games. Guess I'm already not adhering to my New Year resolutions to some degree but we shall see (I only got 14 games during this Steam sale - stay tuned for a post about them once the sale ends :)).
So why did I get this game? For one, it's really cheap at the moment, like "I'd buy that for a dollar!" cheap. Secondly, it's received mostly positive reviews on Steam and thirdly, it looks like the sort of game I could play with my daughter. So has it met my expectations so far after about 1-2 hours play time?
What I like
- Multiple paths to the end: There are multiple ways you can reach the final stage which does encourage replays since you'll want to experience the puzzles on different maps.
- You can draw your own stickman: The main highlight of the game which is just as well since it's in the game's title! You only have some rudimentary tools like some basic colours and a pencil, but you can let your imagination run wild in designing your stickman (or you can let your imagination wander in the gutter in the case of some players ;)
- Optional achievement-hunting activities: After playing games which force you to take the hard road whether you like it or not, it's good to find a game that strikes the right balance. You can focus on the main story and rush through the maps if you want, or you can choose to do some of the secondary puzzles or even all of them if you're that way inclined. It's your choice.
What I don't like
- Short: I'm already on the last level and it's only taken me an hour and a half. It's true that I didn't explore all the levels in the game and I didn't complete all the secondary puzzles (so this is probably a quicker than average run of the game) but it has to be mentioned.
- Don't seem to have same tools available for creating your stick-person-in-distress: One great aspect of the game is that you can design your friend/family member/significant other/favourite celebrity that is kidnapped by the game's villain but the bad news is you don't get the same tools as you do with designing your own stickman. In fact, you're only able to use one colour which is a bit of a bummer since what's the point of putting so much effort in your stickman if you can't do the same with the other?
- What's the target audience?: On first glance, this is a kid's game and for all intents and purposes it is. The game encourages exploration and using creativity to solve puzzles - it's even got a hints system which is a nice touch. However, the game seems too complex for younger kids as I even struggled at a couple of points deciding what to do (or maybe I'm just not as creative as a child :)).
- Easy to get stuck in the terrain: There have been a few times where I've been trying to run away from monsters only to get stuck in the terrain and die - really frustrating times let me tell you!
- Death results in restarting the entire level: That's right. If you die in this game (which is quite easy to do) you have to restart the entire level. Thankfully, the levels themselves don't take too long but it is annoying that there's not at least a checkpoint system once you've completed a task correctly. Maybe it would've been too difficult to implement in the case of this game but you'll end up having to repeat the same puzzles over and over if you're not too careful which means parts of the game become tedious.
- No indication if you've already failed a level once required path destroyed: This is the old Sierra adventure game trope where you get halfway through a game only to find out the reason you're stuck is because you forgot to pick up a certain item at the beginning or you've lost an item and you can never complete the game unless you restart again. While it's not quite as bad in Draw a Stickman there are times where I've ended up exploring the whole map only to the realise that the collapsed bridge I saw earlier needed to be intact in order for me to progress - oops.
- Ultimately gimmicky gameplay: The main problem with this game is that the ability to create tools in any shape or form might be amusing for awhile but in the interests of expediency you'll end up just drawing a line for just about everything since that's the quickest way of completing the puzzles. The game might work better as a mobile game (and it's on several platforms, even Windows Phone!).
VerdictIt's a fun game for a quick playthrough but I'm not sure if the game fares too well on the longevity front. Sure there's achievements to collect and several maps to explore but I can't see it amounting to more than a couple of hours of gameplay. Also, being able to draw your stickman is nice and the highlight of the game but drawing your tools is pretty much a gimmick which will lose its charm very quickly.
[ LINK: Official Draw a Stickman: EPIC website ]