During the hype of The Olympics, along with a whole hoard of sporting games, Stickman Super Athletics was released from developer. This low budget platformer allows anyone to try their hand at some of the most renown sporting events and the best thing is that it doesn’t matter how old you are nor does it matter if you have no natural sporting skill.
To begin with the idea of the game seemed very outdated, even when associated with The Olympics. Thankfully this isn’t the case and it’s actually quite enjoyable. Reminiscent of an old in-browser flash game, Stickman Super Athletics is a hit. Straight away the game urges you to do your best and to beat the in game world records. With events such as 100m Sprint, 110m Hurdles, Freestyle Swimming, Long Jump, 1km Cycling and more, Stickman Super Athletics lives up to its name by creating a sense of superiority at being able to do these events. The first set of levels start you off on the qualifying events of each sport, this helps the player gain a sense of perspective and a general idea of how the game plays, but also allowing them to have the valuable practice needed before trying to set your very own world records. Although there are only the two parts to this game – qualifying and competition events, Stickman Super Athletics is best used for a quick escape, or used as a filler when you don’t know what else to play.
The gameplay is reasonably enjoyable, although it isn’t very captivating for a long time, the idea and essence of the game is where it truly comes to life. The limited amount of story relies on the player having an interest in sports otherwise the entire game is pretty irrelevant, but it does give you the opportunity to become faster than Usain Bolt, even if that’s in digital format. It doesn’t quite breach into the third dimensions, but it plays in 2D spectacularly and has no effect on the gameplay in the slightest, in the end a DS can only do so much, playing is the really fun part.
The game’s mechanics depend on a healthy dose of accuracy and reaction times, which increase the more you play it, think of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training also on the DS, given time you’ll get better and better. Dependant on the event of your choosing, the associated accuracy based mini game is different, meaning that you have to have a slightly adaptive play style although in reality this isn’t too hard to accomplish, the most difficult aspect of this game is trying not to foul and even that doesn’t take too much concentration. But this may be a result of the game being rated at ages 3+, in a bid to make it more demographically available to a wider audience. Although unfortunately Stickman Super Athletics doesn’t have the same level of replay functions and after a healthy dose of playing; it’s ultimately boring due to the fact there isn’t much more to gain from it. But the smaller aspects to the game including its animations are the jewels in an otherwise dull crown, the way the players run is entertaining to say the least but the celebration animation is fantastically amusing to watch, but also gives you a sense of success.
To match the speed and pace of this game, it presents a creative and unusual music track to listen to whilst competing alongside the other nations in the world in a bid to be the best. The music is funky and upbeat and it’s a fantastic theme song to becoming a great athlete. The music helps the player focus on the job at hand and also assists the accuracy challenges as you can match the interaction with the beats of the music creating a brilliant atmosphere to play.
One excellent feature in this game is the multiplayer aspect. Although this is more of a competitive style of multiplayer as opposed to cooperative, it works really well. You compete for the best times over different events; these leaderboards are global and gives you the chance to compete against someone on literally the other side of the world. As I mentioned earlier the replay functions are limited but this adds a new dynamic to the entire game, giving you something to strive towards and, although the game is in essence quite basic, provides a real purpose for the game by competing against your close friends and being able to compare scores and gain literal world records to boast about.
Conclusively, this game is okay. It’s nothing special but it’s not terrible. It actually captures your attention the first couple of times that you play through it, they’ve taken the time and effort to animate the athletes smoothly and the global leaderboards were an unexpected surprise. Unfortunately its lacking in almost every other aspect: the game is short and relatively pointless, there are limited events to play and can result in rapid boredom. There’s no drawing into the narrative of the game, because there is none, sometimes whilst playing I feel more like a spectator than the player and that unfortunately really put me on the fence about this game. In the end, it’s a fun but enjoyably quick indie game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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