Stick Man Rescue Review—Bare
I absolutely have no problems with games which are graphically, um, underwhelming. I would choose gameplay a million times over graphics. Stick Man Rescue is one of those unimpressive-looking games that the Minis program offers. This game is a modern clone of Choplifter, and there’s nothing much added to the core gameplay of the classic game. There are additional hurdles, but nothing even sort of innovative. Of course, Stick Man Rescue has its own unique game art and soundtrack, or it would really be a total rip-off of copyright infringement levels.
Stick Man Rescue sticks, no pun intended, to TikGames’ forte. With the exception of Dr. Maybee and the Adventures of Scarygirl, this is a game studio which specializes in well done clones. And all of these clones are strict clones, as they don’t overhaul the entire core gameplay and only add rudimentary enhancements, most of which are rather superficial. Honestly, the “stickman” graphics do not impress me. Yeah, it reminds me of the stickman frenzy of the early 2000s a lot. However, those didn’t age well. Good thing the core gameplay remains amazing after several years of countless replications.
Stick Man Rescue is an action puzzler using 2D graphics that must have been developed using Powerpoint. If you already know how Choplifter and its subsequent clones play and absolutely dig them, buy this one immediately. As I was saying, and I feel like I’m already insane continuing to repeat this, this Mini is a perfect modern Choplifter clone, if you don’t mind the graphics. If you are not familiar with the gameplay, here it is: you control an aircraft (a futuristic helicopter without the blades, instead flying on some kind of boosters) and rescue stick men scattered all over the level. There are various obstacles, like burning trees, missiles and more. There are also vehicles and hostile stick men that hinder you from rescuing the friendly stick men. You can also pick up power-ups and ammunition.
You can control the aircraft with either the analog nub or the D-pad, and you shoot by pressing X. Pressing Triangle reveals an animated pointer showing you where the nearest stick men are. The shoulder buttons switch which direction the aircraft faces.
I won’t further talk about the gameplay, because I’d be spoiling the surprise the game throws at you, all due to the fact that Stick Man Rescue is too short a game; it offers around 30 levels. Granted, you can chase high scores (deaths and friendly and enemy kills, as well as rescues, are tallied each time you complete a level) as long as you want, but more levels could have helped the value for the money, given the price.
And oh, you can turn off the blood if it is too violent for you. It is also worth noting that Stick Man Rescue has that pen-and-paper doodle effect you see in Doodle Pool and Paper Wars. Both of those have magnificent art style that suits their in-game graphics well, which Stick Man Rescue fails to pull off.
Level design is superb, with levels that are challenging but manageable. Your scalp is safe, and you will remain sane playing the game. Stick Man Rescue feels exactly like Tiny Hawk, another great game with limited content. If these games had been released earlier in the Minis program, I could look past their lack of extra content. Unfortunately, tons of Minis now offer a lot for a cheap price.
Stick Man Rescue is a must-buy if you like games that you could play on the go while not really thinking about them. However, you should curb your expectations. This Mini isn’t that special (in the first place, it’s a clone), but it’s not waste of money either. You could always argue that there are lots of Minis that have thinner content, like The Impossible Game, but those games are original in a sense, while this one is not even pretending to be an original title.