Stick Man Rescue (PSN, PSP) Review

Normally I’m known amongst us here at COG as more of a racing and shooter type of guy.  Lately it seems my calling has been helicopters and saving small dudes.  Today I’m taking a look at Stick Man Rescue from Tik Games.  The idea is painfully simple.  Save stick men from gruesome deaths and kill the bad guys.  All for the low price of $3.99.

Similar to the recently reviewed Choplifter HD, in Stick Man Rescue you pilot something akin to a Halo Pelican around the levels to pick up survivors.  I don’t think it’s a chopper so I’m just going to call it a ship.  Along the way you must navigate challenging topography and various bad guys.  These bad guys, which come in the form of blue stick men, attack in various ways.  Throughout the game’s thirty levels, these blue stick men will try and drop bombs on you, drive giant steamrollers over you, man tanks, send missiles, fire machine guns and even fly zeppelins in an effort to kill you and your fellow stick men.

Each level has a different amount of stick men you need to save.  There may be 10 stick men stranded in a level and you’ll be asked to save seven in order to unlock the next level.  As the levels progress the difficulty increases as there are more stick men to rescue and higher limits that you must achieve.  You are scored on a percentage of how many stick men you save.  Most of the early levels took me only a try or two before I was able to move on to the next level, and these same levels maybe took a couple of more tries to get 100%.  Things ramp up in later levels though.  I’ll admit I abandoned my quest for all perfect scores for the sake of a timely review.

Two things I really like about this game is that there is no time limit and no specific number of “lives”.  I really appreciate this as it adds to the casual nature of the game.  Dying isn’t without penalty though.  If your ship goes down with stick men on board they are dead too.  Otherwise, you just start over back at the base.  For those of you that are over the age of 35, Stick Men Rescue reminds me a lot of an old Commodore 64 game called Fort Apocalypse which I spent hours upon hours playing.  It’s not going to take more than a couple of hours to get through all of the levels in this game, and a $4.00 that is a pretty decent value.

While the game touts many different ways that your the stick man can die, you often miss them due to the extremely zoomed in view of the action.  Everything from your ship to the stick men themselves are pretty big onscreen and I found myself missing a lot of the action because of this.  You often end up hearing the carnage instead of seeing the gory detail itself.  While it is just stick men and comic book style blood, this probably isn’t a game you want younger kids playing.  There is a toggle to turn the blood off though.

The overall look to the game is simple.  We are talking about stick men here.  If “faux 8/16-bit” isn’t already a valid term it is now because that’s the phrase I would use to sum up Stick Man Rescue’s look.  The game goes for that pixelated look not in the way a game like Super Meat Boy does as it almost blurs some, but not all, object edges.  The result something that looks like it isn’t completely sure what it wants to be and isn’t anything that is going to leave a lasting impression.  That being said, I did play this game mostly on my PS3, and from what I understand, and the screenshots that our Editor-in-Chief showed me, the game does looks a bit different on the smaller PSP screen.  Playing on a 50 inch screen does ‘blow’ things up and take the visuals a bit down, but this game really is meant for gaming on the go on the PSP and it’s sharp screen.

With machine guns that sound like they’ve been sampled right out of The A-Team (not the bad movie but the killer TV show) and explosions from the original Battlestar Galactica, I quite enjoyed the sound.  It’s corny but it works.  There’s not much here in terms of a musical score, just one song, but that’s okay.  We’re taking about a $4.00 game here and the music has a sort of James Bond feel to it that I dug.

When it comes to downloadable games I find myself very mindful of the value I get for them.  I’ve been critical of other downloadable games for being too expensive for the experience they provide.  At the end of the day Stick Men Rescue is a fun little diversion.  It is by no means a perfect game, or even a great game, but it is something I had fun with for a couple of hours, and for $4.00 a couple hours of fun feels just about right.

The Good


The Bad