StickWar 2 - Epic real-time strategy with tower defense aspects fought entirely by stick figures
Do Sticks Have Souls?
Let’s be honest, human battles are so the overdone thing recently, with most tower defense and strategy games having this tendency to be fought primarily with members of the human race, human wizards, and human-like creatures of twisted and terrifying appearance. If you take away most of the biological features of said humans and leave the simple skeletal structure, colour everything in silhouette, and give you the potential to create hundreds and hundreds of them, you have yourself a pretty nifty stickman army ready to once again fight for what is rightfully theirs: freedom within their own kingdom. Get yourself ready for strategic tower defense between two towers but on a grand scale. The loss of life will be colossal, but it’ all for a good cause, and I’m not even sure if stickmen possess souls, so it has to be ok. Doesn’t it?
The General Idea
Stick War 2 plays much like any other tower defense game, but on a more micro scale; instead of a grand piece of terrain and a path that must be guarded by placing towers, there are only two towers that oppose each other which are ready built, with your tower on the left and the enemies’ tower sitting on the right. They’re more like fortified castles, actually, but the point is that you must attempt to destroy and commandeer the statue of the enemy before they can get to yours. To do this , you produce troops inside the castle of different types such as miners, wizard-like figures, spearmen, and eventually giants that can crush the enemy with heavy boulders. Whichever side’s statue succumbs first is the loser. It’s all pretty simple really, but it doesn’t remain that way.
Training, Upgrading, and Medussa
Training and upgrading pretty much anything costs differing quantities of gold and mana, the former being mined at various points outside your castle, and the latter being attained through making your people pray by your statue. In the early stages, it’s all pretty easy and a tutorial guides you gently through the action, but the stronger and more numerous the enemy forces become, the more you are forced to balance your collection of resources, keep an eye on the individual health of your troops, and carefully select which type of troop you want to train. There are various structures in your castle that train the different kinds of troops; these can be upgraded to produce better troops as you go along. Basic swordsmen will suffice at the beginning, but when the enemies begin to pile on such troops as spearmen, and eventually Medussa (the final boss who can turn your troops to stone), and these require more highly-trained units in order to be beaten.
The main selling point of the game is the ability to upgrade your various swordsmen, spearmen, wizards, and giants etc., building a more powerful army as you progress. It can be fun to watch your army progress, but for me, the fun of the upgrades and the novelty of the stick figure aesthetic wore off extremely quickly, leaving behind nothing but repetitive and often mind-grinding stalemates that become a chore rather than a challenge for your strategic mind. I know that many fans of the series will disagree with me very strongly, but the phrase each to his own comes to mind, as does ‘this game isn’t all that special’.
The game will please existing fans, and it may even draw in some new ones on account of its unusual aesthetic and the moderately addictive upgrade system, but there are many superior games out there that allow you to upgrade and develop your army/towers. Moreover, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of idiot, so a game has to be absolutely incredible to grab my attention; mediocre or slightly-above-average offerings simply won’t do. Stick War 2: Fun for a while, but I’d rather be playing Kingdom Rush.