Stickman: Legacy of War – Failed Nostalgia

Jul 16, 2017

Stickman Legacy of War is a mobile game that tries to do what many others attempt – to recreate some lost nostalgia of our collective youth, some gem of gaming lost to the years of high school.

While certainly a laudable goal, very few games manage to accurately capture the quality of many of those cheaply built, free games. Stickman Legacy of War sadly manages to fail in this regard, like so many of its predecessors. It tries to create a modern version of something great, but instead only manifests a pale imitation.

Attempting to bring the genre of civilization duel gameplay – the closest possible accurate name for such a niche genre – of our youths to 3D, Stickman Legacy of War incorporates additional lanes for your characters to move down; like in other game of its type, you make miners to generate gold, which you then use to fund troops to attack the enemy castle.

However, the addition of 3-D is confusing – it doesn’t feel clear where your soldiers are in relation to one another, nor whom they’re actually attacking at any time. Whenever troops start fighting it becomes just one giant clump of confusion and irritation. The lack of any kind of consistent lane or pathway means that your soldiers just sort of mill about in the general area, moving forwards imperceptivity while also somehow moving away. The reason so many of the same type of games used the 2D, single lane format is that it works spectacularly well. It forces all units down one single pathway, allowing the player to plan depending on the enemy’s moves, as well as being able to actually see what’s going on.

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Stickman Legacy of War feels like an experiment that doesn’t quite do anything well. The 3D element confounds the player into not being aware of what’s going on in the game. The gameplay is essentially the same as in other, free browser based games, yet somehow worse.

To make matters worse, the game AI is uncomfortably broken. The enemy will recruit soldiers that just stand there. Due to the invisible system of lanes that the player cannot perceive, enemy soldiers seem completely ignorant of the player’s own assaults. On multiple occasions, your armies will just walk right past the enemy so as to beat on the enemy castle like Arthur’s Company in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, bashing swords and arrows against stone fortifications, while the enemy stares blankly ahead.

Arthur’s Company in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, bashing swords and arrows against stone fortifications, while the enemy stares blankly ahead.

Were Stickman Legacy of war built around improving the gameplay from the original games, as well as making the lane system work, then the inclusion of 3D might have completely revitalized the niche genre. Instead, the game feels lackluster and exceedingly boring, not to mention flagrantly amateur – on level completion, a strangely distant-sounding announcer yells your awesomeness in a way that feels like a flash game from 2004.

Oddly enough, those flash games from 2004 are the original inspiration for Stickman Legacy of War. Not only that, but they do it far, far better.

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Available on Android and iOS.

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