Stickbound is an interesting platformer that introduces a unique pole vaulting mechanic to the simple idea of running from one side of the screen to the other. You control Capt. Bloom (who will look familiar to fans of Gamenauts’ Spacebound) as you try to propel him, via stick, as far as you can through space while jumping across floating islands, asteroids, and the occasional hot dog or hamburger.
There are two game modes: Normal and Timed. Normal is an endless mode where you have three lives, and the goal is to see how far you can get before you run out. Earning 50 stars along the way earns you an extra life, while rocket pack and angel wing power-ups allow you to fly across great distances for short periods of time.
The Timed Mode plays the same, you’re just trying to get as far as you can in 30 seconds. Each mode has a separate online leaderboard. The controls are simple, but take some getting used to.You hold your finger to a specific spot, and that’s where Bloom will place his stick to push off from. The longer it’s held, the harder he’ll push off. At first, it doesn’t seem to be too precise, but it just takes some trial and error to figure out what’s best for getting around.
The charming graphics, animation and sound are really the standout in Stickbound. The space setting and floating islands definitely give off a Super Mario Galaxy vibe, as does the orchestrated score.
While Stickbound is fun in small doses, it’s not deep enough to warrant a lot of long playtime sessions. The two distance achievement modes are all the game offers for the time being, and while it’s fun to top your previous best, once you max out your skills there’s not much left to accomplish. The production design is top-notch; I only wish there was more to the game. Different levels designs, more power-ups or the ability to upgrade your stick would be nice. There are a five additional characters that get unlocked once you meet certain distance goals, but they don’t bring with them any new attributes or skills. At its bargain price, though, Stickbound is definitely worth a look as a fun time-waster.