Making a video game is probably one of the toughest things you can do. Making a video game about the difficulties of making the video game you're currently making? That's both difficult and super meta. Despite the hardship, Stikir takes an honest shot at this lofty goal and comes away with something weird and exciting because of it.
The plot consists of the developer's personal musings on video game creation. It's not really coherent or deep, rather it's mostly just some messages from the developer with their, often humorous, thoughts on making Stikir. It's bizarre and abstract, but that's the vibe that the whole game goes for. Considering that, it does a fantastic job of getting me in the mood.
Sticks the Landing
It's really tough to pin Stikir into any single genre. It wants to be everything and takes a shot at everything. The genres can change as rapidly as the "narrator" decides to try something different. At one point, it's a platformer, then it becomes a SHMUP, then it's a racing game before it becomes an adventure game. The game opens with the player choosing a protagonist that doesn't steal its art style too much from another game. Another section needs you to transport water to a coffee machine by solving a pipe puzzle. At one point I made friends with a giant crying deer so I could play pong. Most of the time, you’re playing a 2D platformer, but it doesn't particularly feel fair to try and pigeonhole Stikir into a single genre. Stikir is, well... Stikir.
Perhaps Stikir’s only real consistency lies in its various boss fights. Nearly every section ends with a battle against something that doesn't really fit in the world at all. One part sees you cut a hand off of an arm, only to have the arm try to crush you with nothing more than a boney nub. Another has you fight a dragon with a rocket launcher, neither of which seem to have any purpose in the overarching game, something the developer/narrator amusingly comments on. Some of these fights can be frustratingly difficult, but it's hard to be mad in the end. The absurd humor, the generous checkpoints, and the speedy respawn time really push you towards victory.
Stick It to the Man
Equally varied is the game's art, which feels like a bunch of different sprites and pictures in totally different styles with completely different qualities. The main character looks out of place next to the giant face constantly trying to force him to go outside. Neither of these looks similar to the car that hits the protagonist to convince him to stay indoors. It's a fun wacky touch, that gives the game a unique personality.
It's so hard to describe what makes Stikir click, thanks to its refusal to really stay on one idea for long. Maybe it's that slapdash nature that really makes the game work as well as it does. This is a bundle of thoughts, one that feels like a weird prototype for fifteen different games tied into a cohesive whole. Yet, with all the context provided, that manages to work out in such a simple and fantastic way. I say, give Stikir a shot. You may just learn a little more about game development along the way, all while punching a giant face.
TechRaptor played Stikir on PC using a copy provided by the developers.