“Draw a Stickman: Epic” came out in December 2013 for $4.99 on Steam, but regularly shows up during Steam sales for a deep discount so it’s likely you’ve looked at this game and wondered if it could be fun. It’s possible you’ve even got it sitting in your list of games waiting to be played when you bought it on a whim.
So how is “Draw a Stickman: Epic”? Will it be worth the $2 or so you dropped on it during that sale? Is it worth the $4.99 it regularly retails for?
The answer is it's worth it if you get it for the cheapest sales price possible. The concept for the game - draw a stickman and lead him through an adventure where you draw him tools to survive and escape puzzles - sounds like a solid concept. After all, it’s been working great for the “Scribblenauts” franchise.
“Draw a Stickman: Epic” completely fails in the execution where “Scribblenauts” succeeds.
The game advertises that you’ll be able to draw things in order to help your little stickman along the adventure. This is only partially true. The truth is, the game can’t tell what you’re drawing so it gives you magical pencils, each one catered to drawing a certain item. These pencils include fire, an axe, keys, clouds and a few others. If you draw an axe with the fire pencil the game will recognize that axe as fire. If you draw a stick figure with the axe pencil it will let you chop down a tree with that stick figure. Draw a picture of the Mona Lisa with a key pencil and it will function as a key.
The only key that has multiple functions is the rain cloud key which creates lightning or rain depending on how you draw it. The problem with this is that the game has trouble recognizing the difference and you're more likely to get rain than lightning when you need it.
Which just leads to the question, why do they even make you draw anything to begin with? It’s a time waster and that’s it. But that’s not the only way time is dragged out in “Draw a Stickman: Epic.”
The way items are used is also time consuming. Axes only last for three swings so in a room full of chests you’ll have to keep whipping out the magical axe pencil and drawing a line to use as your axe over and over. Need a key to rotate a robot around a room? That key also only lasts for three uses so you’ll have to waste time drawing up a new one to keep going with the puzzle.
This doesn’t make puzzles difficult or challenging; it just makes them tedious.
The art is supposed to be a stylistic choice, made to look like someone with the skill only to draw stick figures has created the world around you; however, this can begin to wear on you fairly quickly. Everything being in muted brown tones is monotonous and downright depressing when games like “Scribblenauts” took the same idea and used tons of color to give the simplistic drawings life and charm.
Background items have no animation at all, leading to a world that looks completely flat and dead. Only animals and enemies wander around the world with jerky, 90s style single frame animations.
All levels of the game can be completed in just a few hours. This includes unlocking every level, collecting all the puzzle pieces and collecting all the new colors you can redraw your stickman with.
All of these problems culminate into a game that is definitely not deserving of the title 'epic'. 2/5 stars. It's entertaining if you have nothing else to do and you got it in a Humble Bundle or on Steam sale, but other games with a similar premise are definitely more worthy of time.
If you're only using the game as a mobile game then it's boosted to a 3/5 as the game was clearly designed for casual, commuter play.
Try out the free demo from Amazon if you want to give it a go yourself.