Geckos are unique lizards that contain adhesive pads on the bottoms of their toes, allowing them to stick to virtually any surface. The team at Potion Games drew inspiration for the main mechanic of their title from these incredible creatures. By adding a variety of weapons and substituting robots for geckos, their idea for StickyBots was born.
StickyBots is an action platformer that incorporates shooting and wall-clinging to create a unique blend of gameplay. The game is currently in early access on Steam, so the single player content contains a first world, and part of an unfinished second world. The developers plan to launch the game with four full-fledged worlds. The general gameplay has you using momentum and a series of jumps to platform your way to the end of each short, self-contained level. Much of the game feels inspired by other precision platformers or splatformers such as Super Meat Boy and Celeste.
What makes this game different from the aforementioned titles is that there are enemies that appear throughout the level that you must either shoot or avoid before reaching the end. Different weapons and abilities can be used on certain levels, continually offering new challenges as you progress through the campaign. There is also an optional teddy bear collectible that generally requires some creative thinking to obtain, similar to the bandages in Super Meat Boy or the strawberries in Celeste. If you want to receive a full 100% score on each level, you’ll need to be at the top of your platforming game.
Graphically, StickyBots sticks to a fairly-limited color palette, opting for a simple 2D approach. However, the main character, Jellybot, is a neon-colored robot. Certain weapons, enemies, or hazards may stand out with bright colors–or flashes of light–that contrast well against the somewhat muted background colors. Because of this, it’s always easy to tell where your character is, which is important as the game can move very quickly at times. Defeating enemies often ends in a colorful burst of goo, a cloud of gas, or particle effects, all of which are very satisfying. StickyBots doesn’t take many chances when it comes to visuals, but the clean, refined look fits the simple gameplay.
The soundtrack accompanying the game includes a variety of futuristic, synth-based tracks. Most of the melodies are rather simple, and are reused across many of the levels, but none of them seemed to get in the way of the gameplay. Often times you are so focused on making a precise jump, or defeating an enemy, that the music seems to fade into the background.
The single player campaign currently feels like a giant tutorial, steadily teaching you the mechanics to prepare you for the main event–multiplayer matches. Since the game is in early access, matches can be difficult to find consistently, as there is not a bustling community for the game. There is, however, a Discord server where the main developer is available to answer questions and interact with players.
Multiplayer matches currently include a 5-on-5 game of Tetherball, which is a bit of capture the flag mixed with soccer. A ball will randomly spawn into the map and players must race to capture the ball, all while avoiding enemy fire. Once a player has possession of the ball, they must bring it to the enemy goal and throw it in. The premise is relatively simple, but gameplay quickly becomes chaotic as ten players navigate tight quarters, stick to walls and wield a variety of weapons.
One of the best parts of the multiplayer matches are the six different classes that can be picked up. Each class contains a unique weapon and set of abilities that differentiate them from the others. These kits will spawn randomly at each team’s starting area, and around sections of the map. Some classes give you the ability to glide through the air, while others may allow you to throw saw blades that bounce off the walls. Each class moves and feels different, which keeps gameplay unique. The only drawback to the multiplayer aspect of the game currently is the lack of any background music.
StickyBots delivers fast-paced, precision platforming that is easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple, and the game does a great job slowly layering in different elements as you progress through the single player campaign. The multiplayer matches lend for some chaotic gameplay with six different classes that can be swapped between on the fly.
As the game is currently in early access, much of the single player campaign is unfinished. Currently, there is about an hour’s worth of content between the first and partially-completed second world. There is also a relatively small community of players, so finding a match–let alone a full team–may prove difficult at this time.
StickyBots pays homage to indie game classic like Super Meat Boy and Celeste by offering difficult, precision-based platforming while adding enemies, weapons, and the ability to stick to walls into the mix. The final result is a game that will constantly have you on your toes, trying to clear levels as efficiently as possible. If you are able to get into a multiplayer match, you’ll encounter the insane culmination of all the game’s elements in a deathmatch-style soccer game that is sure to have your blood pumping. This is definitely a game to keep your eye on, as it will be interesting to see the final product when it’s finished.