[Editor's note (jay): Next up is a new guest reviewer, Xiao, and he offers his take on a brand-new melee-style shooter from XGen Studios. Note: The game contains graphic violence against other players (who play as stick figures), and therefore may not be appropriate for some age groups...]
You might know XGen Studios as the makers of Fishy, Motherload, Stick RPG and Defend Your Castle. Well, they have created another excellent Flash game, only this time it is a top-down shooter that features over-the-top multiplayer melee action in any browser. In Stick Arena, you take the role of a stick figure aiming to kill everyone else in sight to elevate yourself within the ranks.
Gameplay consists of basically running around until you can find some kind of a melee weapon, and then beating some poor stick to death with it. To do the most damage, however, you will need to find some kind of a gun to start killing everything in sight.
If you have ever played a game like this then you may already know the controls: [W], [A], [S], [D] to run, mouse to aim and shoot, [V] to walk—though I don't see a need for that—[T] to chat, and [shift] to view the leader board.
The game has an array of options including: 17 different maps, quality selector to suit the speed of your computer, chat with users, change the color of your cursor, toggle the blood from "On" to "Off" or "Savage", etc. There is a tutorial and, although it is short, it does explain pretty much everything you'll need to know.
The game seems to be well balanced between the melee weapons and guns. There are three of either kind of weapon. The three guns available are the Glock (A small pistol), The Shotgun, and the AK-47. The Glock enables you to be faster then the shotgun or AK, and while its shots are not as devastating, its rate of fire is higher and therefore a worthy weapon. The AK-47 shoots roughly 3 rounds every 1.5 seconds, however, it makes you much slower than usual, which leaves you open-target to any fast moving samurai sword wielders. The Shotgun is my personal favorite gun. With it, you will likely get a shot every 1.5 seconds, and it takes about three (3) shots to kill someone who has full health.
The melee weapons consist of a Samurai sword, which is very fast and powerful and can even take on AK's at close range, a baseball bat, which is slightly slower then the sword but packs more damage, and a Sledge Hammer, which can kills anyone with just one hit, and yet it makes you very slow moving and it has a slow rate-of-fire.
The graphics are excellent for a stick figure game and extremely polished. The character animations are smooth and believable, and the backgrounds are nicely detailed. At the end of each round the player is treated to well-produced cut scenes. Unfortunately the only game play mode available appears to be Deathmatch. The addition of an alternate mode would have been nice, such as mission-based combat of some kind. Another thing that would make a great addition would be the ability to change the color of your stick figure, attach bandannas, etc. However, this is a flash game and it still manages to be one of the best available of its kind.
The game allows you to play as a guest, or you could spend the 5 seconds it takes to register. Registering is free and it's worth it, because you'll be able to rank up. Ranking is dependant on how many kills you get. It's surprisingly action-packed, addictive and well made, so what are you waiting for? Click.