If there's one game that surely haunts the minds of '90s kids everywhere, it simply must be the glorious mass-murder simulator Lemmings.

Ostensibly about getting a huge number of creatures towards an exit by using a variety of tools, Lemmings often devolved more into discovering how many different ways you could off them all.

It's an oft forgotten classic, so it's a real pleasure to see the decidedly more minimalist affair Sticklings come along to keep the genre alive.

Death march

As the name suggests, Sticklings has you directing around a collection of bumbling stick figures as they try to make it safely to a magical portal.

To do this, you have to set some of them tasks and give them tools and boosts to help them push the others in a certain direction, or clear an obstacle in their path.

For example, you'll often need to set up Blockers, which stop other Sticklings from moving in their current direction, and force them to turn around and walk the other way.

You can also give them bombs, speed them up, make them jump high into the air, start setting up stairs, or just turn them into a living bomb and let them die to further your own agenda.

It's a small but well thought out set of skills, and it gives you just enough scope to make your own solutions to the game's puzzles, without overwhelming you in the process.

Stick to the plan

Each puzzle has been designed with one route in mind, and following that route will net you a gold star for finishing the level in a certain time.

And while there's joy to be found in working out the optimum route and getting the best time possible, half the fun of Sticklings comes in hashing together your own janky solution.

When you see your jerry-rigged, human Rube Goldberg machine come together to complete a level, you feel a true sense of pride in your nonsensical, sub-optimal choices.

That said, sometimes these bizarre contraptions you create will be down to pure confusion on what the heck you're supposed to do right.

With only one "right" way to do things, it's hard to argue that Sticklings is particularly elegant in its design, and really you just need to trial-and-error it until you finally figure out the solution.


It's frustrating, and not particularly clever, and leads to numerous retries and self-destructions as you realise that what you thought was a great plan has gone awry because you used a tool a fraction of a second too late, or some such.

But overall, Sticklings is a remarkably fun and hilarious game, with enough self-inflicted slapstick and neat solutions to keep you pushing through the levels.

It's annoying at times, and it never makes you feel all that clever, but once you get the lay of the land it's a game that will reward you with smiles and laughter.