Clutching At Straw
HIGH Getting all the totem pieces in a level.
LOW It’s unclear why I’m collecting totem pieces.
WTF Realizing the scarecrow has no scarecrow-related powers.
2D platformers seem like a fairly simple genre. They generally scroll from left to right, the player jumps and kills enemies, and usually collects coins (or similar items) and various bonuses along the way. This classic formula, as seen in classics like Super Mario Bros., might appear easy to reproduce, but — as several titles have proven — the magic that Nintendo conjured up in that title can’t simply be copied and pasted.
Stitchy follows lessons from that very same school of classic platformers — jump from platform to platform, dispose of enemies by jumping on their heads, collect coins for extra lives and get to the end of the level. Simple and straightforward. But is that actually all there is to it? Well, as surprising as it might be… in this case, yes. While simple mechanics may often works best, what’s on display in Stitchy will be far too basic for anyone who’s already got a few 2D platformers under their belt.
Starring a scarecrow as its protagonist, it would seem natural that the mechanics or the world would be adapted to play off of the ‘straw-like’ nature or characteristics of such, but there’s nothing of the sort here. Stitchy the scarecrow can double jump and stomp on the enemies, along with gliding while in mid-air, but there are no other powers to be unlocked in later levels and nothing that capitalizes on his status as a scarecrow.
Mechanically, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Stitchy‘s platforming and for the most part it controls fine, if perhaps a tad too floaty. Level design is also straightforward, with no underwater swimming levels or anything surprising. There is some slight variation via familiar minecart levels, but that’s the only change-up it offers.
The player can collect totem pieces which are awkwardly placed in each area, as a kind of self-imposed ‘bonus’ difficulty. Collecting most pieces in a world is supposed to unlock a bonus level, but I’ve never done it because, as I quickly found out, I just wasn’t interested in revisiting past levels.
Rushing through each level for a fast completion time also grants stars, up to a maximum of three, it is still unclear to me if these unlock anything since Stitchy is not keen on explaining the rules. However, with the repetitive nature of the enemies and the level designs lacking finesse, it won’t take long for boredom to set in.
Graphically, Polygoat’s title works on a 2.5D basis, featuring 3D graphics and 2D gameplay, and honestly it’s a pleasure to look at thanks to its colorful graphics and interesting backgrounds. Unfortunately, Stitchy in Tooki Trouble might look enticing but my feeling is that it might be a great starter for kids, but will end up being to basic and simple for anyone with even minimal experience in the platformer genre.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Polygoat. It is currently available on Nintendo Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on Switch. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E for everyone. As mentioned, I would definitely recommend it to a younger audience, since there is no violence, no sexual content or salty language.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game features no spoken dialogue nor are audio cues used to communicate enemies’ attacks. (See examples of text below.) The game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: The game’s controls are not remappable. Basically, it is a fairly simple control scheme with A as the Jump button and the B button for pounding the ground.
Years later, he got the idea that he was the most Sega-knowledgeable person in the world, so he opened a website in 1997, The Genesis Temple.
He's a sucker for great stories in gaming, he loves adventure and indie titles, but he never shies away from action and triple-A RPGs.
Damiano's been writing about videogames for 20 years, with no plans to stop. Say hi to him on Twitter at @damgentemp, or on his blog https://genesistemple.com (now dedicated to the history of video game design).