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Android App Review: Stick Fighter

12 Aug 2013

I’d love to make cartoons but I’m lazy. I wouldn’t say I love my phone but I do love it when it makes difficult things easier.

So if there was an app that let me make basic animations on my phone, that’d be great. Right?

Yeah, it would. But unfortunately Stick Fighter just isn’t quite it.

While the idea is sound – make key-frame animations out of a set of premade objects, right there on your phone – Stick Fighter doesn’t realise the idea all that well. The controls are cumbersome and imprecise, the shapes provided are limited, and some of the tools are set up in slightly odd and at times counter-intuitive ways.

When you start having multiple objects close together on screen it becomes difficult to select the right one or to move it in the way you want.

This can lead to frustration as you repeatedly try to move a character’s arm, but all you can manage is to rotate the table next to him. If you were using the app on a tablet rather than a phone then the increased screen size would definitely help, but even then I think you might run into problems.

These difficulties mean Stick Fighter isn’t useful enough to really use productively (it’s worth noting that when I looked up ‘Stick Fighter’ in YouTube, none of the results on the first page appeared to have been made in this app), but it’s not really fun enough to be a silly time waster either.

If I’m going to give an app my time I want to achieve something or enjoy myself, and neither of those happened with Stick Fighter.

Once you’ve made your animation, such as it is, Stick Fighter lets you save it as a video file. It gives you the option of choosing what resolution to save it at, which I think is a nice feature.

Once it’s saved it also lets you ‘share with other users’, by which they mean email it to someone else who has Stick Fighter so they can watch your movie through the app.

This seems a bit unnecessary to me seeing as you’ve just saved it as a video that can be watched by anyone, but I guess they want to encourage use of the app whenever possible.

This app isn’t awful (and it’s free, so I guess I shouldn’t be too critical), but ultimately Stick Fighter feels too limited if you want to really get into animation.

And if you’re a kid or a novice who just wants something fun and basic, then in my opinion you’d be better off making flip-books with good old-fashioned pens and paper.

There may be some great animation apps out there (and I’m certainly going to keep looking), but until I find them you might as well go draw your own stick fighters.

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