About the Games

Sift Heads World Act 1Sift Heads World Act 1 game

Tired of shooters that just aren’t first-person enough for you? Gameplay of the sort found in Sift Heads World Act 1 is a rarity in the world of flash, but won’t you just look at what it has in store for you: shooting, guns, crosshair-based aiming, and the chance to navigate cities across the world to fulfil your mission, which just so happens to be packed with amounts of action that border on the immense.

Play Sift Heads World Act 1

Sift Heads World Act 2 Sift Heads World Act 2 game

Your average shooter can barely turn heads, let alone get someone to play it from beginning to end without question or complaint. Thankfully, Sift Heads World Act 2 is so above average it can’t even see its letters, or even the sentence it’s mentioned in. Resume control of your own choice of three characters as you shoot enemies and solve some mild mysteries in a first-person fashion in one of the best flash-based shooters to exist. Ever.

Play Sift Heads World Act 2

An entire genre of quirky games featuring the simplistic animation of stick figures is on the rise. A notable contributor to this craze is the Sift Heads games involving stickman shooting and action. The original series of five games has led to a following of "shoot-'em-up" games, but none beat the original. The series is the brainchild of Chris Martin and his studio Pyrozen and each game is widely available for free online play. A new series has also been brought out of late called Sift Heads World.

The series centers on Vinnie, a Chicagoan bounty hunter with an exceptionally keen eye for sniping. Along the way, Vinnie proves himself to be more than your run of the mill assassin (if there is such a thing). Vinnie is out to get the bad guys and clean up the streets. Along with a few helpful characters along the way, Vinnie encounters many crooks out to run illegal operations from right under his nose. His mission, if you choose to accept it, is to stop the bad guys in their tracks the best way he knows how, sifting heads.

Sift Heads 1 is the beginning of the entire saga (if you do not count a small diversion in Sift Heads Zero, where we get to fight as baby Vinnie) and follows Vinnie through six missions. Each mission has a remarkably straightforward premise and is presented to the player via a static screen with the mission name, objective, and payoff price. Each objective screen also has a handy hint to help players get a better idea of what they are searching for. Since every character is a stick man, it can sometimes be exceedingly tough to tell which person is the target. Taking down innocent pedestrians counts as a Failed Mission, and Vinnie has to go back and retry the mission if this is the case. Ammunition is not purchased in the game, and hitting the "R" button on the keyboard reloads Vinnie's gun.

In Sift Heads 2, it is clear from the opening scene that the animators have been developing the sift head game a lot more, as Vinnie's impressive car makes a tremendous entrance. A new aspect of game play is added, and this is using the keyboard. In Sift Heads 1 game, there was no reason to use the keyboard except to reload, in Sift Heads 2, the first, fifth, and eleventh missions incorporate the use of the arrow keys. A circle with an arrow appears on the screen and the player presses that corresponding arrow key. Not rocket science, but nevertheless a new aspect. A map-style menu depicts a point-of-contact for missions, a gun shop for the purchase of six different weapons, and a main menu option. The cars, drawn by "Jo the Luck" are one of the best new aspects of the game. While in the first game, there was the occasional Hummer and such, Sift Head 2 brings a bunch of nifty sports cars with meticulous detail in to entertain the eye, making not only the plot videos more appealing, but the shoot outs, as well.

Sift Head 3 is an entirely different game, all together. The game starts out with a neat little video credit-roll and an opening scene that looks majorly updated. Players are prompted to choose their difficulty, unlike in 1 & 2, where it was still an option, accessed through the options. This may be a reliable indicator that this game is not like the predecessors and that maybe choosing "easy" for the first few tries is a brilliant idea. There is little shooting in this game. The first Chapter (of 5) works as a short tutorial while following the storyline. Players move across the screen using the keyboard (W, A, S, and D). In addition, Vinnie stabs (sometimes shooting is an option, but it not a rule) his opponents with the left-click of the mouse. This incorporates an entirely new technique to the series and at first may be a little difficult to get used to, however, with a bit of time you will pick it up. In addition, there are a few times where there are similar scenarios to Sift Heads 2, where players hit the arrow buttons when prompted, in short cut scene videos.

Sift Heads 4 offers a new aspect in the way of organization. Vinnie and his lady, Shorty are off on an international working vacation. The main objective menu is viewed as a globe with red markers indicating different missions in different countries. Each red marker houses between one and three missions for a total of twenty altogether, when all is said and done. The new option of skipping around the board is introduced in this game, and players can choose any mission they like, as long as they are unlocked. Before each mission, Vinnie will visit the arsenal of weapons, where he can select or purchase a weapon providing he has the money for them. However, Vinnie must only pick two of his weapons to take along with him on each mission. A nice bonus in the weapon area is a stats indicator which tells you the precision and noise levels of each weapon. This allows you to make an informed decision in relation to the mission at hand. During the mission, there is a drop down menu where players can choose to have the objectives for that mission displayed in the upper left-hand corner of the screen; this is a tremendously helpful tool. With more adventurous artwork than before, including exotic locations and a welcome splash of color, this fourth installment has evolved graphically.

The final chapter in the Sift Heads games saga is 5. Sift Heads 5 is a return to Chicago for Vinnie. Vinnie's objectives are found through interaction with other characters and, though there are 20 missions, only ten are critical to the story and 10 are monetary missions. These levels can be done in any order, as long as they are unlocked. Online walkthroughs allow the player to get a precise strategy, and Sift Heads 5 has a lot of resources for assistance. Vinnie's car takes him to various locations, this time viewed as a map of the town. The animation for the main game play is standard, but the storyline animation and videos are even more detailed than the rest of the games.

The evolution of the series is evident here and is an excellent place to leave the series and pick up at Sift Heads World, the next chapters in Vinnie's career. The progression of artistry, story lines, and layout is evident and moves in the right direction throughout the series. Sift Heads games are a fun series, and it is worth playing all five to feel part of the game. We can clearly see that much of the series has taken inspiration from the early stickmen animations by Zhu Zhiqiang which have been hosted on Newgrounds since the portal's inception.