Review: Stick it to the Man
One night while walking home from work Ray is struck on the head and put into a coma. After a rather strange dream Ray wakes up to discover that there’s a giant pink spaghetti arm emerging from his head that only he can see. Not only that but Ray can not only read minds but also put thoughts into the heads of others. With Ray convinced he’s losing his own mind he quickly finds himself a wanted man and is forced into an adventure to save not only his girlfriend but also himself.
While there’s a few moments of brief platforming involved Stick it to the Man’s is all about using the spaghetti arm to solve puzzles and help out others. If you’re at all familiar with adventure games you’re going to feel right at home here. Using Ray’s new spaghetti arm you can read the minds of any NPC to hear an inner monologue or perhaps discover that there’s a problem that needs solved. Early in the game for instance there’s a man who is sorely depressed that his girl has left him for someone else. As you read the minds of others throughout the chapter you might discover some clues needed for various problems that people have and ultimately come across solutions. These solutions take the form of stickers. These stickers can be anything from shiny teeth to fire and all can be placed into the thoughts of another NPC. These stickers are the main form of solving puzzles and with the exception of one time are typically never combined to create a completely new sticker.
Ray can also use the spaghetti arm to latch onto thumb-tacks to pull himself towards areas he would normally be unable to jump to. These typically come in handy during areas where Ray will need to escape a handful of thugs. There’s a pretty simple stealth mechanic that involves creating decoys or forcing the thugs to think about sleep. It’s a clever use of Ray’s telepathic powers and makes for a fun little change of pace.
Stick it to the Man is split up across ten chapters taking you to all sorts of locations filled with a cast of very memorable characters. Ray, with the exception of his new found abilities of course, is a pretty average guy that lives in a world with people that are anything but average. This is a world that is made believable by a large cast of characters that all have their own problems, dreams, personalities, and fears. With each person you help throughout the game you witness a small little story of it’s own take place that really only spans a few lines of thought. While most characters only appear once there are a few times where you’ll see people from the beginning of the game show up a little later on. I genuinely enjoyed meeting all of the different characters in the game and laughed at many of the jokes. I think ultimately Stick it to the Man’s strength falls upon funny writing and underlying themes of unlikely pairs to just fits perfectly in this wacky world of paper and stickers.
The Vita version of Stick it to the Man won’t be out until December so at this time I can’t comment on what the game is like on that platform. I do plan to write up some thoughts on the Vita version upon release if there’s anything major that needs addressed. The PS3 version controls just fine with some minor annoyances when choosing what mind to read. (When multiple characters are standing close together it can be tough to be precise when choosing which mind to read.) That aside controlling the spaghetti arm feels natural. Stick it to the Man’s paper and sticker world looks great and fits perfectly within the game. On top of that the game features some fantastic voice acting and the main theme “Just Dropped In” couldn’t possibly be any more fitting.
In the coming week there’s going to be a lot of hype surrounding the launch of the PlayStation 4 and it might be easy to let a game like this slide by; don’t let that happen. From beginning to the very end I played Stick it to the Man with a smile on my face. Beyond the six hour story there’s not much in the form of replay-ability but I find myself wanting to immediately return to Ray’s world purely because I enjoy the characters so much. Ray’s journey is one you won’t want to miss out on.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Fun twist on adventure game puzzle solving
- Great writing and voice acting brings to life a variety of wacky characters
- Ray lives in a world that's fun to interact with.
- Paper and sticker world aesthetic blends well with the gameplay mechanics.
- Just Dropped In is the perfect choice for a theme song
- Short lite-stealth sequences were a fun change of pace
What I Dislike:
- In a few instances it can be difficult choosing a specific mind to read with the spaghetti arm.