Published on October 12th, 2014 | by David Guild0
Review: Stick It To The Man!
Stick It To The Man! Is the next game under the ID@Xbox banner from the developers Zonk! Games and publisher Ripstone. I’ve had the title on Steam for a while now but never gave it a try until I was given a code for the Xbox One version by the lovely PR guys at Ripstone. At first glance I wasn’t too excited in playing the game as the art style isn’t my personal cup of tea, but you’ve always got to give a game a chance. So will Stick It to the Man! Change my mind? Let’s find out.
You play as a hard hat tester called Ray, who while on his way home has an alien object fall out of the sky and strike him on the head. Upon awaking he finds out he has a big spaghetti like pink arm growing out of his head, but that wasn’t all that Ray got. Using the arm, he has the ability to read the minds of others and also grab on to pins in the environment which allow him to reach places which are difficult to get to. He is also able to grab onto objects that will be needed to complete the puzzles.
Stick it to the Man! is a classic puzzle adventure game like Broken Sword, Simon the Sorcerer or maybe more like the Dizzy series. I say more like Dizzy because the other two games were point and click while Dizzy had the same principle but you moved the character with the joystick. To get further in the game you need to help others by completing tasks, the majority of the time you can get hints, the puzzle or even the puzzle item from reading the minds of folk. To give you a example of what I mean, near the start some nasty chaps are after you but reading the mind of one, you will find out that he is pretty exhausted and can go to sleep but is not able to, this will bring up a thought bubble and a ‘ZZZ’ sticker which you can grab and reapply to the chap which will put him under. That’s probably one of the easiest examples I could have given but some can become quite complex in where you need to do someone a favour to get another favour and so on before you can complete the original mission.
Another aspect of the game is stealth in some parts, as already mentioned they are some mean dudes looking for you and further on you will meet others who wish to stop you in your tracks. So you will need to learn their paths and habits and using the environment around you to get past them and like I said sometimes using world items can be of some help, especially the “ZZZ” sticker and decoy sticker.
Probably what makes this game worth playing is the humour of mind reading some poor soul’s head, some of the thoughts you hear can make you laugh out loud. The humour ranges from childish, to innuendos and then wait what was that? I didn’t find it all funny but it put a smile on my face and kept me playing. But due to a bug I had in the game which I’ll explain soon is that I sometimes had to speed up running through a level and what you could do is use the left analogue stick to speed up the talking so that that everyone sounds like a chipmunk voice, it brought some giggles.
As I mentioned before I just wasn’t keen on the art style and it reminded me of a mix between Ren & Stimpy and Paper Mario. The world looks like it is created from paper, the background of the game looks like it came from the local theatre company and that everyone was paper thin. Even when you die, the check point system is a “Me Copy” which works like an old photo copy system and splits out a duplicated you to carry on the task at hand. For myself the voice acting made up for the visuals as it was superbly done.
Before moving on to my final thoughts I should go over the problem I had with the game. I didn’t experience a lot of problems, just one single problem which made it hard for me to enjoy the game. When I completed a level, it would go to a cut scene to finish off the story for said level but then it would just go completely blank, I wasn’t able to do anything but it wasn’t like the system had crashed as I could go back to the dashboard or even pause the game but I just was unable to continue my gameplay. I experienced this problem on every level bar 2, so basically I was playing through the game twice and as much as I like to replay games this is one game that doesn’t need a 2nd play through as there is hardly anything missable in the game, as long as you go through and mind read every character you should get all the jokes. So the re-playability of the game really doesn’t exist so having to do all the same steps to complete the level twice in one sitting got boring quickly. Now I tried to do some research and it seems I’m a small percentage of unlucky few who has experienced this problem which I guess is the silver lining but for me it made the game such a grind.
So for my final thoughts. The game was a big surprise of a good kind and while I experience a very annoying problem and didn’t like the visual effects, it was still quite a blast to play such a bonkers game. While I didn’t catch every joke, I was still able to have a chuckle at the ones I did get and I’ve missed playing this genre which has been forgotten about in past years.
The game has a low price point which matches the game length and difficulty, as if everything goes well with your version of the game you should be able to finish the title within 5 to 8 hours with very little difficultly. The game does have some moments where you sit and scratch your head, trying to think what to do next but some trial and error will soon pay off to move on to the next challenge. So with the low price of £6.39 (the last time I checked) it makes for a great game to pick up and play over the period of a few days and even boost your achievements or trophies.
The game has already seen the light of PlayStation Plus so I predict this will be in the Games For Gold selection soon but that shouldn’t be a reason to not buy this game. I hate how it’s became fashionable to wait for unknown titles to become free. No one takes the risk on smaller games and give a wee support to the developer but this kind of rant is not best placed on a review.
Summary: Don't judge a book by its cover, while Stick it to the Man! doesn't look the best it will offer some small time enjoyment for a cheap price.