Stick It to the Man Review: Head Trip
Kalvin Martinez / Dec 7th, 2017 No Comments
One of the most interesting aspects of the Nintendo Switch is how easily it has allowed gamers to re-visit games that released earlier this console cycle or try them for the first time. Somehow, being able to play at home or on-the-go re-invigorates a desire to try out games like Stick It to the Man.
Stick It to the Man truly deserves to be played, if you haven’t yet experienced it. It is one of those rare adventure games that marries strong, engaging gameplay with a story that is as memorable as it is funny.
Sometimes a Cigar is an Alien
Ray was an Ordinary Joe. He worked a normal job testing out hard hat efficacy and lived with his girlfriend in their shared apartment. A regular life with no frills. That was until an accident interrupted his average existence.
By happenstance, a military plane flying over the city was struck by lightning and ripped apart. Its dangerous, top-secret cargo fell out of the sky. In an ironic twist of fate, the cargo fell directly onto Ray’s head, changing his life forever.
When he woke up from the terrible bump on his head, he discovered some disturbing things, like a giant, pink spaghetti arm coming out of his head and the ability to read people’s minds.
Fearing he was going crazy, Ray tried to find help, but shady forces begin mobilizing to retrieve the cargo that fell from the plane. Before he can figure out what’s has happened, he finds himself mixed up in a series of misunderstandings where his life is in danger, he is wanted for a crime he didn’t commit, and needs to escape many precarious situations. How Ray gets himself out of this disaster scenario will leave you guessing until the end.
Stick It to the Man is one of the funniest games in a long time. From its tone and voice (aided by a strong jazz soundtrack and wonderful voice acting) to its dialogue and characters, the humor hits every time. Since so much of the humor is driven by the characters and the absurdity of the world and plot, the jokes never feel forced. It is easy to muck up humor in a video game, but Stick It to the Man nails it with a deft hand.
While humor pervades every facet of the story, Stick It to the Man is a strong noir adventure. There is a claustrophobia to the world. Every place Ray goes feels boxed in and seems like it is trying to trap him. Even when he tires to escape somewhere, he is only moving onto a new cage. The mysterious bad guys and goons constantly trying to nab Ray and his running narration all help create the perfect noir tone that is both oppressive and inept.
ESP and Stickers
If you’ve played any point-and-click adventure game, Stick It to the Man’s gameplay will be immediately familiar. It is built heavily around solving puzzles by finding items in the environment. The game also has some light platforming elements, which at times can be puzzles themselves. Puzzles are clever, have heavy story implications, and solving them feels like an accomplishment.
While some items are found laying around, many of the clues you need to solve puzzles require more creative methods to gain. This comes largely in the form of Ray’s giant, pink spaghetti arm coming out of his head. Ray has the ability to use this arm to grab items, grab platforms and read minds.
Many items are hidden at first, but thanks to Ray’s handy spaghetti arm, you can read minds to conjure stickers from people’s consciousness, pluck them out of their heads, and use them to solve puzzles.
This unique mechanic you’ll need both the items readily available to you and conjured up ones to affect change in an environment. At times, the game requires you to conjure up specific thoughts in people’s minds to advance. You can achieve this by using found items to cause and your spaghetti arm to cause change in a person’s thoughts.
One chapter specifically uses this method heavily. It is when Ray is on the lamb and trying to make it back home. The only road home is blocked and the only one who can get through is a famous songstress. Ray has to utilize items in the environment and from people’s minds to figure out a way to make it through that blockade and get home. Discovering the solution to this quandary is what makes Stick It to the Man such a cool experience.
Stick It to the Man is a raucous adventure that’ll have you laughing loudly and often. The balance between comedy and noir is a tough line to ride, but Stick It to the Man does it deftly. It is an exemplary successor to the point-and-click genre with shades of Tim Schafer throughout.
If you haven’t gotten around to playing Stick It to the Man, you owe it to yourself to play it soon.
Stick It to the Man was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a code provided by the developer
tags: review , Stick it to The Man , Stick It to the Man game , stick it to the man review