Review: Stick it to the Man
Ask people what super power they would like to have and I can imagine a lot of them would say that they’d love the ability to read minds. For any married folk out there, I’m sure you would agree that it would definitely come in handy on occasions! If you have ever had this fantasy then quirky puzzle platformer, Stick it to the Man by Zoink Games is definitely for you.
Stick it to the Man instantly grabs you as it has one of the most inventive openings to a videogame that I have seen in a long time. You are introduced to Ray, a slightly neurotic but lovable loser who is working on a building site testing hard hats; as you do! It quickly becomes apparent that the developers are going for a certain sense of humour throughout the game.
You start by taking control of Ray as he walks home from a busy day getting hit in the head by various objects. This may sound mundane and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the way it is presented is extremely clever and instantly put a smile on my face. The graphics have a paper effect which made it feel like I was walking around a gorgeous hand-crafted diorama. Cars and traffic appear in the foreground and background which adds real depth to the screen making it feel like you are looking at a 3D picture. This is even more apparent especially when viewed in handheld mode on the Nintendo Switch.
Before Ray reaches his front door, he is hit on the head by a U.F.O and wakes up with a pink spaghetti arm sticking out of the back of his head! Ray is naturally a little confused, especially as he now has the ability to read people’s minds and grab objects using his new extra appendage that only he can see! See, I told you that Stick it to the Man was quirky!
The aim of the game is not only to help Ray figure out what is going on, but also to help the various people you meet by solving their problems. Each character has their own distinct puzzle and the only way you can figure out how to help them is to read their minds. This leads to some very amusing and bizarre encounters with the myriad of people, animals and even inanimate objects that you meet.
Part of the beauty of Stick it to the Man is watching a scenario play out in front of you which initially makes little sense. It’s only when you start to read people’s minds that slowly everything comes together like a fantastic jigsaw puzzle!
It isn’t long before the authorities begin to take notice of Ray’s mind reading abilities and are intent on capturing him and whatever is going on inside his head. Despite being pursued there is no real punishment for getting caught or missing a jump as there are regular checkpoints. Ray isn’t completely helpless and can use his new spaghetti arm to grab objects and swing around the world.
The script is consistently sharp and there is some very funny and sometimes dark comedy which often made me smile. Although the humour is a little off the wall, thankfully it never strays into wacky territory which could have been distracting. The voice acting and music is also excellent which helps to bring the oddball characters to life.
Another neat touch is when you are reading someone’s mind, there is a subtle rumble in the Joy-Cons that really helped to give the impression that I was actually delving into someone’s psyche.
My only real criticism of the game is that the jumping felt a little floaty at times, but as it isn’t the main focus of the game it didn’t impact too much on my enjoyment.
I had a really great time with Stick it to the Man and was very entertained with the story and characters throughout. The puzzles are fairly straightforward but require enough thought to keep you engaged. If you haven’t tried this unique game before and own a Nintendo Switch, then now is the perfect time to jump into this fantastic game!
Stick it to the Man is available now on: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Steam (PC/Mac)
Thanks to Zoink Games for kindly supplying a review code.
Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With)