I’ve never been a huge fan of point and click games, but some of them aren’t all that bad. And every once in awhile, something comes along that raises the bar just a little higher to make things interesting. Game developers Ripstone and Zoink have done just that with the point and click genre with their zany new game, Stick It to the Man.
The story follows our soon to be hero named Ray, who has taken a lot of hits to head thanks to him testing out hardhats for a living. One day as he’s walking outside, a strange container that fell from a military plane bonks him upside the head. When he comes to, he notices that a giant purple hand is beaming out of his head, which allows him to move things around in his 2D world and hear other people’s thoughts when he touches them with the hand. So what does Ray do with these crazy newfound powers? Help people by reading their innermost desires and trying to make them happen of course.
With his purple hand in tow, it’s up to you to help Ray help others by using problem solving skills to read people’s thoughts and then matching the appropriate stickers to them. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that by moving things around with his hand, I meant that you use it to move items that peel off like stickers that are littered all around the city. A nice bonus to the PS4 version is that you can use the touchpad to do this and make things a little easier. So say you meet a guy who wishes he had some nice teeth, you can roam around the place until you find someone with nice teeth, peel them off like a sticker, then carry it back to the guy who wanted them and stick them on him, hence the title of game. As you’ve probably gathered by now, this isn’t your average point and click (or stick) game, and you’ll find yourself jumping around on platforms trying to reach both people and the items they need to make them happy.
Of course things can’t be just as easy as that, as you’ll come across some people who are out to get Ray and his purple hand, such as the military for starters. So you’ll have to outrun and out-think them to survive. This can be done in numerous ways, such as sticking a copy of Ray’s face on another person so the baddies will chase them, and more. This is where the game gets really creative, as it forces you to really think outside the box to help people and outwit the bad guys. The graphics / artwork is one of the things that will capture your attention when playing, as everything looks like a tripped out cartoon. Anyone familiar with the 90’s cartoon Rocko’s Modern Life will feel right at home here, as there were times when I wondered if some of the people from that series worked on this. The animation is is nice and fluid and fits the game’s bizarre world perfectly.
And the dialogue is just as zany as the visuals, which is very witty and funny while sometimes throwing you for a loop with dark humor. A perfect example of this is going back to the teeth guy, who happens to be a cab driver who is about to hang himself because his lady dumped him for having nasty teeth. Thanks to some pretty spot on voice acting, the game’s humor really shines here and helps make helping others pretty fun and less of a chore than it is. But sometimes the game can be tedious, especially when the controls don’t feel as solid as they should be. Ray tends to move around a bit slippery / loose, making for some frustrating moments when jumping across platforms and trying to grab onto edges. Luckily there’s plenty of checkpoints for you to fall back on, so you’re always free to roam around and try things in different ways while never being punished for it. This in turn makes the game fun for anyone who is willing to give it a try, but may put off those who really want a challenge. The short game length (around five hours worth) may also be a breaker for some.
When all is said and done, Stick it to the Man is one of those games that may not win a lot of people over, but those who give it a chance will find themselves pleasantly surprised. While most may not care for the short length and less than challenging gameplay, there’s plenty of witty dark humor and problem solving puzzles all wrapped up in a zany looking package for anyone who’s willing to give Ray a “hand”.