Nantenjex reviews the Nintendo Switch version of Stick it to the Man.
Release date: Out Now
Systems: Nintendo Switch, Steam, Wii U, 3DS, PSVita, PS4, PS3, MacOS and Xbox One
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We want to give special thanks to Zoink Games for sending us a copy of this game to review.
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If you’re interested, here’s the script that was made to record this video.
Before I dive into this review I want to give special thanks to the guys over at Zoink Games for providing us with a review copy of this game. I hope it does them well.
Classic adventure games aren’t as common as they once were. The days of Monkey Island and Leisure Suit Larry are behind us in the mainstream, with only the Telltale Games trying to fill in the hole. Over on the indie scene however the genre seems to be alive and thriving, with developers finding new ways to reinvent the formula. Zoink Games’ Stick it to the Man is one such game, that attempts to combine the adventure genre with puzzle platforming for a slightly more action-orientated adventure game. It certainly isn’t point n’ click. Maybe move n’ grab? It doesn’t quite have the same ring. Either way it’s still one really large trading sequence just like all the others, but will Stick it to the Man stick around or will it quickly peel over and be forgotten? Let’s find out.
All good Adventure games have a story, after all a story is needed as motivation instead of simply get from left to right, and Stick it to the Man is no exception. Here the story is separated into self-contained chapters with each one given a different setting. In a way it reminded me of Capcom’s Ghost Trick back on the Nintendo DS.
Anyway, the actual story itself. You play as Ray, an average joe who works at a construction company testing out the safety of hard hats. On his way back from work one day he is knocked unconscious by a capsule that fell from the sky. This capsule contains an alien being called Ted, who proceeds to enter Ray’s mind, giving him the ability to read peoples thoughts, as well as a giant pink hand coming straight out of his head that only he can see. Unfortunately for Ray, who has no idea what is causing this new power of his, the mysterious ‘The Man’ is furious about his package being stolen and has sent out his secret agents to take it back at all costs, and he won’t let Ray get in the way of things.
Like most adventure games of old, there is a big focus on bizarre, overexaggerated, comedy. Very little of this games writing is meant to be taken seriously and the whole journey is focused on telling a fun and silly story. The player gets a surprising amount of detail on the character of Ray in this game, as you occasionally jump into his inner psyche and learn all about his past and how he got to where he is. It is fairly engaging, and will make players push forward which is what you want from an adventure game.
As stated before, this game is part puzzle platformer and it is this part that makes up the gameplay. As Ray the player walks around a 2.5D plain where they have to perform platforming jumps and use that new arms of Rays to grab onto pins in the environment or rip-off the games stickers. Stickers are the primary items in this game. The player can rip them off of the environment, or even people’s thoughts, and stick them elsewhere to advance. This has various effects like ripping off the teeth of an alligator and sticking them on a dog to make it more ferocious, or taking the sleepiness from an agent and giving it to another one to knock him out. Figuring out which sticker to use for which character is the crux of this game.
Players can also peel off part of the environment using their hands, or lead NPCs to specific locations by hold certain stickers. The variety in this game really doesn’t come from the abilities of Ray himself and more from the stickers and how you utilise them. So there is not much else to talk about in this section so let’s move on to the presentation.
The presentation of Stick it to the Man is definitely the first thing that jumps out to anyone looking at this game and going into it I was prepping myself to hate it. What Zoink Games have seemingly decided to make their signature style looks like a fusion of the Simpsons and canadians from South park, but with actual teeth and a ton of soft-core gross out humour. It wasn’t really appealing to me but I was thrilled to discover that this only really applied to the characters and it actually worked. The world itself is very cleverly designed, being a world made of paper and cardboard and being fully aware of this with many meta and fourth wall jokes poking fun at the ways it’s world is designed. The stickers are actually stickers and whenever Ray ‘dies’ a copy machine just prints off another version of him. While the weird models might not appeal to some they certainly do fit and work with the rest of the game as a whole and often provide humourous moments.
The music is also pretty good and does well to replicate the situation at hand whether you are in a bustling city, at a creepy circus or lost in Rays on subconscious. The game’s soundscape is well done and knows when to let the voice acting take the center stage. There is a lot of dialogue in this game and all of it is fully voiced and well. There are only a handful of voice actors covering this game’s moderately sized cast but I was surprised at how much variety each of them offered. When looking through the credits I was genuinely surprised when discovering which characters shared a common actor and it made me appreciate the hard work that must have been. So I have nothing but praise for their work here.
Stick it to the Man is a game on many platforms, including the Wii U, but if you hadn’t heard about it before or never got the chance to play it then I highly recommend picking it up here. The game looks and sounds very good on Nintendo’s home platform and then adventure aspect of the game works really well in handheld mode. I found myself jumping between both forms of play and this is definitely a game you could play in bed or when you just want to escape the world for a bit. It is not massively long but it was also always enjoyable and gets my stamp of approval for sure.