It's a real head trip.
Going in to Stick it to The Man!, I didn’t really know what to expect. Developed by Zoink! Games, this old school adventure game mixes light platforming elements with a heavy dose of humor. The result is an enjoyable romp through a bizarre world made of paper and stickers that shares more than a little in common with Double Fine’s brilliant Psychonauts.
Stick it to the Man! puts a lot of focus on narrative. The dialogue, written by comic scribe Ryan North, is the crux of the game, and it delivers. The various characters are quite unique, and their thoughts and comments are usually funny. The voice acting is also outstanding, and I found myself cracking up at the game regularly. If you played Psychonauts, you will find a lot of similarities in both character design and dialogue. The consistently bizarre, often self-referential dialogue drove me to search every nook and cranny in the game to be sure I left no bits of humor unfound.
Were it not for the superb writing and voice acting, Stick it to the Man! would very easily become dull. There is little challenge in the platforming elements, and most of the puzzles are quite easy to solve. In the rare case that you do get stuck, a solution can typically be found with brute-force by trying every item in your inventory (the game won’t let you use an item in the wrong spot) and interacting with every possible character. All of this is fine, as the gameplay is focused on delivering plot points and hilarious banter.
In between jumping on platforms, Ray can interact with his cardboard world by using his powers to tear away pieces of scenery and to fly across the screen by grabbing on to the thumb tacks scattered about the environment. He can also peel items off the scenery and turn them into stickers, which he can then place in other areas to solve puzzles and slip by enemies. Each level contains a few areas which are focused on character interaction and puzzle solving. In between these sections are areas that focus on platforming, which involves Ray needing to get by “The Man’s” black-suit wearing agents.
Stick it to the Man! is the perfect game to sit down and relax with, to the point that it sometimes feels more like an interactive cartoon than an actual video game. It’s enjoyable from start to finish, and easy to digest in a weekend with about four or five hours of gameplay. The only major downside to this game is that after you go through it once you will have pretty much seen it all, leaving little incentive to come back to go through it all again.