Presenting great humor in a video game is no easy task. Great humor not only needs to be well written, but also timed exceptionally well. Placing the control of characters in the hands of the player makes the task of timing funny moments even more difficult, but when it lands, it can result in some of the most gut-wrenchingly funny moments a medium can provide. Stick It To The Man delivers excellent humor, and it’s one of the funniest games in recent memory.
To describe Stick It To The Man is difficult, but to sum it up into one word: strange. You play as Ray a fairly dimwitted guy just living his life, when one day a military plane with secret cargo crashes near Ray, giving him supernatural powers.
Ray wakes up and discovers he now has, as he calls it: “a giant spaghetti arm” that is protruding out of his head. No one can see this arm but Ray, and most people tell him he’s going insane. This newfound appendage gives Ray the ability to read people’s minds, grab onto objects to bring Ray to normally unreachable areas, as well as grabbing “stickers” from people to solve puzzles.
The premise for Stick It To The Man is offbeat, but it works so well with the humor that is littered throughout the game that it just works. From the hysterical scenarios placed between characters, reading the minds of the absurd people who populate the world, and Ray’s often innocent and confused thoughts on what predicament he’s in, humor is bountiful and unpredictable. Often times while playing Stick It To The Man, I found myself laughing out loud while playing, and it reminds me of the great humor found in Tim Schafer games, so those who are fans of those types of games will find themselves at home here.
The delivery of humor in Stick It To The Man is successful in large part to the excellent voice acting provided for each character. Dialogue is delivered perfectly for each moment, and even cheeky humor can garner big laughs when how perfectly the voice cast understands the material. For being an indie title, Stick It To The Man has better voice acting than most blockbuster games – which is an incredibly impressive feat.
The world created in Stick It To The Man is incredibly unique. Characters and environments look like they’re made out of paper craft, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Each character is unique, and it reminded me of the strange kind of cartoons you’d find on Nickelodeon in the early ’90s. Environments are wacky, and their inhabitants fell right at home.
Where humor, storytelling, and characters are Stick It To The Man’s forte, the gameplay is somewhat lacking. Most of the game is spent platforming, and while it’s serviceable, it isn’t terribly exciting, and other than basic platform jumping, there isn’t too much variance, which can lead to some rather dull moments in gameplay where I was impatiently awaiting for the next hilarious encounter.
A large part of the game is spent solving puzzles by reading the minds of characters and earning “stickers.” If you’ve played The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons or Oracle of Ages, it’s very comparable to the trading quests found in both titles. You’ll find one “sticker,” which can be placed on a person or object to progress the story. This can range from putting super glue on a trampoline to tear off the fake legs on a three-headed wrestler, to giving a hateful father the mouth of a loving father so he’s nicer to his son. Yes – it can be that ridiculous. By placing one sticker on a person, this generally unlocks another sticker which can be used for another character to progress the story. While these puzzles aren’t necessarily challenging, it can be fun to talk to one set of characters, realize you don’t have the item needed, complete another quest, and find the sticker that fits the characters you talked to previously, which often culminated in a “ah ha!” moment for myself.
Throughout my playthrough, I experienced occasional bugs that caused many inconveniences. One specific bug had Pay glitching between two planes in the games, and he would eventually fall to the front most plane; this sometimes even resulted in falling to my death. Hopefully future patches can fix these annoyances, because they can derail the game’s flow, and having to re-do some tasks can start to become tiresome very quickly – especially if it involves a joke you’ve heard over and over again.
Stick It To The Man is an incredibly refreshing game in a time when most titles are gritty shooters or adventure games. Its undending charm, absurdity, and glorious humor make it a game that needs to be played to truly appreciate its brilliance. Even with weak platforming, the sticker-based puzzle solving is a lot of fun, and it helps emphasize the game’s focus on the characters and their ridiculous personalities.
While it isn’t perfect, Stick It To The Man carves out its own niche that left its mark on me well after I beat the game, which took about five hours. There isn’t a lot of replay value, unless you want to nab all the trophies in the game. The bottom line is this: if you’re looking for a funny game that isn’t like every other one you’ve played recently, you should definitely pick up Stick It To The Man.
This review is based on a review copy for the PlayStation Vita game Stick It To The Man by Zoink!
- Incredibly Funny
- Wonderful Voice Acting
- Sub-Par Platforming
- Performance Issues