Stick It To The Man (Switch eShop) Review
Stick it to the Man almost feels like a game out of time. The art style has that warped, late 90s ‘grossness’ to it like a Terry Denton illustration. The story plays like a weird after school, Rocko’s Modern Life sort of series of events. Even the gameplay is like an old school point and click adventure. So if you’re a 90s kid, maybe read on…
Stick it to the Man is part platformer, part puzzle/point and click adventure. You play as Ray, an odd fellow made of paper, living in a world made of stickers, cardboard and seemingly pencil and crayons. Very soon into the game, Ray gains the power of a ‘magic hand’ that lets him pick up and place objects, move around the game world and even tear off the backdrops to reveal more.
Each level has a series of puzzles and challenges, where you have to match certain stickers with certain scenarios to open up areas, get new items that are hidden behind multiple layers of these puzzles, or to just plain move the story forward. There’s a huge amount of cartoon physics at play here, including inflating a taxidermied whale with a paper bag being hyperventilated into.
Ray’s magic hand allows you to read people’s minds, where a lot of the character of the game comes through. You use this to gather clues and get extra stickers to solve more problems in the game world.
You move around each level in a 2D platforming style, using this magic hand to grab onto push pins to move around faster, or through walls. It’s also used in a light stealth mechanic to sneak past guards, also using stickers to knock them out to let you move past them without hindrance.
The story and humour in the game are more often than not, right up that 90s wacky style of comedy, with a lot of cynicism masked by cartoon logic. The art style surprisingly backs up this premise, with that distorted 90s feel to it, like Ren and Stimpy or OddBods (why was everything in the 90s so gross looking?).
The plot that moves you along is intriguing as well, with a distinct Psychonauts feel to it, when you enter Ray’s brain with a quack psychologist to try figure yourself out. Sadly, there is one level in the game that has a fairly dismissive attitude towards mental illness, when Ray gets committed to an asylum. While it very much fits this 90s, wacky and gross theme, one part of the game has you charging a battery off an electroshock victim, who appears to be enjoying the typically torturous experience. The rest of the level was borderline for me, but that one particular moment wasn’t enjoyable for me- so player beware!
And while each level is unique, and the character of the game is worth experiencing on its own, the actual challenge of the game does not ramp up that much. While I personally enjoy games that don’t all of my brainpower to solve sometimes, if you’re looking for a challenge, it won’t be here. Unless you’re talking about the challenge of fighting the controls during those stealth sections…
Stick it to the Man is an incredibly unique experience, that definitely fits a particular mood and desire out of gaming. The game part is sort of shallow, but the personality and world are worth experiencing. A good in-between giant games palate cleanser!
Rating: 3.5 / 5
+Very unique art style}
+Full of personality
+Easy to pick up and play
-Gameplay is a bit shallow
-Stealth and platforming can be finicky
-Attitude towards mental health is a bit insulting