Stick It to the Man Review: The Spotless Mind

May 3rd, 2014 -

Stick It to the Man is by no means a new title – it came out at the end of 2013 for PC, PS3, and PS Vita, and is now available on Wii U as well. However, here we are at the beginning of May, and the title is about to be free for PS Plus users in the US – so why not know what you’re getting into if you haven’t checked it out yet?

The game follows Ray Doewood, a pretty boring guy that works as a hardhat tester (and you thought YOUR job was bad). After the opening cut-scenes, you take control of Ray as he’s headed home from work – this is a platformer of sorts, so you’d be inclined to go right. Your coworker takes it upon himself to give you the bad news: you live all the way to the left – weird, right? That line sets the tone for the rest of the game. On your way home, several more cut-scenes are interwoven into the platforming (which is narrated by Ray – the game is fairly meta in humor). Eventually Ray is hit on the head, but this incident does more than make him count the stars. It awakens a third eye… erm, arm. A pinky spaghetti arm that lets him read people’s minds!

Stick It To The Man PS4 (2)

The aesthetic of SIttM is charming, in a world made of paper (think Paper Mario) with the main gameplay mechanic being reminiscent of Little Big Planet’s pop-it with stickers mixed with The Cave. While the game looks as if it’s a platformer, it’s very much an adventure game with platforming elements – no point and click gameplay here. Looking at SIttM or even hearing it, you’d think this is a new title from Double Fine. The clever writing, the sometimes very dark characters, and just downright silly yet morbid events seem to be something we’ve come to expect from Schafer. And you know, I’m glad this isn’t his. Why? Because I love games that are filled with humor, and we need more developers creating games like this. The team at Zoink! have captured what I love about Schafer’s (and Ron Gilbert’s) adventure titles. And for that, I applaud them.

The title clocks in at just a few hours, but those hours will be filled with enjoyment. Be it the dialogue from the characters, the thoughts from reading the minds of others, or the puzzles you solve, it’s never tiring. Unlike older adventure titles, nothing here ever seems too difficult. The placement of items makes sense, and there aren’t really enough in a level to ever be confused by the puzzles (even if you are, there is a map that will help immensely). The movement also doesn’t seem to drag – getting from one side of a level to another is really quick, with unlockable shortcuts, and running around in general is enjoyable, as the world is a beautiful one.

Stick It To The Man PS4 (3)

So what about the PS4 exclusive features? Well, there’s the fact that dialogue you’d normally hear comes from your normals speakers, whereas reading someone’s mind comes from your controller. This isn’t a huge deal, though it does add to that separation of normal and otherworldly. If you’ve played the game already, I wouldn’t say it completely changes the experience; nor does aiming your hand with the touchpad, which the right analog stick does just fine. The game in general doesn’t have much replay value, as nothing changes, but that’s okay. Especially with it being free for Plus members! But it’s also worth the $10 price tag if you aren’t a plus member. I have high hopes for the next Zoink! titles – the Swedes have won me over.

 

BUY

Pros

  • Brings a story to life with humor successfully throughout the entire game
  • Beautiful aesthetic
  • Gameplay is easy to understand but never dull
  • Succinctly told and satisfying end

Cons

  • Didn’t want it to end…

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