Art style is absolutely gorgeous; Fantastic voice acting; Hilarious dialog.
Length is a little too short.
There’s something incredibly special about a game that clicks with you instantaneously. While I’ve played a lot of great games over the years, there are just a select few that resonate incredibly well with me. Only a selection of titles are able to instill the excitement and joy that I felt when I was introduced to this amazing medium, and their existence constantly reminds me of why I became a gamer in the first place.
To me, Stick it to the Man is one of those games. This game is so masterfully crafted that I could not stop smiling throughout my time with it. It’s a love letter to anyone that loves comedy and general absurdity, so it clicked for me within my first couple minutes of gameplay.
The first thing that caught my attention is the gorgeous art style. Many people compare the game’s quirky appearance to Double Fine’s Psychonauts, but as an avid Nintendo fan, I can’t help but see more similarities with Paper Mario. This is because the entirety of the world is created out of paper, creating a very similar flat aesthetic that works very well for Stick it to the Man. The paper motif makes the game feel a lot like an intricate storybook, which is absolutely beautiful to look at.
The storybook appearance also works well in telling the game’s hilarious and crazy storyline. The main character, Ray, works for a construction company as a hard hat tester that gets slammed by hammers falling from the sky. When Ray finishes his shift, he takes off his hard hat and heads home, only to be struck unconscious by a random foreign object from the sky. After waking up, he realizes that a purple arm is floating above his head that gives him the ability to read minds, and an oddball group led by someone called The Man is after Ray for his power. It’s a brilliantly weird plot; I wouldn’t expect anything less insane from Adventure Time writer Ryan North.
Often, the only way to progress through Ray’s story is to solve people’s various problems by finding and giving them stickers. While some may be out in the open, others can be created by reading people’s minds. For example, after I found someone crying and read their mind, the character generated a thought bubble containing a sticker with tears. This sticker aided me in helping a chef, who needed “liquified sorrow” to spice up the human arm he was cooking. Once I gave him the tears, the arm turned into a sticker that I used to lure out a man’s pet alligator that was hiding from his owner. As ridiculous as this may sound, these kinds of circumstances are common occurrences in Stick it to the Man, making it a blast to figure out how to use each silly sticker you find.
All of the game’s characters ooze personality, which is a great feat considering the amount of characters included within each level. Not only is each one completely different from the last, but they also have phenomenal voice actors with distinct, unique performances to help bring them to life. This ultimately makes the characters interesting to interact with, which is important due to the fact that the game is based on reading their minds. As a result, I had a blast interfering with these characters’ lives by placing the stickers I’ve found on them.
By the way, does that sticker mechanic sound familiar? Again, I’m instantly reminded of the Paper Mario series, specifically Sticker Star on 3DS. Stick it to the Man plays a lot like Sticker Star without the RPG battling system, as it features basic platforming and puzzle solving. But, Stick it to the Man’s main hook is its well written dialog and interesting setting, making it feel more like a visual novel than a puzzle platformer.
The Wii U version of the game has received a couple added perks that haven’t been included in prior releases. The first is the new map system, which will now be displayed on the GamePad. Putting the map on the GamePad instead of designating it to a button makes exploring a lot more seamless, enhancing the experience of the game. The other new feature lets you read minds by using the gyroscope within the controller. The standard controls let you select a person’s mind with the right stick, but you can also lift the controller up and point it at a character to read their mind. This is extremely helpful in situations where people are bunched together, as it gives more accuracy than the right stick could on its own.
The only real flaw of Stick it to the Man is that it’s too short. While I don’t usually mind short experiences, I was a bit disappointed to finish such a fantastic game in three hours and have absolutely no incentive to replay any level. However, if this is something that doesn’t bother you, then I highly recommend Stick it to the Man. This is easily one of the best eShop titles currently available, which should satisfy any Wii U owner currently starved for games.