Just when you think you’ll never get to play certain exclusive games on one console or another, Ripstone Publishing and Zoink! pop up with Stick It To The Man!. Originally a Playstation exclusive, Stick It To The Man! has now taken the leap to jump on-board the Xbox One consoles via the ID@Xbox program. Was it worth the wait for those Xbox gamers chomping at the bit to play it?
If you asked me to describe what type of game it is now I’ve played it, I’d immediately say “bonkers!” Obviously that’s not a real genre and so in reality Stick It To The Man! would be an adventure/platform game with psychic elements.
The game places you in control of a construction worker, Ray, whom spends his days testing the strength of hardhats by having items dropped on him from above. Whilst on his way home he’s blissfully unaware of the dangers in the air, when a plane crashes in the vicinity of Ray he ends up gaining a little extra something. A large pink spaghetti arm to be exact that is now sticking out of his head. Using this he must escape the evil grasp of the antagonist, The Man, whom is attempting to track Ray down.
Ray’s world is made of paper, as is he and everyone else who lives here. This new brightly coloured arm helps him tear away parts of the world to uncover hidden people, but that isn’t its only purpose. Using the conveniently placed pins he can also swing between upper and lower levels, even sometimes between walls. It’s surprising how useful an extra arm can be and how many other uses there are.
These other abilities coming from the pink arm are vital in getting through the game, although really without using them all you wouldn’t get very far. What are they? Well one is being able to pick up certain items as if they are merely stickers and then sticking them elsewhere in order to satisfy a character’s needs.
By far the best and most amusing (I’ll come back to that) usage is that of reading the minds of unsuspecting people, getting to see what goes on in the head of even your enemies is a huge advantage. It is especially great when people think about something specific because it can then turn into a sticker. The coolest stickers are the “Zzz” ones from tired enemies; this can actually put one of them to sleep for a short while.
The whole aim of the majority of levels is to get to the exit. This exit is usually blocked or in some way preventing you from leaving until you solve everyone’s problems in that area. As a knock on effect, by solving one person’s issue it can lead to giving you a sticker to use on another problematic character. You’ll find yourself going back and forward most of the time which is where the map comes in handy. A simple button press brings up this map and it’ll show any non-interactive or incomplete items still left in that area.
Apart from finding things to make people happy there’s only really one other aspect to Stick It To The Man! and that’s being stealthy. This incorporation of stealth is to get past The Man’s henchman who will chase you upon seeing Ray and so a bit of sneakiness, well timed pin grabbing or a sleepy sticker are key to progressing. You know how when sections like this come up in other games and it gets annoying being caught causing respawn after respawn? Well you get printed out again at one of the many checkpoint stations pretty rapidly so it’s no big deal to fail.
I can say quite clearly that without the host of wacky, crazy, bonkers characters throughout the game it’d be rather boring. Meeting and reading the minds of a psychotic clown nearly sending his clown son to his demise or even Santa Claus himself adds a variety and novelty to proceedings. Even though it’s almost forced that you need to read most of these minds to fulfil your objectives, I happily looked for and wanted to hear the thoughts of new people.
Stick It To The Man! is only three to four hours long but that’s not a problem, in fact I think any longer and it might’ve suffered considering the lack of much change throughout its entirety, as for nearly all 10 of the chapters on offer you will have full control of all Ray’s abilities. There’s no rush to complete the majority of areas and so it’s an ideal fun game to chill out with. At a price of just £6.39/$9.99 I found it a joy to play.