From the very moment I clicked the icon to begin Stick it to the Man I knew I was in for something strange and kooky. The developers have delivered this in spades. If you like your games injected with bizarre twisted humor, unique aesthetics, and some slight puzzle solving, then this one will be right up your alley. It’s one part light platformer and one part graphic adventure game. It won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s definitely memorable and a game that oozes with style.
You begin the game controlling a young dude named Ray. He’s at his job testing out the durability of a helmet the company has created. Basically he’s the crash test dummy of the joint. His shift ends and on his way home we cut away to a cargo plane in distress. It ends up dropping a container right onto Ray’s head (too bad he wasn’t wearing that helmet) and as such leaves him with some strange super powers. A spaghetti arm juts out of his noggin and can be used to manipulate the surroundings by grabbing onto objects. Small red pins can be grabbed, allowing him to reach areas otherwise out of reach. In addition, he’s gained the ability to read people’s minds! You can listen in on their private thoughts to help figure out solve the game’s numerous puzzles.
At its heart, Stick it to the Man reminds me of some of the early graphic adventure games of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Those games often required you to think outside the box and in order to reach your end goal you’d have to jump through numerous hoops to solve the puzzle. It’s exactly the same here. A good example is the first area you encounter. You find a guy who is ready to hang himself because his girlfriend left him. You find out that she ditched the guy because she has a teeth fetish – the more perfect the teeth the more she loves the guys she’s dating. Turns out she’s at a dance club with an old geezer because his dentures are simply to die for. So, it’s up you to figure out how to get those set of teeth out of the old man’s mouth and into the hands of the guy in distress. Let’s just say it’s a long and convoluted road that must be traveled – one that involves a hungry alligator, a cannibal chef, and a couple of thugs (to name a few). Figuring out how each character intertwines with the others is part of the appeal and although zany at times, each puzzle makes sense.
Right from the start I was struck by the visuals. The game looks like something ripped out of a Tim Burton movie. Everything is made out of paper and cardboard, so similar to Paper Mario, when you turn your character’s direction he simply flips over. Other things like cutout cars driving along the background and foreground really sell the look. The various characters sort of look like Simpson’s rejects, except the jaws are displaced from the rest of the head. They sort of remind me of PEZ dispensers and I really dig the crazy art style. Much of the game relies on darker colors and shadows, which really gives it a sort of grim and bleak atmosphere. The game looks fantastic on the TV and the Switch screen and although it’s probably not pushing the Switch to its limits in the power department, it has a solid visual flair throughout.
I also really love the music and voice direction. Games like these can live or die by the writing, humor, and voice acting. It all flows extremely well and I laughed out loud many times throughout my quest. I should mention that the humor is on the dark side, so this one might not be appropriate for the younger kids – although come to think of it many cartoons airing today often exhibit darker tones and subjects as well. All told, I came away impressed with the audiovisual presentation, especially for a smaller budget game.
Unlike games like Thimbleweed Park, it should be noted that Stick it to the Man puts a focus on platform jumping and exploration as well as puzzle solving. This unique merger of the two genres is pretty unique. In some ways the game reminded me slightly of Psychonauts, mainly because of the visuals and platforming. Each chapter has completely new areas to discover and explore, as well as a cast of characters to interact with. It’s not as long as some adventure games tend to be – you can probably get through the game in five to eight hours – depending on how savvy you are at solving puzzles.
When all is said and done, Stick it to the Man is yet another fun indie game that has made its way to the Switch. I love the resurgence of graphic adventure style games, and to me they especially fit well with the Switch’s play anywhere philosophy. I can pick up and play for a few minutes at a time to keep progressing through the story. This game came out three years ago on the Wii U, so it’s probably not worth a double dip unless you absolutely loved it the first go round and want to play it on the go. Still, if you haven’t ever played the game before, give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Stick It To The Man was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.