Stick it to the Man: catchup review

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  • Format: PS4 (version tested), PC, XboxOne, PSVita, WiiU.
  • Unleashed: Out Now.
  • Publisher: Zoink!
  • Developer: Ripstone Games
  • Players: 1
  • Site: http://www.stickitgame.com/

“OMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…”

Okay. I know what you’re thinking…

“OMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…”

You’re thinking…

“OMMM”

Get on with the damn review!? Well okay, there’s no need to be so thinky about it! Sheesh! So Stick it to the Man or SittM as it’ll now be known within this review is about an ordinary Joe Bloggs who’s failing at life, work and all things in between. So far so generic story telling, but not so fast, because right from the off Ray’s life (the main character) is rather odd. Firstly he’s a hard-hat tester for reasons that Freud could write a book about and secondly he’s quite aware that the world he inhabits is very game-like in its construction. It’s not bursting through the “fourth wall” like Psycho Mantis did on the PS1 but his comments on his environment are enough to make most gamers smile when he mentions things like “there’s so much jumping involved on my way to work!”. While going through a normal day at work he’s caught up in an extraterrestrial accident; an alien falls onto/into his head, at which point he’s suddenly granted the ability to hear other people’s thoughts via a giant neon arm protruding from his head. This is one of the really clever bits though; when the player latches onto someone’s mind their thoughts are heard through the speaker in the PS4’s pad. At this point you’ll find yourself instinctively raising your pad to your ear to listen harder, making you look like you’re doing that rub-the-temples-to-read-minds thing that we know all psychics do when they’re trying to figure out your Google password, or whatever, y’know.

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There’s even more to it than that though; not only can he listen to what people are thinking, he can conjure their imagery into physical stickers. These can then be used in a myriad of ways by the player to get through the level. Sometimes they’re only for a specific use, but boy can they be bizarre uses. The puzzle elements to SittM will have some very, very weird solutions that require a string of events to take place before you see the answers. Like the taxidermist girl who can stuff live animals that’s looking for love that does in fact hold the solution to you passing as a famous opera singer that’ll give you access to a limousine. What? Too weird? Get used to it because it only gets weirder! Since Ray’s girlfriend has been abducted Princess Toadstool style by The Man, Ray will find himself navigating puzzles involving oddities from making seagulls puke to singing zombie choirs, and even thoughts in his own head. The whole aesthetic of the game looks like a cardboard cut-out or very reminiscent of the LittleBigPlanet or Tearaway levels some players have come to know and love; indeed, there are even parts of the level that are hidden until you peel off the paper fronts to reveal more areas of exploration or interaction. Even Ray himself will pass copy-machines for checkpoints that will print out another Ray if and when he dies. This ties the whole game together to utilise the sticker aspect of the main mechanic and stages the set in a kind of pop-up book style story quite nicely.

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Generally the average gamer will run through this in about two or three hours, give or take, yet that’s probably intentionally missing out on about 50% of the non-mandatory puzzles; so there’s replay value here for those who fancy going back to see everything the game’s inhabitants have to offer. Regardless of this, SittM is a fairly short affair yet is no less of a game for it. In here you’ll find the kind of ridiculous humour and silliness that games used to carry before the mainstream kids went all CoD-monkey on us old-timers and spoiled all our fun. Grab this if you’re a Plus owner for free (at time of writing) for a quick yet seriously fun platforming bit of high-jinx and even if you’re not (then why, you silly, silly person!?) this is another little indie title that should be played by anyone even slightly serious about their gaming hobby. Go on, haven’t you always wanted to Stick it to the Man!

critical score 7

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Written by R.Furie

Ross has been playing games since he can remember and has had games machines around him all his life. He’s what we now refer to as “Old Skool” because he grew up playing games with a hand carved wooden joystick on a TV forged from rope and stone. Nourished on a diet of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Joust, Gauntlet, Bomber Jack and other various wholesome arcades he has grown to become a versatile and open minded gamer. Favouring the style of open-world games he’s sure VR can’t be far away, and looks forward to attaching himself to a colostomy bag and slipping into a deep VR coma so he need never have to deal with real life again.

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