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Stick it to the Man review

Katharine Byrne
2 Jun 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
7
inc VAT

A simple yet highly entertaining puzzle platformer

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Specifications

Available formats: Wii U, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, PC, PS Vita

Stick it to the Man has been out on PC and PS3 for almost six months, but now Zoink Games' quirky puzzle platformer has arrived on both the Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One. With its 2D paper art style, Stick it to the Man immediately conjures up images of better known games such as the Paper Mario series, but its misshapen cast of yellow-skinned characters and knowing, geeky humour also positions it as a kind of spiritual successor to Double Fine's Psychonauts.

Stick it to the Man

Stick it to the Man even plays on Psychonauts' fascination with brains and telepathy, as you'll spend a large portion of the game reading people's thoughts and trying to work out how to solve their problems. Main hero Ray isn't your ordinary psychic, though. Instead, his powers come courtesy of a tiny alien named Ted that's taken up residence inside his brain.

From there, Ted projects a huge, glowing purple arm out of Ray's head which he can then use to reach inside people's minds to discover what's ailing them. Unfortunately, Ted also happens to be the prized specimen of the titular Man and Ray soon finds himself on the run as he tries to escape The Man's evil clutches.

Stick it to the Man

While the game's central conceit doesn't really evolve much past matching correct items with the right people, there's a wonderful sense of progression as you move through each level. Play spaces become larger with more wacky characters to satisfy – the insane asylum is a particular highlight – and the witty script never ceases to entertain.

There are also a fair number of light stealth sections to help break up the puzzling, and these become surprisingly challenging later on. You only ever have two so-called "weapons" at your disposal – making guards fall asleep or creating a decoy by slapping a copy of Ray's face on the mug of another crony – but hiding places quickly diminish as you progress and guards' sight lines become ever clearer and easier to caught in, showing that you don't need to go overboard with hundreds of different abilities to still make a game compelling.

Stick it to the Man

Instead, Stick it to the Man makes the most of its limited toolset by exploring every one of its ideas to the full and providing plenty of laughs along the way. There are a couple of very brief over the shoulder chase sequences that were perhaps a little bit of a misstep, but there's certainly enough content here to happily fill its four-hour run time without feeling too repetitive.

The Wii U version makes great use of the GamePad, too, by allowing players to automatically enter mind-reading mode by holding the controller up to the TV and panning round the screen to zone in on various brains. You'll want to use the trigger buttons on a few occasions, as it can be a bit tricky to get the GamePad's cuticle to settle correctly on individual brains where there's a whole load of them grouped together onscreen, but on the whole it's a fun addition that helps heighten immersion.

Stick it to the Man may be short, but at just £7, it's also hugely enjoyable. Each location is even weirder than the last and its colourful cast of kooky characters helps keep the game feeling fresh even when its underlying mechanics remain largely unchanging. If you're looking for a platformer that doesn't take itself too seriously, this is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.

Details

Price£7
Detailswww.zoinkgames.com
Rating****