A point and click adventure with a hint of platforming, loads of stickers and a weird pink spaghetti arm protruding from the main characters head.
The hero of Stick It To The Man! from developers Zoink! has a bit of a problem, and it is that problem that happens to be the main selling point for this point and click adventure. While the point and click genre seems to be going through some sort of resurgence at the moment, it is still necessary for new games to offer something a bit different, something to grab hold of the players attention and maybe even pull in players who don’t usually lean towards the point and click genre. What better than a pink spaghetti arm extending from the main characters head?
Ray has not always stood out from the crowd with a with a pink appendage attached to his head however. Until the game begins, he had been living his life in the strange papercraft world quite uneventfully, albeit regularly being hit in the head as a job. But when he gets bashed on the noggin outside of work time by a mysterious canister that falls from the sky, things take a turn for the weird. He awakens to discover not only a pink spaghetti arm that only he can see protruding from his brain, which happens to allow Ray to read peoples minds amongst other things, but also that a shadowy organisation is now interested in him and has even gone to the lengths of framing him with a crime in order to apprehend him. Ray is a simple guy, and it is up to the player to get him through this bizarre situation with the help of his new pink spaghetti arm.
Across the ten different levels of the game, the player will find themselves exploring and moving back and forth through the papercraft world. The visuals in Stick It To The Man are very good looking, even though the characters and even the architecture in the game take on a rather ugly style. Ray will come across a selection of really bizarre characters through his journey, and none of them can ever be called cute. But this is part of the charm of the game, and despite the aesthetically displeasing characters, the game is bright, colourful and could even be called gorgeous.
Playing centre stage in this tale is Ray’s newly acquired pink spaghetti arm, which can be used in different ways to give Ray an edge over his enemies, solve puzzles and even navigate the environment to some degree. The arm can be used for swinging from pins or to reach platforms that would otherwise be out of reach. Along with simple jumping by Ray, this platforming mechanic doesn’t really play a main role in the game, but it works well and is enjoyable to use.
The main use of the pink spaghetti arm is in reading the minds of the odd people around Ray. By delving into their often warped brains, Ray can find out what a character might need to solve a puzzle, or even find the solution in the form of stickers that float around in their thought bubbles. Stickers can be peeled from their thoughts to be stored in the inventory and then used on other characters later on, such as using a sleepy sticker to send someone to sleep. It is a novel way of manipulating the thoughts of characters to reach a desired outcome, and is the focus of most of the puzzles in the game. The puzzles are generally straight forward, although there are the occasional completely random solutions that will make no sense to most gamers, but will be familiar to anyone who has spent time playing point and click adventures.
While the story in Stick It To The Man may well be its weakest point, the dialogue is both well written and well executed, and the gags just keep on coming. The game is filled with humour and interesting characters that just beg for further investigation. In fact, some of these characters it turns out will have nothing to do with progressing the game along, but are still a delight to interact with just for the laughs.
Stick It To The Man is a charmingly quirky little adventure that is surprisingly involving. It may be a little on the short side, and have very limited replayability, but it is hugely fun and well worth picking up if you enjoy a laugh, for both fans of the point and click genre, and newcomers. A bizarre indie masterpiece.