Review: Stick It To The Man (Wii U)
Aliens living inside your head, dental obsessed dancers and pink ribbon arms protruding from your head. Yeah this is just another regular day when Stick It To The Man is involved. This over-the-top point and click styled puzzle platformer resembles those games from the early nineties that weren’t scared to show off their ‘crazy’. Think along the lines of Day of the Tentacle with a unique art style and clever mind-reading, sticker peeling gameplay… yeah, maybe I should go into more detail…
Professional hardhat tester (I’m not joking), Ray Doewood, has had his noggin hit by a crate which has accidentally fallen from a top secret military carrier plane. Upon waking up from his concussion he discovers a strange, long pink arm protruding from the base of his head. He is understandably a little concerned and the numerous voices he hears in his head doesn’t make his plight any easier. Doewood quickly discovers that with this new additional ghost-like limb he can not only swing from platform to platform (a lá – Earthworm Jim) but also has the ability to read minds and peel away pieces of his world. Not the most conforming super power but a super power none the less. Ray quickly discovers that there is a secret agency that has accused him of murdering the love of his life. I full blown manhunt quickly escalates.
Dodging dodgy agents while figuring out various puzzles in order to progress is the name of the game. Along the way you discover a multitude of unique characters who generally link to each other in some way or another. These characters might as well all be escaped mental patients, but unluckily for you, you can read their minds and knowingly (or not) help these wonderfully grotesque-looking strangers and in turn progress through more odd environments. This is all tied together by the games strange, psychologically-driven humour. Underlying, intellectual yet odd statements are plentiful and a feeling of being analysed is continuous… it’s fantastic.
The puzzle elements are cleverly constructed and finding hidden objects can be fun as long as you don’t lose your way too much. Backtracking can become quite frustrating. As is the issue with a lot of indie titles the game is short. You have ten fairly easy chapters to concur of which the first four take a matter of minutes. Yes, I know indie studios don’t have the budget or manpower of multimillion digit corporations and it is taking this into consideration that the developers are forgiven for the rather short experience. Funding aside, it is easy to overlook its length when the game oozes this much charm from its pulsating arm.
While the The Wii U Pro Controller is a fully compatible option the Wii U GamePad is without a doubt the way to play Stick It To The Man. Mind-reading is done by a mere gamepad movement and the speaker makes it easy to distinguish thoughts of specific people, when you are surrounded by various peoples thoughts this becomes a stand out feature. and you can take advantage of a quirky feature that sets mind-reading to a simple lift of the controller. Off-screen play available. This feature allows you to tap on individual targets making your selection process easy as pie.
Stick It To The Man is enjoyable from beginning to end and is a highly memorable experience. At times you would be forgiven for thinking that you aren’t playing a game but rather watching a psycho-billy late night cartoon. While there is little reason to revisit this short lived adventure it is still an adventure that comes highly recommended.