If you know me, you know what a big comedy fan I am. Comedy is kind of my whole life, my passion, my raison d'etre, if you will. Videogames are obviously one of my other passions. So, when the two meet, I tend to be very hopeful, yet cautiously optimistic. Comedy in video games tends to be very hit or miss (as does comedy about games, but I self-aware-ingly digress) but when it works well, it's a rare thing of beauty.
Stick It to the Man! is a thing of beauty.
Stick It to the Man! (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], PS Vita) Developer: Zoink! Publisher: Ripstone Release Date: November 19, 2013 (PS3), Early December (Vita) MSRP: $12.99 (with Cross-Buy)
Ray Doewood is a schlub unlike any other. His day job testing different hardhats isn't exactly spiritually fulfilling, but he's generally happy, living with his girlfriend Arlene. However, after removing his latest hardhat and heading home during a rainstorm he is struck on the noggin by a strange object, and once he comes to he finds he has a giant pink arm coming out of his head that only he can see. This strange new appendage allows Ray some cool abilities, such as reading people's thoughts, and taking items or even the very thoughts of people as stickers to use around the world.
The game is deliciously self aware, referencing the fact that the world looks two-dimensional, or even that it may all be paper (a pilot references that he's flying a paper plane in the rain early in the game, respawn checkpoints are machines called "Mr. Copy" that re-draw Ray into the game). There's tons of nods not only to general platformer tropes -- such as Ray's house being "all the way to the left" or how much jumping he has to do to get home from work -- but also sly references to Mario and Luigi, and even a flat-out mention of Silver Surfer for NES in one characters inner monologue. But the cleverness isn't only in the scripting.
While at its heart the game performs like a platformer, with Ray's noodle brain-arm grabbing push pins around the world to get to higher ground or pulling down walls to reveal what's inside buildings, the majority of the game is puzzle-based. Ray must use his new-found abilities to find clues to solve problems, like helping a family of clowns perfect a high-dive act, or using an Opera singer's fear of the mob to slip past a road block. Many of the puzzles are inter-woven, so one puzzle's solution will give you a sticker you need for a puzzle you may have discovered previously in the chapter that you couldn't solve at the time.
You must do this all while avoiding secret agents, hell-bent on getting whatever it is Ray has in his head that gave him these abilities. See, they know what fell on him, and the shadowy mastermind behind it all known only as The Man -- who is actually cleverly NEVER seen out of the shadows -- wants it back. Desperately. Luckily, some of these agents are tired, so you can grab their thoughts of sleep to make them snooze briefly, or even Rays face from their thoughts and slap it on another agent to make them chase him while you slip away unnoticed.
The idea of reading thoughts and grabbing stickers formed by those thoughts is fantastic, and that coupled with the art style makes this look like the greatest Psychonauts/Paper Mario: Sticker Star mashup ever. In fact, I had to check a few times to see if Tim Schafer wasn't involved in this game in some capacity. The dialogue is so sharp and so funny that I actually laughed out loud several times while playing, even replaying several sections to hear certain dialogue points again.
Even the levels are funny, from your standard stroll through a city, to escaping an asylum, and even the eventual trip through Ray's shattered psyche, each mission is inspired and rife with minds to read and puzzles to uncover. Each character you meet has a cool little backstory and is fully voiced, with some you may need to reads the minds of a few times to fully get what they may be looking for. I spent most of the game just listening in on people's thoughts...even dead people still had functioning brains you could eavesdrop.
If there is one gripe I have with the game, it's that sometimes grabbing the right item with the head-arm (arm-head?) isn't as precise as I'd like it to be. Often I grabbed a pushpin when I was aiming for an agent's thoughts and popped up behind him and got zapped. I hope that on Vita you can just use the touch-screen to tap your subject to slap a sticker or swing around. That said, it didn't happen often, and it was really more of being being sloppy with the controls than the controls being sloppy. I just needed to aim better.
If you haven't caught on, I enjoyed the ever-loving crap out of this game. From the cast of zany characters -- many of whom you may think are throwaways only for them to show up again in later levels -- to the crazy art style, level and puzzle design, and whimsically hilarious script. Everything is pitch-perfect. And while Stick It to the Man! isn't a particularly long title (it may only take you between three to five hours to complete the game's ten chapters) there's loads to observe and listen in on, and dozens of minds per level to explore, leaving you wanting more. I couldn't get enough of it.
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.
Jed Whitaker Haven't been around a few days. Getting over a cold and working on a review for Superbeat: Xonic on Vita. Starting to feel better, I think / hope.inspavo Solar Pony Django So I'm almost done with my first play through of Undertale and... It's okay. It's in no way bad (and I'm enjoying it more than Fallout 4 which in also playing) but feel... It was overhyped I suppose? Not sure really... Maybe a second play though will helpAgent9 Sometimes I wonder why I care. To simply have more vitriol and misery as my reward, to suffer ingrates and fools. That in all I do I'm never afforded the same respect or kindness. Let it be then, and let pain follow. I'm done with this shit. Mike Martin I was telling this dead baby joke at dinner tonight, and this lady I don't recognize says, "I'm sorry. That joke isn't funny to me, I have two dead children." At this point, I went over my options in my head and settled with telling her the joke twice. CoilWhine I really wish the slowpokes at Microsoft would add Forza Horizon to Xbox One backwards compatibility.... It's my favorite racing game. And the soundtrack is honestly flawless.Parismio Some green tea and Mario Kart w/ family is a great way to end the day.KingSigy Honestly, Broforce might be my GOTY. It's really fucking amazing.OverlordZetta Welp, Remote Play is coming to PCs. Calling it now, PS Now enabled toasters and glasses will be announced at the next big Playstation event alongside cute Vita coffins made of paper you can print out of your Remote Play capable printers.Niero Desu How did your Thanksgiving small talk with obscure relatives go? Oh, I bonded over the ethereal experience of hydrogen peroxide in ear canals but they'd never heard of Chrono Trigger so we mostly chewed the corn-flakes-on-potato thing in silenceAmna Umen Don't forget [img]http://i.imgur.com/AlijIqq.gif[/img]Mike Wallace I wonder how far the show would be taken out of context if the lyrics were "Go, Go Power Rangers, you Mighty Morphine Power Rangers."Rad Party God I just tried out Skyforge, and...
[img]http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--wCowrD8c--/1423499241920185774.jpg[/img]Pixie The Fairy Is it weird I finally want a Samurai Warriors game because I think Koshosho is super fab? [img]http://operationrainfall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/koshosho-4.jpg[/img]Gamemaniac3434 I've never cleaned my comp in the 3-4 years I have had it.
Soon I will dust it.
I....I dont know what I will find, hidden in the dust. CoilWhine Happy late thanksgiving Dtoid. I played Doodle God and Murasaki Baby on PSVita, and am now Achievement grinding in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious on Xbox One. Super easy 1000G, I need it.
Pixie The Fairy Black Friday pick ups so far are Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Titan Souls and tomorrow Devil Survivor 2 Break Record ($29.99 at GameStop).Gamemaniac3434 This thanksgiving, give thanks for the fact that your family wasnt 1 of the 3 to have picked out a wasp filled turkey, buying a meal and becoming a meal.
Next year, may not bring such.....dissapointing results. Nekrosys So I'm pretty sure you all should be giving thanks to Nekro. For he is the one true perfect being. Be thankful that your lives have been blessed by the addition of a Nekro. For that is the true meaning of Thanksgiving.Solar Pony Django Happy Thanksgiving Dtoid! Here's hoping you didn't fall off a chair while hanging Christmas lights and bash your shin and foot into the concrete like I did!