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.
RadicalYoseph The issue with Mike's article isn't that he doesn't like SMB. His tone makes it feel like his opinion is presented as fact, and the article goes way off track from the title.SeymourDuncan17 The last bit made me laugh for some reason. [img]http://i.imgur.com/zqZRY2d.jpg[/img]El Dango My silly joke comment on Mike's article looks really mean next to all the bitter ones. Why are people so accepting of my unpopular opinions, but not his?SeymourDuncan17 I'm still watching this over and over. Dude is tremendously talented, to say the least. Just wait until the solo and breakdown. [youtube]https://youtu.be/vgfLFLRXSdI[/youtube]TheAngriestCarp Nice. Destructoid articles no longer scroll on my tablet or phone. Who should I email about this?LinkSlayer64 Anybody like Rhythm games? I found a really cool one on itch.io, http://fizzd.itch.io/rhythm-doctor. I likes it, I likes it a lot! Although you gotta use Firefox due to lag caused by chrome unfortunately. CJ Andriessen Finding name brand candy in Chibi-Robo Zip Lash brings an unexpected joy that reminds me of finding Duracell batteries and other real products in the first Pikmin.techsupport Super Meat Boy must be one of the most difficult platinum trophies to exist for Playstation. Beat every dark world section without dying? Ha, okay.Pixie The Fairy Attention Craigslist users: No one wants your ps2 sports games no matter how much you repost them/drop the price, unless it's NBA Street, Def Jam Vendetta or SSX3. The rest are better used as drink coasters.Dr Mel If you imagine this song as Kojima speaking these as parting words to his creation of Metal Gear, it's actually pretty heat breaking...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9hagVL-__cTerry 309 It's my Birthday 22 today, Bleh!Virtua Kazama One thing I've learned about the Japanese fighting game players: They are willing to play any fighter no matter how good or bad it is, and they don't shit on the game or the community behind it.RadicalYoseph I killed Darth Vader by crashing a spaceship into him 10/10Parismio Watched the first ep of One Punch Man and I was not disappointed. It seems like they'll be adding their own stories into it because I don't remember that fight in the last 5 minutes in the manga. I'll have to reread it to make sure.Paul S What the hell is Sega using in the printing of their PS3 game manuals? I wouldn't be surprised if some dumb kid stuck one in a plastic bag and started huffing the fumes to get high.CeeDotGreen Been playing MGO obsessively, still can't find anyone in their right mind that uses the Hush Puppy. So of course I'm gonna be the dumb bastard that tries.TheAngriestCarp Why don't we have more games that use filtered 3D models to creat faux-pixel art? It's such a cool, smooth style, but you never see any games using it.OverlordZetta Oh lawd. Next Saturday, Gamestop will have three hour access to Tri-Force Heroes. Nintendo, really wish we could just get normal demos from you more often, please!MeanderBot I made this. Want one?
[IMG]HTTPS://WWW.filepicker.io/api/file/R6qVRmxaRwuXZFZG66b1[/IMG]JawshButturBawls Star Wars Battlefront is pretty good. Except the beta is basically a demo with nothing in it so that upsets me.
but it's still pretty good.