Stick it to the Man PS3 Review
I have no idea what I just played. I feel dumber having played it. I got that it would be a strange game with a bizarre storyline, but I had no idea the entire game would revolve around listening to the thoughts of zombies, creepy old people and a pregnant man. There’s also a fair bit of ripping peoples smiling mouths off and slapping them onto depressed, suicidal people, all with a ‘giant spaghetti hand’ reaching out of ‘Ray’s’ cardboard head which by the way contains an alien called ‘Ted’ who talks in a strange voice that everyone will do at some point in their lives, where you put your tongue to the back of your mouth and speak as deeply as possible. Go on, try it.
In the world of Stick it to the Man every person and thing is a cardboard cut-out, or a funky little drawing on a cardboard cut-out. It’s almost always night-time and most people look like Barny from The Simpsons, even the women, but their heads split into two when they speak like Terrance and Phillip from South Park. The art-style is unique to say the least. At the risk of sounding weird, I love how the body parts bend and rearrange themselves to show different expressions and actions. Even arms and legs bend in ways a humans could not, as if there are no bones in them at all. The funky animations and art-style compliment the steadily paced humour in such a way that keeps you feeling somewhere between amused and mentally disturbed.
Jumping and climbing your way through each area is fun and occasionally tricky, but the true challenge lies in finding the correct ‘sticker’ to interact with a character or object. Each sticker found will have its own purpose that will often reward you with another sticker with another use. Stickers can be found lying about the level, or can be taken from a characters thought bubble after hearing them talk. In order to follow the story and make your way through each chapter, you need to collect almost all of the stickers and use them where they are needed. For example, someone constantly thinking about how beautiful their teeth are may provide you with a sticker that can be inserted into the mouth of depressed guy with no teeth/reason to live. Despite your selfish intentions of finding your girlfriend and removing the alien from your brain, you find yourself helping everyone you come across in one way or another, apart from those you steal items and body parts from in order to please others of course.
Every now and then you come across a group of ‘Agents’ sent to find Ray by ‘The Man’, who wishes to steal the brain-alien/spaghetti hand in order to molester people’s houses, for some reason. Once in an agent’s line of sight, a dotted line will quickly appear on screen indicating that an agent will soon spot you and begin his pursuit. If caught, you will reappear back at the last checkpoint; a printing machine of some sort. If you manage to make it past the agents and reach a specific point, they will return to their post and you will be free to continue. When close enough and out of view, you can read the minds of agents which will often create a sleepy sticker or a sticker of Ray’s face, both of which can be slapped onto an agent to send them to sleep or attract other agents to the area, creating a safe passage if used correctly.
You will spend most of your time listening to people’s thoughts. Everyone talks about very strange things as you can expect; I wish I wrote down half of the things I imagine doing on a daily basis. Reading thoughts can be done by holding a back button and latching onto a brain in the same way as grabbing stickers. You definitely need to be patient with this game as people talk incredibly slowly. Speech can be sped up or skipped, but, without listening to what people have to say, you won’t know or care what’s happening to the people you are helping.
If there’s one thing I loved about Stick it to the Man, it’s the music. Kenny Rogers’s ‘My Condition’ is the main theme (from Driver 2 if I recall) which seems appropriate. The music is just as fun and funky as the art style, but slowly becomes more serious as you reach the final chapters. All of the sound effects and voice acting is also very impressive, with some voice actors playing around ten different characters each, but you rarely notice any repetitive voices.
Generally, Stick it to the Man is an amusing and bizarre story with some very nice details and tricky sections, but the odd little bit becomes a little tedious when running back and forth with little idea of where to go. Sometimes you may not see a platform due to the misleading camera angle, or may miss a sticker slot because of a similar coloured background. You may even encounter a game breaking bug such as not being able to read peoples minds, that you will not only need to quit the level to fix, but the entire game (though I’m sure these will be fixed soon). If it wasn’t for the ‘puzzles’ being a little too trial-and-error, I would say I loved this game. The art style is original, the story is interesting and the characters are hilarious and so excellently voiced. I recommend this game to anyone who loves a good comedy and has a little patience.