There have been a number of attempts to get the point and click genre to connect with both modern day gamers and to fit onto consoles in a more natural way. Stick it to the Man is the latest game to try and add a bit more adventure to our lives and does so with some platform elements, a bunch of stickers and a strange alien spaghetti hand.
The somewhat crazy story follows the character of safety helmet tester Ray. One day on his way home a strange canister drops out of the sky and hits him on the head. The canister contains a strange little alien named Ted (Who looks a bit like a cute Krang from the Turtles cartoon). Ted hides inside Ray’s brain and grants him the power to read people’s minds via a giant alien spaghetti arm he now has growing out of his head.
It sounds odd and it is, invoking more than a few memories of Psychonaughts in terms of style and tone. Ray must use his new powers to escape the people who are hunting him and find out what has happened to his girlfriend. This is done via a combination of light platforming sections and using the hand to read people’s minds, find out what they want and then slapping the appropriate sticker into their thought bubble.
The graphical style of the game represents the world in a pop-up book style. Characters are paper thin and everything comes across like a twisted comic book. It’s a style that works really well and it helps to add charm and humour to the already excellent script and characters. Stripping the outside of buildings off like paper to reveal what’s going on inside in a particularly nice touch.
The game is 2D and has Ray move around a set map. Around the map are agents looking to capture him and this is where the platforming comes in. You can use Ray’s alien hand to grab hold of drawing pins and pull him to different places. Using this ability and a combination of stickers that make agents fall asleep or become confused, you have to make your way undetected past the goons to the next area. Being caught results in restarting from a nearby checkpoint so though the controls can be a little bit loose it never caused us any frustration.
The puzzles for the most part are fairly logical (at least within the logic of the world), and we never came across anything that had us stumped or frustrated for a massive amount of time. The only slightly odd puzzles that are likely to stop you dead are when you need to get people to follow you. One in the mental asylum springs to mind where a character repeatedly said that an object would be perfect for her cat but actually needed to be led somewhere else.
Puzzles generally involve reading a characters mind which creates a thought bubble. From here it’s all about grabbing stickers from people’s thoughts and taking them to the appropriate place to use them. This is what you’ll be doing for the bulk of your time and it’s a testament to the design that it doesn’t feel like one giant fetch quest (which effectively all point and click adventures are).
Stick it to the Man isn’t massively long but it offers up an inventive and fun adventure that you can’t help but like. It came as a nice surprise as we hadn’t really heard much about the game before. What we have here is a combination of a good script and some fun play mechanics which create a fairly unique title. If you’re looking for something a little different or want to test out your puzzle solving skills then this could be the game for you.