Delightfully dark, weird and slightly xenophobic, “Stick it to the Man!” is a 2D side-scrolling platformer with a classic feel and modern features. The game itself sees the player assuming the role of “Ray” – a hapless individual who wakes up one day to find his world turned upside down in more ways than one. Quite inexplicably, Ray discovers that there’s a 16’ pink “spaghetti arm” sticking out of his head which also grants the power to read the minds of other characters. Where other titles might rely on various combat mechanics to flesh out the gameplay, developer Zoink! has instead created a sort of hybrid puzzle-based platformer / dark comedy experience.
Almost immediately, you’ll be sucked into the action by way of the game’s very charming art style, which fuses cartoon-style, paper pastel-like visuals with choppy animations and great audio. Rather than placing most of its focus on some generic story and then aimlessly presenting players with tricky combat (as is the case with many others), “Stick it to the Man!” immerses you in its weirdness. Seriously, you never know what you might come across in this fantastically strange platformer.
Of course it’s the mind-reading ability of Ray’s newly acquired pink arm that grants him the ability to achieve forward progress here. Being the benevolent person that he is, Ray can simply read people’s minds and uncover their innermost thought, which often leads to completing a number of other objectives. While it might sound like a rather dull formula, it’s anything but that. The way the story, gameplay and visuals are all tied together presents you with a seamless presentation that’s extremely entertaining.
For a 2D side-scroller, SittM! is both a throwback as well as a fresh concept, a rare diamond in the rough, as they say. Even though you are being pursued by “The Man” (i.e. – shadowy clandestine government agent types), the main focus of the title appears to be its puzzles. Again, the use of the mind-reading pink arm is not only novel but freshly forward-thinking, adding another dimension to the gameplay. Part of the fun here is in simply exploring the world. Even though it’s decidedly 2D, it does give off a certain 3D ambiance thanks to great work from the game’s artists. Truly, this title offers up more of an experience than your typical shoot ‘em up game.
Whether you’re a retro gaming enthusiast or a modern RPG addict, you’ll love “Stick it to the Man!”. Again, Zoink! is working with a somewhat fresh gameplay concept here that places little emphasis on violence instead directing our attention toward storytelling. In the end, this makes the entire experience feel like an interactive cartoon of sorts. If you’re after a game for the PS4 that will simply take you on a weird, yet strangely pleasurable ride, definitely don’t miss “Stick it to the Man!” (Released April 30th in the UK for the PS4, and May 6th in the US.)
Rating – 8
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