Stick it to the Man is a bazar, cartoony side-scroller by Zoink.
I've experienced many bizarre video-games over the years, but none of them quite match the strangeness of Stick it to the Man, a small 2D platformer by indie developer, Zoink!. It's story-telling is completely bonkers, following a yellow-skinned hard-hat tester, named Ray. The prologue sees you heading home from work, when suddenly, a mysterious canister plummets from the sky, landing straight on Ray's noggin. This is when his life turns completely weird. Awaking from a concussion, Ray freaks out to a glowing, purple hand hanging from his head. If that's not bad enough, he's also wanted by a shadowy figure, known only as "The Man".
It's the aesthetics that truly make the experience a memorable one. The art direction is crafted entirely using paper, cardboard and stickers. Characters, including Ray, are made of a paper-like material, whilst the environment is designed with cardboard cut-outs. It never looks drab either. Scenery is always bold, and it's all complimented with beautiful neon, which bounces off various backdrops. It's an eye catching style, and one that suits it's absurd nature extremely well. Platforming plays a big role in the overall experience. You'll traverse back and forth along the screen, as well as reaching higher platforms. Yet, the majority of your time will be spent puzzle solving, as you try to help various characters who are in need of assistance. These simply have you various certain stickers, then slapping them over the correct area. It's mostly a point-and-click affair, which never poses much brainpower. However, they never seem dull to solve, mostly due to it's quirky humour and scenarios.
Could you give me a hand ?
Ray's glowing hand makes great use of the mechanics. Whether it's swinging along push pins, picking up objects, or pealing back stickers to discover hidden characters. The most interesting ability, though, is the power to read people's thoughts. Doing so allows you to eavesdrop on what people are thinking, which can help you towards solving their needs. A lot of it's quirky dialogue is also presented here, so it's always a delight to listen in on the various characters and animals as you venture on.
On most levels, unfriendly guards, armed with stun guns, are out to catch you. There's no actual combat system here, so most of the time, your left running away from danger. Ray does have some fighting chance, though. Some stickers allows you to slow down and distract foes. Whether it's slapping a decoy sticker over an enemies face, or snatching a sleeping sticker from a yawning guard. It's a funny skill-set, and one that provides some strategy to the mix.
Stick It To The Man is a great example how imaginative the indie genre can be. It's not a huge game, lasting roughly four hours. Yet, it's a memorable one, due to it's unique art direction and quirky humour. It's worth a play, and something that'll probably stick in your mind for quite some time.