Stick It To The Man’s unabashed insanity is its saving grace.
Though it took trudging through a serviceable yet tedious adventure game adjoined to an awkward platformer, developer Zoink’s oddball game about a dude who suddenly finds he can read people’s minds is so consistently amusing and clever that I found I rarely cared that I was only playing for the writing.
In a lot of ways Stick It To The Man is really refreshing. Few games venture into the realm of comedy, but Zoink jumps in head first with no reservations. Every line and character is progressively more absurd than the last, with each joke zipping by so fast you might miss it if you aren’t paying attention but making it easy to enjoy the ride due to having little time to actually dissect what’s going on.
If you were to break it down I doubt Stick It To The Man would elicit much more than a chuckle, but it’s how fully embedded it is in its ridiculous plot and satirical commentary that makes it all work. Every time I started the game it would take a moment to adjust to its outrageous style of humor, but a few minutes later I’d be sticking stickers all over things they don’t belong on and having an immensely good time watching the chaos unfold. Stick It To The Man is like a roller coaster that only goes up, with the stakes and quality of gags getting more and more insane the longer the game goes on even as you’re waiting for it to all come falling apart.
That’s not to imply Stick It To The Man is a particularly long game, clocking in around 3-4 hours, but it’s so densely packed that I think that’s all I could realistically take. It often felt like I’d been playing longer than I actually had simply do to how much stuff was always happening and continuing to happen even while I was trying to comprehend the scene before. It’s frankly a little exhausting to play, but in a way that makes you glad for its brevity because it ends right when you want it to.
There’s undeniably a lot of Stick It To The Man that’s little more than functional boredom, whether it’s the dull and obtuse puzzle designs or the few aggravating times you come across an enemy and have to manage the clumsy platforming controls to avoid them. There are only a few instances of this sprinkled throughout the game yet each always longer and worse than the last time you came across one. These scenes might work on a technical level, but there’s never any need for them to have been included.
But then everything circles around again to how delightfully written Stick It To The Man is even at its worst moments, and how that was more than enough to counteract its mechanical deficiencies for me. It’s as stupid as it is clever and delivered with enough style to make even the most cringeworthy joke work. Even though I can’t say I had a lot of fun playing Stick It To The Man, I was more than happy to spend some time reading the minds of its terrible, oh so entertaining hooligans.