Also On: PS3
Humor in video games has long been a dicey proposition. I know I'm not the first person to say that, but it bears repeating. After all, "funny" is arguably the most subjective term there is; what one person finds hilarious, another may find terribly stupid or annoying. I mean, if there are people who don't think Portal 2 is funny (I'm not saying it isn't, but odds are good there's someone that deluded out there), then it's understandable why games generally shy away aiming for the funny bone.
As you've probably guessed by now, Stick It To The Man is a funny game (or, at least, it wants to be one). Considering its genre — adventure and puzzles, with a little bit of platforming thrown in for good measure — this should hardly come as a surprise, as adventure games have generally been the exception to the whole "games aren't funny" notion. Not only that, the game was penned by Adventure Time writer Ryan North (who is also responsible for one of the funniest things ever, the webcomic Dinosaur Comics), so it's got a good pedigree from that perspective, too.
So, does it succeed? Again, that comes down to subjective notions of funniness, but as far as I'm concerned, for the most part it it does. I mean, it's no Portal 2, but if that's the standard, then nothing would be. Stick It To The Man has a nice mix of jokes, ranging from (among many, many other things) oddly specific fortune cookies, to the main character's job being a hardhat tester, to a lobotomy-loving ghost, and more often than not, they stick.
Of course, even if the game was the funniest thing ever made, the jokes wouldn't matter if the gameplay sucked. Thankfully, developers Zoink! realized this, and made sure that one of the game's funnier aspects — the fact the main character has a giant pink hand sticking out of his head — also worked as one of the key game mechanics. You can use the hand to read people's thoughts, grab important puzzle pieces, and jump up and down to particularly hard to reach places. Even if they missed out on the opportunity to incorporate the Vita's touchscreen capabilities into that mechanic, considering how well it all works, it's hard to complain too much.
On a similarly positive note, the graphics are fantastic, if a little dark at times. Much Tearaway, Stick It To The Man looks like it was pasted together with pieces of paper — though, at the same time, it looks nothing like Media Molecule's GOTY candidate. Stick It To The Man inhabits a darker, murkier world, but at the same time, one that's still vibrant and alive in its own twisted way.
Which is to say: Stick It To The Man may aim to make you laugh, but it's the gameplay and the graphics that make it worth a purchase. If it were just a funny game, I'd say people should pick it up at their own risk (i.e. if you think Dinosaur Comics or Adventure Time are irredeemably stupid, you may have some issues with it). Because it's fun regardless of whether you share its sense of humor, however, that's what elevates it to being one of the PS Vita's best games of the year.