Stick It To The Stickman PAX Demo
Stick It To The Stickman is a game that shines a light upon many young gamers. Sometimes, work sucks. As someone who has worked a dead-end job for almost a decade before having the gall to put my foot down and say "enough is enough," there was never a day where I didn't want to be there. Anyone who has worked for a chain retail store knows the routine. Your boss provides favoritism to certain employees despite doing your best, at times even outworking your employees. You're not being paid enough for the amount of labor you're committing to.
Sometimes, your hours get cut due to "downsizing" and other lame excuses because "there's no one better at doing your job." Well, "enough is enough," you say as you decide to get even. Using the bathroom on "company time," adding your fifteen to your break after you're already clocked in from lunch, doing what's asked of you, and nothing more. Eventually, you start to realize how to cheat the system made to put a minor grunt like you on the ground.
What if you could, however, go the extra mile and just give your most hated co-worker a swift Shoryuken to the jaw? Maybe even reenact Evo Moment #37 whenever a customer gives you an attitude and you parry it? Why stop there, why not fire your boss instead and see how they like it!? In Stick It To The Stickman, you can live out your dreams as a disgruntled salaryman and take vengeance in a cartoonishly violent fashion.
Before the game begins, Free Lives shows off their humor by asking the player the simple question of if they want a job. If you decline, the game will set a scene where you have no money for food, lights, electricity, and your sick daughter. Continue to decline and the game will guilt trip you with higher stakes until your daughter eats you and you die. Game Over.
Yes, the game can be over before it even begins in a way that Paper Mario established. To drive the point home, the game even kicks you out and shuts down. It left this reviewer staring at their Steam page stunned followed by laughter. If you actually do accept your job, you are tasked to fire your best friend who helped put in a word for you to begin with. As you're beating up your friend, pleading for his job, he asks if you're down for Fortnite later. To which you respond "Sure why not," after all work business stays in the workforce right?
The gameplay is a roguelite where you climb the corporate ladder, literally, by fighting your co-workers, supervisors, and assistant managers as you ascend the building. Occasionally you'll learn new attacks and upgrades for said attacks, which will make your progression easier or difficult depending on your loadout. I found that the Point > You're Fired > Downsizing attack was really good at stun locking enemies, while the force levitation prevented surrounding enemies from attacking you.
I mentioned a "Shoryuken" and yes, you can indeed learn a "Shoryuken." You can also learn Liu Kang's Bicycle Kicks, a Hadouken with the intensity of a Marvel VS Capcom title, and other attacks referring to pop culture. As with most roguelites, your health is set up so that you'll lose if you're not prepared. There are health pickups scattered around and it's enough to survive, but just as powerful as you can become, your progress can go up in smoke.
Eventually, I made it to the top of the building and defeated the CEO, making me the CEO of the company. I decided to drill my heel in their face, push them off the building, and raised the minimum wage for everyone. While I was told my "shareholders" wouldn't like it, I decided to be a good CEO and set an example for my empire!
Of course, this just means you unlock certain classes and now have to run the gauntlet again. Overall, Stick It To The Stickman is up there with other "stick games" like One Finger Death Punch where despite "stick figures," there are loads of fun gameplay and animations to experience.
Stick It To The Stickman releases on PC later in 2023. Players can wishlist the game on Steam right now.