Before anyone picks up a copy of Trover Saves The Universe they should ask themselves two very pertinent questions.
The first of these is: just how big a fan of Rick & Morty are you? As one would expect from a game created by the show’s co-creator Justin Roiland, Trover Saves The Universe is jammed to the rafters with jokes – and a lot of them are very funny indeed – but it shares R&M’s bizarre and at times dark, bordering on nihilistic, sense of humour. Since this game’s main draw is as an interactive comedy – it certainly isn’t the gameplay (and more on that in a minute) – if Rick & Morty has never appealed to you, you might want to give this game a swerve.
The second question in need of answering is: do you have a PS VR or, at least access to one? If the answer is ‘no’, don’t fret because this isn’t exactly a deal-breaker. It’s perfectly serviceable without the PS VR, but it’s harder to offer a cast iron recommendation. The optimum way to experience Trover Saves The Universe is with the console’s VR headset since players can use head movements as well as the joypad controls, which allows them to track the in-game action a lot better as well as discover a lot of its hidden content.
We’re going to go ahead and assume that anyone still reading this has answered ‘yes’ to both questions, and if you’ve answered ‘no’ to the second one, you’re still enough of a fan of Roiland’s work that you fancy checking out the game anyway. So without further ado, here’s what you can expect once you offer up the requisite shekels.
The game’s universe is as bonkers as fans would expect. Players take on the role of a ‘Chairorpian’ a member of a race of aliens who are bound to their floating chairs and only able to move using the joypads in their laps (yes, really).
The game begins with its main villain, Glorkon, kidnapping your beloved pair of canines and stuffing them into his eye-sockets. This in turn (we’re not making this up) puts the entire universe at the mercy of his evil powers. However, help is at hand in the form of Trover, a purple alien with a pair of baby aliens for eyes (not kidding) who also happens to be handy with a lightsaber. Or a light sword. Or a beam katana. Or whatever the hell it is. Hilarity ensues.
Maybe calling Trover ‘handy’ with his chosen weapon is something of an understatement. He’s more of a walking slaughterhouse thanks to the fact the game’s combat is hardly what one would call challenging. As the game progresses it’s possible to pick up more upgrades for Trover – including a dodge-roll, a heavy attack and the ability for the Chairorpian (that would be you) to throw objects at targets – but these additions feel more like options rather than necessities to progression. You will get by for the most part with button-mashing.
The remainder of what could be described as the player’s interaction with this world is summed up in puzzle solving and platforming. Neither are going to tax the player’s grey matter or test their skill levels too much, but Trover Saves The Universe offers up a neat twist to the proceedings that makes canny use of the PS VR’s immersive potential.
See, while the Chairorpian controls Trover, they don’t see everything from his immediate perspective as is the case in most games of this type. Instead, they’re usually quite far behind the action in a chair, unless there’s a warp node nearby that they can teleport to. Early on in the game, the Chairorpian gets an upgrade to their chair, which allows them to float higher, locking in on three distinct elevation levels. This allows them to get a better vantage point on fights and platforming, as well as spot collectibles (although this is easier if they’re using the VR headset).
It’s a unique feature, although, much like the rest of the game’s mechanics, it’s hardly earth-shattering. But then, as was mentioned earlier Trover Saves The Universe’s main draw isn’t its gameplay or even it’s length; the game clocks in about five to six hours. No, it’s the world, characters and story it serves up, underpinned by the sort of gags that made Rick & Morty into a hit series.
It’s here that Roiland’s fingerprints are all over the place, from the weird, colourful environments to the rambling dialogue that feels half improvised (and probably is) to the jokes that run the gamut from risqué, to toilet humour, to bodily fluids, to cynical nihilism and even death – this is probably the only game in which players earn power-ups by flushing blue babies down a loo. Trover Saves The Universe even takes time to poke fun at the gaming medium; when faced with a puzzle they’re stuck Trover asks “why don’t we go online”? as a solution.
Squanch Games and Roiland have managed to make every Day-Glo universe feel rich with personality and even though most of the characters come across as colourful blobs, each one of them feels distinct; if players fancy it, that can hang out behind the odd couple of NPCs and listen to them ramble on at length. Depending on whether they’re on board with Roiland’s brand of comedy, they’ll either be in stitches or shaking their heads at the self-indulgence of it all.
And really, that’s the clincher; this game is fan service for the R&M faithful and preferably those who own a PS VR. That’s admittedly a rather narrow dynamic, but hell if Squanch Games and Roiland don’t nail it to the floor. Skip back to the top of this review. How did you answer the first two questions? Make your purchasing decision accordingly.
Last Updated: June 21, 2019