Justin Roiland is one of the co-creators of the hit show Rick and Morty. In 2016, Roiland helped found Squanch Games where he hopes to bring his brand of insane humor to the interactive space. Squanch Games’ first title is the VR-compatible Trover Saves The Universe. Last week at GDC, we went hands-on with Trover, and it left us doubled over… in a good way. Here are four reasons Rick and Morty fans should take note of Trover Saves The Universe.
Familiar absurdist humor
This is Trover’s strongest element, and Roiland’s expertise shines through the game. The story revolves around a maniacal alien named Glorkon who kidnaps your dogs and uses their life essence to fuel his scheme to destroy the universe. If that sounds absurd, that’s because it is. You are a silent protagonist who remains glued to an easy chair. However, you also have the ability to teleport around environments and control Trover, a purple creature who uses a lightsaber-like weapons to slice up any alien who stands between him and Glorkon. Much like Rick and Morty, Roiland’s expletive-ridden humor feels a bit improv-heavy, but these creatures’ creative insults had me repeatedly cracking up. At one point, while I was trying to solve a puzzle, Trover got frustrated with the puzzle and encouraged me to just smash down the door blocking my way. At other times, he would comment on my behavior, and enemies would react when Trover killed their friends. The game’s dialogue doesn’t seem to repeat itself, and every character in the game always has something new and funny to say.
Your choices matter
We know you’ve heard that a million times before, but Trover doesn’t promise an epic campaign with a morality meter and a massive branching narrative. Instead, NPCs respond to the smaller actions you take to comedic effect. At one point in my demo, a guy named Upgrade Tony asked me to kill a bunch of wild anklebiters. I saw several of these creatures behind a fence and made quick work of them. However, when I returned to Tony, he broke down crying and called me a monster because I had just killed his pets. Apparently, the anklebiters he was talking about were somewhere else. I could have gone to find these creatures instead and then Tony wouldn’t have been upset with me. Alternatively, I could have killed both Tony’s pets and the wild anklebiters and his commentary would change to reflect that as well.
The action isn’t offensive
Admittedly, this isn’t a glowing compliment, but humorous antics are the star of the show here, so I was willing to give Trover’s generic action a pass. Since Trover is designed to work in VR, all of the action takes place from fixed camera perspectives. With the tap of a button, you can fly into the air to get a bird’s eye view on the action, but movement is still limited. The action is also fairly simplistic. Trover doesn’t have any interesting combos, and I got through most encounters by simply mashing on the attack button. Fortunately, the controls are responsive and some simple platforming challenges help break up the action.
VR is comfortable and optional
As I said before, Trover Saves The Universe is built with VR in mind; you move between predetermined points within the world. Thankfully, these transitions aren’t jarring. I rarely use VR, but I had no problem with any queasiness. Squanch Games doesn’t employ any fancy VR tricks, but that means this isn’t really a game you “need” to play in VR. Naturally, VR helps immerse you into the world, but the best part of Trover is its humor and that remains the same no matter how you absorb the rest of the game. If you have a VR headset, you can jump between VR and TV modes on the fly.
Trover Saves the Universe launches on PlayStation 4 on May 31 and on PC on June 4 via both the Epic Game Store and Steam. All versions of the game sell for $29.99, and based on our early look, that seems like a reasonable price.
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