Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland was quick to establish himself in the virtual reality space, lending his voice to Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality, and starting his own development studio called Squanch Games that made the well-received Accounting. The latest effort from Squanch Games, Trover Saves the Universe, is the studio's biggest game yet, and while the gameplay is a little too basic at times, it provides non-stop laughs for fans of Roiland's humor.
Whether or not one is a fan of Roiland's style of improvisational, fast-talking humor will largely determine how much they like Trover Saves the Universe. The game is full of gross-out jokes, sci-fi references, and non-stop dialogue from all sorts of bizarre characters. Rick and Morty fans will likely find Trover Saves the Universe to be hilarious, but those who aren't a fan of Roiland's past work won't be won over here.
Everything about Trover Saves the Universe is absurd. Players take control of a "chairopian" - a being that spends their entire life in a chair - while adventuring across the galaxy with a purple humanoid named Trover. Trover, it just so happens, has little creatures stuffed in his eye sockets called "power babies" that play a key role in the story and gameplay of Trover Saves the Universe. Through these creatures, the chairopian is able to control Trover with a device that looks exactly like a DualShock 4 controller, as well as apply various upgrades that make combat and exploration easier.
Beyond the insane premise, Trover Saves the Universe plays as a very basic 3D platformer, with some equally basic hack-and-slash gameplay and puzzle-solving sprinkled in. Players explore colorful (and often disgusting) worlds, collecting more power babies to boost Trover's health, completing tasks for NPCs, jumping over gaps, etc. The game never does anything to strive above providing the bare minimum of what one expects from a 3D platformer, but everything works and there's not necessarily anything wrong with going back to the basics.
Players will have the most fun in Trover Saves the Universe exploring the levels and finding collectibles. Collectibles will also be the main reason why players return to the game, though there are also some branching paths that encourage replayability as well. One of the earliest examples of this is a level where players have to choose between killing an annoying flying imp thing named Mr. Pop-Up or killing his abhorrent neighbor Michael. While Mr. Pop-Up may be irritating, Michael is a genuinely evil person, but killing him means taking a number of innocent lives (a house full of pregnant women) with him.
Most of the NPCs in Trover Saves the Universe are purposefully annoying, and so it's lucky all of them can be killed by the player, one way or another. Despite their grating personalities, though, going to a new level is exciting because it's always fun to see what kind of strange character Roiland and his team at Squanch Games dreamed up for the next stage.
Players are able to interact directly with these NPCs by nodding their heads "yes" or shaking their heads "no" to certain questions, which goes a long way in helping players feel immersed in the world. However, this isn't the only use of head-tracking in Trover Saves the Universe.
Trover Saves the Universe also uses head-tracking when it comes to interacting with certain objects in the environment. While Trover does most of the heavy-lifting, the player character chairopian also gets upgrades that can improve their abilities as well, including a beam that lets them pick things up. Players then use their heads to move the objects, but we found our natural instinct was to use the right stick instead. There are a couple of times where players are also required to strain their neck to drag objects to a certain place, which was uncomfortable, but thankfully not a frequent issue.
The head-tracking makes the combat a lot more interesting in the late stages of the game, as the chairopian can grab enemy weapons and throw them back at them while Trover hacks and slashes. Mixing up the telekinesis throws with Trover's attacks can make for a fun time, and it's when the combat is at its best.
Unfortunately, players go most of Trover Saves the Universe without this ability, and so the combat is boring for most of the game. Since the game is brain-dead easy, there is no real stakes in the battles, and there are only a few different enemy types that players will fight over and over again. These enemies are all dumb and predictable, so there is no challenge or sense of accomplishment when defeating them.
Luckily, Trover Saves the Universe is worth playing regardless of the uninspired combat. Players won't be compelled to stick with it for the barebones gameplay, but rather, to see where the story goes and what crazy character they will encounter next. It's certainly not the most engaging game from a gameplay standpoint, but its story and humor will make it difficult for anyone to quit before they reach its unexpected conclusion.
Trover Saves the Universe is out now for PC and PS4. Game Rant reviewed the game on PS4 using PlayStation Vr.