Plumbus Not Included
HIGH One of the funniest games ever made for those into Justin Roiland’s style…
LOW …And a fairly mundane platformer for everyone else.
WTF There’s so much WTF here.
Trover Saves The Universe isn’t a Rick & Morty game, but it might as well be. It’s developed by Squanch Games, which is co-founded by Rick & Morty co-creator Justin Roiland, who also happens to be the lead writer and actor on the project.
Trover features a science fiction setting in a universe that absolutely looks like something Rick and/or Morty could step into at any second. The main character sounds like Morty, and all the bad guys sound like Rick. Given how love-it-or-hate-it the show tends to be, that should be all one needs to know before deciding to play this game. Despite having the most toxic fanbase this side of the UFC, I happen to think Rick & Morty is hilarious, so I was completely down to give this one a shot on my own dime.
The player doesn’t actually play as Trover, but rather as a silent Chairopian — they’re a race of aliens permanently sitting in floating La-Z-Boy recliners. While walking their two dogs, the Chairorpian has them stolen by the evil Glorkon, who then inserts them into his eye sockets (a common theme in this universe), thus granting him god-like powers. Why? I don’t know, stop asking questions. Trover is dispatched to bring the now-dogless Chairopian into custody, some stuff happens, and then they need to team up and, well, save the universe.
It’s definitely not going to change anyone’s mind about Justin Roiland’s extremely…umm…distinct sense of humor, but fans of his previous work will find Trover to be an absolute laugh riot while traversing the world and generally doing a lot of truly horrible things along the way. Being genuinely funny is one of the more difficult accomplishments to achieve in games — so few are, but Trover Saves The Universe is one of the few. It’s absolutely packed with optional dialogue, and the player can just sit and listen to the characters say ridiculous things long after they’ve been given their objective, which is something I did frequently.
While primarily designed for VR in mind, Trover Saves The Universe has the option of playing without, which works well enough for those who want to laugh without surrounding themselves in wires or potentially being scared by a cat looking for cuddles.
Trover is primarily an action-platformer where the player, as the Chairopian from a first-person perspective, is controlling Trover with a controller they are holding on-screen at all times. The player themselves can’t move, but they do teleport between nodes. Early on, the Chairopian also gets an upgrade allowing him to rise upward to provide a better vantage point.
The combat, jumping and various block puzzles are all “good enough”, but anyone looking for the depth of something like Ratchet & Clank won’t find it here. Trover has a simple three-hit sword combo and a down attack after jumping, and even before the relatively short campaign was over, the combat was starting to feel monotonous. Luckily, the jokes come at a blistering pace, and they’re the reason to play. With that said, the experience is helped with a colorful style pulled straight from Roiland’s TV show, and it’s accompanied by a breezy, catchy electronic score.
Trover Saves The Universe isn’t content-heavy, but the developers have stated they intend to support it with free DLC. In exchange, they will not be discounting the $30 pricetag anytime soon. I appreciate this honesty in their messaging, and look forward to checking it out in the future as someone who paid full price for it on day one — It’ll be nice not to feel like a sucker, as nobody likes to see their purchase 30% off a month after release.
As far as my advice goes, it’s simple — for those who dig Rick & Morty, this is a must-buy, even if one doesn’t own a VR headset. Those who think the show is over-hyped, unfunny nonsense should stay as far away from it as possible. The gameplay or VR implementation isn’t anything earth-shattering, but as a delivery mechanism for Justin Roiland’s humor, Trover Saves The Universe is a fantastic success.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Squanch Games. It is currently available on PS4, Steam, The Oculus Store, and The Epic Store. It is compatible with Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, HTC Vive, and PSVR if playing on a PS4, but can also be played without a VR headset using a standard controller. This copy of the game was obtained via paid download and reviewed on the PC (but not using a headset) with a GTX 1060, a Core i7-7700, and 16GB of RAM, which was able to run the game on max setting at 1080p with 60FPS. An estimated 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M For Mature, featuring Blood and Gore, Violence, Drug References, Mature Humor, and Strong Language. This game is all kinds of foul, from exploding enemies to potentially offensive situations and an incredibly lewd script. Probably best to keep this one out of the hands of kids. The game does have an option to censor parts of it, but no options for parental controls.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The story is told through voiced dialogue with accompanying subtitles, so they’re shouldn’t be any issues understanding the narrative, but a lot of the humor in Justin Roiland’s work is portrayed in how the dialogue is spoken, so it may not be as humorous for those who can’t hear it. The game features no necessary audio cues, so players should be able to get through it without any problems. The subtitles are not resizable and feature no color options.
Remappable Controls: This game’s controls are partially remappable. While various supported controllers are not remappable, the game is remappable if playing with a mouse & keyboard. The game is able to be played on PC with multiple types of controllers, and each controller is given its own layout page in the controls section of the menu. While being given the option to remap the controllers on M&K is nice, this kind of game is definitely meant to be played with a controller.
In search of a dramatic change of pace, he sold everything he had (including 950 videogames) and shipped off to Asia where he's taught English and lived in Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, and now China.
He still loves his games, priding himself in his varied taste and playing everything from Disgaea to Madden. After getting a taste of the glitz of Beijing last year working at a Chinese mobile game developer, Jarrod went back to teaching and currently works in Qitaihe, Heilongjiang provide where the weather is cold and the noodles are poppin'.
Jarrod used to write for sites like GamesRadar where he had the esteemed pleasure of reviewing Wii ports and PS Move launch games for peanuts. After a multi-year hiatus, he is happy to get back into reviews with GameCritics.
...He read the site as a kid, which should make Brad, Mike, and Daniel feel old as hell, considering he's almost 30.