Let's get one thing straight, I really love Rick and Morty. Its mixture of abstract comedy and sci-fi really is something I really enjoy. I also love what Squanch games have done previously on PlayStations virtual reality platform. Accounting+, while being completely insane was a lot of fun, a great VR experience and something unlike anything else on PSVR. Fast forward to last years E3 where Trover Saves the Universe was announced, I was so excited to play another madcap VR title from Squanch Games.
Storywise, like most things from the disturbed mind of Justin Roiland, it is all extremely 'out there' and very funny. Don't get me wrong, you have to have a certain type of sense of humour to enjoy it but it really makes me laugh. You play both a Chairorpian and Trover, which sounds strange but it really works. If you look down you are a character sat in a chair with a controller in his or her hand. You use that controller to move Trover around the games many wacky landscapes.
You the Chairorpian and Trover, your unlikely partner, set off on a journey to rescue your dogs from Glorkon. Glorkon has stuffed them into his eyeholes and is using them to destroy the universe. It sounds insane and it really is, but its great fun, very peculiar and any Rick and Morty fan will enjoy it immensely. If you like uncanny stories and don't take things too seriously, you will really enjoy your time in this unique world. It's extremely amusing and very memorable.
This quirky title acts like two games in one, on one hand it's a 3D platformer and on the other its a VR interaction title where you press buttons and manipulate objects in a 3D space. Sat in your chair you must control Trover via many warp points and try to achieve whatever wacky goal is offered to you. Some of these goals are downright insane too. I got faeces thrown at me, met some insane characters and believe me when I say this, the whole adventure is extremely abstract but this was certainly expected from this developer.
These warp points are the focal point of all the levels you visit, each warp point warps your chair to it and each one acts as a separate 3D scene to navigate through. It sounds strange and its a bit weird at first but after a while, I realised that it really works with this game and its a very nice system. This becomes even better when you have unlocked a few chair and character upgrades to make navigation easier. Any player who has played a 3D platformer before will slide straight into the gameplay, it's simple yet entertaining.
Your right analog stick rotates your chair in increments left or right and also moves your chair up and down in the air once you have unlocked the ability, which is very early on in the game and changes the game completely. You use these functions to survey the area and navigate Trover around, jumping, fighting and solving some light puzzles. The combat is very light, simple combos and jumping attacks will fell most foes. The puzzles are also light on the difficulty but fun nonetheless.
Later in the game you get the ability to manipulate objects in the world, this is used for some light puzzle work and to access new areas. You move the items with your head and can move them closer or further from you with your D-Pad. The system works very well and manipulating objects is easy and fun to do. You can stack blocks, throw items at enemies and even use them to hit switches or other items. It works extremely well in a 3D space and suits this game perfectly.
Quite often when talking to characters in the world you are required to answer by shaking or nodding your head. It's only a small thing but it really makes you feel like you are part of the story and make you feel immersed in the world. The whole VR implementation of this game is very well done. The warp points, the fact that your sitting in a chair and the way the gameplay is set out lends itself to being a very comfortable VR experience. There's no VR messiness, no camera issues and zero tracking issues. It's all very smooth and functional on the VR front. I appreciated that a lot, messy VR games are not fun.
The levels are not just full of wacky characters and weird things to do. Scattered through each level are numerous collectables to find. Green power babies are used for health upgrades and they are everywhere, you must destroy objects, open doors and look everywhere to snaffle all of these little guys. You also have other upgrades to get, through story progression or from various vendors dotted through the world. You can also kill some of the NPC's in this game, which is always fun, especially when they are annoying. You will know who I am referring to when you play the game, he definately deserved to die.
Graphically, Trover saves the Universe is very good. It's very crisp, clear and bright. I think the cartoon art style helps a lot and VR games like this benefit by having simpler art direction. Due to the low resolution of the headset, an art style like this looks better in VR than a realistic one. The levels, characters and environments are all modelled well and look very pleasant. I really enjoyed navigating the worlds, meeting its characters and just being part of this wacky tale.
The sound design in this title is also very good, everything is very clear and concise. The voice acting is very familiar though as Justin Roiland does a lot of the voices, if you were to close your eyes it does sound like an episode of Rick and Morty. I would have liked a few more voice actors to try and make it sound less like the aforementioned cartoon series. It was distracting sometimes and as much as I like Rick and Morty I would have preferred Trover Saves the Universe to have its own audio identity. Thats only a little niggle though, overall the sound design was very good.