Hey, don’t start getting any ideas, ok! Just shut the fuck up and read this review. What, you don’t want…to…to read a review about Trover Saves the Universe? I don’t give a shit what you want! Who’s the one in charge here? That’s right *burp* me! So why don’t you just sit the hell down, on your little…doingle, and read this fucking review, ok?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
After Squanchgames first outing with Rick and Morty Virtual-Rickality, it left me wanting for a more complete Rick and Morty inspired game. Thankfully, Squanchgames isn’t just a one trick plumbus, and was able to come up with a follow-up game: Trover Saves the Universe, a title that builds off of a few already successful PlayStation VR games while adding the flair of the one and only Justin Roiland. In it, you play Trover. Well, not really. It’s more like you control Trover, your purple eye-hole monster companion. You actually play as a Chairorpien, who as the name suggests, is bound to a floating chair the entire game and it is this absurd premise that binds how the main game mechanics function.
As the PlayStation VR doesn’t feature the best controlled movement compared to other VR systems, the games that make the best use of it find ways around this limitation. Astro Bot Rescue Mission, for example, doesn’t allow for any control of the camera directly, except for what the VR helmet is able to track. The remainder of the camera’s movements is bound by Astro Bot himself progressing forward and the camera simply following him. Trover attempts to bring some of this control back by restricting your camera’s movements to pre-determined telepads. The player can look around, move up and down, but you can’t move your physical self forwards or backward until Trover walks over another telepath and allows you to move forward. At first, this mechanic seems very restrictive, leaving me wanting to have greater freedom to control the camera, which was only exacerbated by the slow pace that the first level moved at. But shortly after, upon entering the second level where most of the game mechanics start to take shape, I quickly enjoyed the well-placed scenarios that wouldn’t have been possible with a more open camera system.
What sets Trover Saves the Universe apart from most games is the dialogue. It’s not how well crafted it is, or even how funny it is—although that certainly plays a large part—it’s how it adapts to what you are doing. Many times you will interact with characters, and depending on what you do while they are talking, they may interject or adjust what they are saying.
In the third main level of the game, you are greeted by two Abstainer clones (the main fodder in the game) sitting upon a castle talking back and forth. As you get closer you can listen in on the conversation they are having between each other. If you choose not to get close enough for them to see you, they will just keep talking about whatever nonsensical dialogue they may have. But the second you enter their view? It shifts, and they immediately comment on you being there and taunting you on how you won’t be able to get into the castle. At this point in the game, you also have the ability to float up and down in your chair, and once again, doing so initiates a different dialogue, causing the two Abstainers to comment, “Whoa, look at you popping up there!” and quickly remind you how you won’t get into the castle, before returning to their original discussion. In fact, some of the best moments of the game are where I chose to simply allow the dialogue to play out and hear the hilarity between the character’s exchanges or returning to a set of characters later who now comment on your sudden reappearance.
It is here where Trover Saves the Universe shines and feels almost like an interactive episode of Rick and Morty. The characters are unique but have the same idiotic charm that Justin Roiland is known for creating, while also placing you in situations that elicit colorful conversation. Do you want to sit back and listen to two Abstainer clones discuss allowing one to stick its entire leg up the other’s ass and only agreeing to do it if the other allows him to do it as well, or some of Trover’s ex-roommate Gale’s stories of what he asked Trover to do for him and how he still owes $24 dollars for rent that one time? Because that is what this game is best at: the exchange between the characters and the absurd dialogue that will leave you audibly laughing–a tough task for any game to achieve and yet this one does it in strides.
While the dialogue remains some of the best, the combat and platforming are somewhat lackluster. Combat consists of a simple three attack combo for the majority of the game, and with only around 8 different types of enemies, it can feel repetitive quite fast. Thankfully, once again, the dialogue is there to provide hilarious quips and comments from Trover himself and the enemies adding some much needing distraction to the plain combat. Platforming takes on a similar tone with nothing extraordinary worth mentioning, but it remains at least serviceable throughout the game, and with how the game positions the camera in VR, there are a few moments that make the platforming feel more interesting than it actually is. Luckily, the combat and platforming are treated as something on the side, breaking up the real bread and butter of the game which is the conversations and the worlds themselves.
Taking another page out of Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Trover Saves the Universe hides Green Power Babies throughout each main level, much like how Astro Bot hid robots and chameleons for you to find. These cute little cannibals can be found throughout each level in a variety of ways. Some require you to look around the world, having to spot them in hard to see areas to collect them. Others are little challenges or puzzles that require Trover to work his way to them or complete some other small challenge in a level. None are particularly hard to find, but as someone who makes an effort to get every star in Mario, I was determined to find them all. In my quest to hunt every single one of these down for the “Good Ending,” I always seemed to be stuck finding one on every single level. Perhaps it was just how the levels were laid out or my natural instinct failing me on where I would think they would be, but I found myself several times trying to hunt down one last Green Power Baby to truly complete the level. But the great part about these inebriating fellas is that they force you to search and look through the world around you and take in the uniquely crafted environments. Without them, I would have had little to no reason to search everywhere, causing me to miss out on some of the hidden little things in each world.
In the end, Trover Saves the Universe is essentially a foul-mouthed Astro Bot Rescue Mission, relying heavily on the dialogue and creative talents of Justin Roiland and Rick and Morty to elevate this game from a standard VR platformer to a hilarious romp through a Rick and Morty-esque universe. It is one of the few games that has legitimately made me laugh through its clever use of dialogue reactions to your own actions, allowing me to overlook the failings found in its combat and platforming. If you want to play something that doesn’t take itself seriously with an absurd story with all of the emotional highs and lows in Rick and Morty, than Trover Saves the Universe should not be missed.