Trover Saves the Universe is Stupid, Incoherent Nonsense and I Love It – PAX East Preview
The Rick and Morty audience can sometimes appear as overly passionate about the interdimensional Adult Swim cartoon. However, there’s a reason for that passion. The show’s smart humor and uniquely natural delivery allows it to connect with viewers in a way that many adult cartoons are unable to. This is why I’ve personally been excited for Trover Saves the Universe, an upcoming virtual reality game from the mind of Justin Roiland, one of the co-creators of Rick and Morty.
Roiland and Squanch Games are not new to the world of VR development. Their releases of Accounting and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality have allowed them to get their feet wet in the world of video games and excel in their comedic efforts while doing so. While Accounting seems to fit the mold of a short experience resembling something akin to an adventure game, Trover Saves the Universe seems to be aimed towards more.
I was able to play Trover Saves the Universe this week at PAX East and during my demo I was not only dying laughing, I was dying to play more. Many of the qualities that make Accounting and Rick and Morty enjoyable are here. The game displays the quick, self-aware humor that Roiland is known for along with the intelligently dumb writing and ridiculous, borderline-grating voice acting that accompanies it; and it’s all brilliant.
The game began with a giant inserting two dogs into its “eye holes” and ended with Trover, the main character, nagging me to finish the demo so that the next person in line could play. Between that were gags about murdering an old man, a television show that ended in a staring contest, and constant jokes delivered at a rapid pace that only the makers of Rick and Morty could pull off. It was all impressive and it constantly hit due to the writers’ understanding of the conventions of video games and a clear vision of what they’re wanting to do with the games’ nonsensical tone.
Along with the game’s over the top comedy, the demo for Trover Saves the Universe also showcased some of the action which offers more ways to be involved than Squanch Games’ previous titles. Instead of a purely first-person experience, the player also takes control of Trover with a saber in hand in order to run around environments and take down enemies. The setup is similar to Astro Bot: Rescue Mission where the player is a separate entity from the character they’re controlling and following around in the world. During my demo, the game didn’t lean completely on its gameplay elements however, and instead seemed to attempt to bridge the gap by making combat more contextually appropriate rather than a common occurrence.
After my time with Trover Saves the Universe, I left delighted and ready for more. The game is a constant barrage of stupid scenarios that highlights not only the best of Justin Roiland’s humor, but the learned elements from Accounting and the previous endeavors of Squanch Games. The game invokes some of the same wonder and joy sparked by games like Astro Bot and I’m convinced that Trover Saves the Universe is a comedic step forward for virtual reality.