The studio and game come from Justin Roiland, one of the co-creators of hit animated TV series Rick and Morty on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. Although it does not take place in the same fictional universe, Trover Saves the Universe has a similar silly, crude humor, a lot of which comes through Roiland’s voice performances.
You star as a member of an alien species that sits in a chair at all times, a clever excuse to immerse you into the game while letting you be lazy and sit on your butt. An evil beaked monster puts your dogs into his eyes and gains incredible power (yes, that is actually what happens), and you team up with reluctant, non-couch-bound Trover to, you know, save the universe.
I played the VR 3D platformer last week at the Game Developer’s Conference 2019 in San Francisco. It’s hilarious, often parodying and mocking conventions of 3D platformers and VR games. At one point, I was solving an elaborate puzzle to unlock a door. Eventually, Trover got frustrated and told me to just break the door down with my laser sword. Which I did, and it worked.
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A lot of the humor comes through the voice work, which has the same improvisational feel as Rick and Morty. I would often linger behind in scenes long after I needed to just to continue hearing characters talk to each other (or to annoy Trover, who often has funny reactions to the things you do).
The part I played is like a funnier Astro Bot: Rescue Mission. It isn’t quite as pretty or creative a 3D platformer as Astro Bot, but Trover Saves the Universe is not that far off Astro Bot’s execllence. And it has some clever tricks of its own. You’re constantly gaining new abilities that expand the experience. In the demo, I eventually was able to lift my chair up in the air, which would expand my view of the world and make it easier to navigate Trover and find secret areas.
And unlike with Astro Bot, you don’t need VR to play the game. You can still enjoy the experience without a headset.
Trover Saves the Universe will likely be a hit with Rick and Morty fans. But even if you’re not familiar with the show, this could be one of the better (and certainly funniest) VR experiences coming this year.
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