For the sake of transparency, this review will be prefaced by a disclaimer of admission that I am a huge Rick and Morty fan, so will that make this review biased? You bet. Trover Saves the Universe is conjured from the marvelously genius brain of Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty. As such, fans of the show will inevitably enjoy this game from the same twisted comedic mind.
The game features hybrid DualShock 4/PSVR controls, which makes it accessible to play via either peripheral. This review did not test the VR mode, but those accustomed with VR will know what to expect. The game takes a breaking-the-fourth-wall approach to controls by having an on-screen DualShock 4 being held by your character – a Chairopian – to control Trover, a little purple eye-hole monster who isn’t a huge fan of working or being put in the position of having to save the universe.
The plot is as wacky as you would expect, with the story essentially revolving around your dogs being dognapped by an alien lunatic named Glorkon who stuffed them into his eye holes and is using their life essence to destroy the universe…yep…completely normal. The plot, however, serves merely to drive the game along. Where the game shines is the dialogue and interactions between yourself and Trover but also with the many NPCs in the game.
Right off the bat, what I loved about Trover Saves the Universe is how fresh it felt. Games generally are not funny, at least not as consistently as this one. Those who have seen Rick and Morty will know what is in store. In fact, this really feels like an episode of the show merely with different characters. Like the show, this game explores comedic themes of sociopathy, nihilism and existential dread, just to name a few. If that sounds like your sort of thing, then Trover Saves the Universe will have you feeling right at home.
The virtue of patience is no more rewarded than it is in Trover Saves the Universe. The game rewards patience for not blitzing through ‘objectives’ by treating the player to hilarious dialogue that would otherwise be missed. Patience can even see enemies you otherwise would have faced end up killing each other, so take my word for it, patience is your friend.
The creators have no reluctance to break the fourth wall of the medium, even mocking it at times. The very fact that the character you play is a Chairopian – a being bound to sitting down with a controller in their hands, is in itself a breaking the fourth wall feature.
Replay value is a key reason behind why Trover Saves the Universe is worthy of multiple playthroughs. Although the game can be completed in a few hours, there are actually 20 hours of dialogue packed into the game. Due to the branching narrative, it invites one to go back and make different decisions or play out different actions in order to enjoy the missed dialogue the first time round.
Unfortunately, there was a game-breaking bug faced after the first level that prevented me from progressing. Fortunately, I was able to run through the level again swiftly, and my collectibles were saved. On the second go, the bug was avoided, and I was able to progress and enjoy the rest of the game. This bug has been brought to the attention of the developers and can hopefully be resolved.
Trophy hunters out there will be glad to hear that Trover Saves the Universe has a fairly simple platinum to attain. Most trophies are easily attainable but may require a guide due to the narrative choices and quirky nature of some of the trophies. That is, all except the basketball trophy that required you to make 100 baskets with the scrunchy paper balls in your telepod. The platinum trophy took me roughly six hours to attain.
Graphically, the game isn’t too taxing due to the simple cartoon style of the game, but worlds are diverse and colourful, thus making for more immersive and sometimes disgusting environments. The game runs very smoothly too with a high frame-rate and 1080p image output on the base PS4.
Combat is rather limited to a normal attack and a heavy attack. There is range to the enemies, and enemies do scale up as you progress through the game, but again, this is rather limited. All in all, it feels like this is a comedy delivered to us through the medium of a video game.
That does make Trover Saves the Universe rather difficult to review, but I will base this review score on how much I enjoyed Trover Saves the Universe as I feel one of the fundamental reasons behind why I personally play video games is to enjoy myself. In that respect, Trover Saves the Universe attains a huge amount of credit. As a game, it is somewhat limited, but this is more the shell used to deliver the comedy, which if it isn’t to your taste, you may not enjoy. However, the game is hilarious to me, and I have laughed more than I probably ever have before playing a video game, and thus, it deserves my praise.
Developer: Squanch Games
Publisher: Squanch Games
Platform: PS4, PC
Release Date: 31st May 2019