Trover Saves the Universe
Last year, at E3 2018, PlayStation debuted the first trailer for Trover Saves the Universe, from Rick and Morty co-creator and Squanch Games co-founder Justin Roiland. At the time, it looks like an outrageously funny hit. Does the full-length VR game live up to the hype? Find out in our official review!
Outrageously Funny, Wicked Adventure
A few years ago, Adult Swim debuted a new animated show, co-created by Justin Roiland, about a crazed, drunken grandfather and his timid grandson’s wild adventures. That show, as you know, is Rick and Morty. Over the last 3 seasons, Rick and Morty has taken us across a variety of universes, each more insane than the next. It’s been such a massive hit, Roiland decided to co-found his own video game studio, Squanch Games, with their first featured game exploring a new cast of characters in a ridiculous new universe.
In the VR game, Trover Saves the Universe, we play as the Chairorpeon, a character who comes from a race of people who just sit in their chairs all their lives. Using this suped-up chair and a PlayStation 4 controller, imbued with a Power Baby, we control a purple alien that uses Power Babies for eyeholes, Trover. Trover and the Chairorpeon unite after a rogue Abstainer (one of 4 beings that oversee the universe), Glorkon, kidnaps the Chairorpeon’s beloved dogs to use in place of his empty eye sockets. Due to the Chairorpeon’s immense love for his dogs, the dogs infuse Glorkon with enough power to begin the end of days. Only Trover, with the help of the Chairorpeon, can save the universe from utter annihilation.
The only way you can’t be utterly befuddled by that description is if you’re either a Rick and Morty fan or you work at Squanch Games, because outside-looking-in everything about Trover Saves the Universe is insane. That said, this summary is just the tip of the iceberg. Throughout your playthrough, you’ll find yourself in strange, new lands each more ridiculous than the next, with beings and cultures that are even more beyond comprehension. To make matters worse, each person you meet eventually leads to you committing some sort of atrocity against them, unbeknownst to you until it’s too late. It makes for a hilariously wicked experience from start to finish.
While the comedic ways you ruin people’s lives are entertaining, what makes Trover Saves the Universe a remarkable game is the dialogue. It’s childish, sophomoric, and downright raunchy. So, everything you love about Rick and Morty. At literally every instant, I found myself laughing hysterically at some of the most absurd things that were being said. For instance, without giving too much away, I was in a room with prominent characters discussing the next plan of action. I leave the room and suddenly they begin discussing amongst themselves how happy they were that I had left so they could take off their pants. The dialogue went on for about a good 5 minutes about how freeing it was to go pantless. When I went back into that room, the characters were startled and slightly embarrassed that I had returned and they were pantless. Due to this, I found myself sticking around every scene for a prolonged amount of time, hoping to be surprised by more hilarious dialogue. Knowing this, Roiland and his crew made sure to tell you when the scene was over by literally telling you to, “Get the F out, I’m out of things to say”. If that’s not an outright hilarious way to go out, I don’t know what is.
A Satire of Gaming With Simplistic Gameplay
The self-aware satire doesn’t stop there. As you’d expect from a game by the creator of Rick and Morty, Trover Saves the Universe doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It knows what is and does well to make fun of it. For example, Trover Saves the Universe breaks the 4th wall countless times by referencing that you’re in a video game. They even tell you that they have a reward for collecting all of the Power Babies because, and I quote, “You nerds like that sh**”.
I love it when a comedic game breaks the 4th wall. If it isn’t done right, it can be considered a cheap pop for laughs, which can take you out of the game. When it’s done right, though, it adds another layer of comedic effect that’s hard to replicate. I thought Trover Saves the Universe did it right. From the jump, it made sure you knew that they knew that this was just a video game, laying the groundwork for a multitude of cracks in the 4th wall, before they just tore it down.
As for gameplay, Trover Saves the Universe operates with an easy-to-learn system, with a slight twist. There are your standard melee attacks, jumping, rolling, and VR grab effect. However, it’s the verticality that sets it apart from most VR games. Since you’re an (mostly) immobile Chairorpeon controlling another being to advance through the level, there are several times where you wouldn’t have a line of sight on your purple counterpart. Thankfully, Squanch Games utilized elevation, by allowing the Chairorpeon to rise up two levels to have a better angle on what’s going on. It helps in literally every situation of Trover Saves the Universe, even helping you find hidden Power Babies.
That said, the gameplay isn’t immune to satire, either. A lot of VR games rely on puzzles to keep gamers entertained from level to level. There are times in Trover Saves the Universe where they openly make fun of those games by delivering unsolvable, unnecessary puzzles. While you make the futile attempt to solve said puzzle, Trover will often yell about how this puzzle is so dumb and make cracks against the people that inserted it into the game, before moving on. Despite their obvious hatred for puzzles, Trover Saves the Universe still features several easy-to-solve puzzles, but make no mistake the characters are NOT happy about it.
Last note on gameplay. It’s important to understand that while Trover Saves the Universe, is considered a VR game, the PlayStation VR headset is not needed. Squanch Games made it to where you could enjoy it equally on your television.
The Power of Choice
One of the nice surprises in Trover Saves the Universe are the amount of choices you get, throughout the game. Whether it’s simply answering a yes or no question or deciding to murder tons of innocents, the choices you make set up reactions and outcomes. Unlike other games that incorporate choice, it doesn’t have an effect on the overall outcome of the game, but it does affect the then-and-now.
Furthermore, certain choices grant certain achievements. Whether you decide to commit an atrocity or not will often net you with an achievement that berates you for your choice, no matter what it was. It actually adds more replayability to what would’ve otherwise been a one-time play kind of game.
In some devilish instances, Squanch Games will make you think that you have a choice to either execute a mission or execute someone close to the person you’re helping, when the reality is you do not. It’s absolutely impossible to not commit murder in Trover Saves the Universe, no matter what choice you’re given. It ends up becoming a lesson in morality and, if you’re a somewhat decent person, you end up deciding whether to kill the few to save the many or rid the world of some despicable people. Either way, someone’s dying and that’s half the insanity of Trover Saves the Universe.
Collect for a Worthwhile Ending; (Don’t for a Bland Finish)
Throughout this review, I’ve talked a lot about these creatures known as Power Babies. Power Babies are incredibly powerful aliens that look like babies. Trover is addicted to them and, depending on their power, uses them to get high. Primarily the green ones are what he uses. Although, there are different colored Power Babies that provide upgrades to Trover, by cannibalizing the previous Power Baby.
Now that you know what they are, it’s imperative that you find every Green Power Baby. It’s pretty massive part of the game, as each level is riddled with roughly 30 of them. Some are hidden in plain sight, others are confined in crystal orbs, while others require getting your hands dirty to find. It takes some time, but it’s vital that they are all found.
Collectibles, in games, aren’t usually necessary to search for. They’re just a fun side quest to keep a level more interesting or a means of getting 100% completion on a game. Rarely do they impact the story in any way. In Trover Saves the Universe, they tell you early and often that you need to find every single Power Baby to unlock a secret ending.
Secret endings are cool, but it’s not a requirement to complete a game, most of the time. That’s the same with Trover Saves the Universe. You are within your right to complete the game and never even look for a Green Power Baby. If you do that, though, you’re left with a weak ending to what is a rather enjoyable game. Without spoiling it, it’s as if the writers at Squanch Games couldn’t figure out a good way to finish the game. It leaves you with a melancholy reaction, rather than a feeling of satisfaction. Therefore, collecting everything to get the true reward is critical.
Despite the finish, Trover Saves the Universe is an absolute riot. It’s a jaw-dropping, side-hurting experience with memorable characters I hope to see in the Rick and Morty universe some day. The humor and the gameplay can get exhausting, at times, so it’s best to pace yourself and enjoy the ride. That said, it’s a very fast ride. Without the time to collect everything, Trover Saves the Universe can easily be beaten in a single sitting. That’s pretty quick, but it’s worthwhile for any Rick and Morty/Justin Roiland fan. Big thanks to Squanch Games, and all those involved, for giving us the opportunity to review Trover Saves the Universe.