Trover Saves The Universe Review — A Squanchin’ Good Time
If you are a fan of Rick and Morty and own a PlayStation VR headset, Trover Saves the Universe is a must-play.
Virtual Reality has a way to enhance games in ways that the normal TV and controller experience can’t. Whether it be motion controls making you feel like John Wick in Superhot VR or taking you to beautiful and imaginative small worlds like in Moss, VR can heighten the experience of playing a video game. Now, after my experience with Trover Saves the Universe, the second game to come from Squanch Games and Justin Roiland, the co-creator of the hit animated show Rick and Morty, VR has convinced me it can also enhance the comedic element of games, too.
The story of Trover Saves the Universe is essentially what I thought a full-fledged Justin Roiland video game would be, which is A-ok in my book. While the gameplay is really nothing special, the dialogue between Trover and all the characters you encounter in the world had me holding my sides from laughing so hard. You play as a nameless character who is part of the Chairopean race, which essentially means you are somebody who never gets out of their chair. Out of nowhere, a giant evil monster named Glorkon comes and snatches both of your dogs and stuffs them into his eye holes (I told you it is Justin Roiland game) and begins using their energy to destroy the universe.
Here then comes Trover, a small eye hole monster who is sent by his boss to team up with you to save the day. He then shoves a power baby (which are the collectibles that are found in the game that Trover also gets high off of) into his eyes allowing you to now take control of him. After a quick little chit chat, you leave your house and set out on your adventure.
Pretty early on, I found that I was in for one hilarious game. One of the first characters you find in Trover Saves the Universe is a fellow Chairopean who is an old, mean man. He will trash talk you until Trover has finally had enough and tells you to use him and his beam sword to attack him. The old man will begin apologizing once you start attacking. However, when Trover tries to moves past him, you will hear the old man off in the distance calling you a little bitch for running away. Of course, Trover makes mention and then you go back and beat up the old man some more and actually kill him. Trover will then start freaking out and police sirens will begin blaring in the distance. This was one of the funniest intros to a game I have ever played.
What Trover Saves the Universe does so incredibly well is that there is always some dialogue to keep you entertained and laughing. There will come times where Trover will start talking to you if there is a bit of a time lapse between running into NPC’s or crack some jokes about finding some power babies so he can get high.
Usually, in games I am just playing on my own, I try to avoid NPC encounters to get to the gameplay, but the highest points of Trover Saves the Universe comes in the hilarious conversations with other characters and how they interact with Trover or make fun of some familiar video game tropes. For example, one character will want Trover and you to move some boxes from her garage to another house because it has a sweet basketball hoop. In exchange, she will unveil a secret staircase so Trover can progress to the next area. She then gives you a power upgrade (by spitting on your face) that gives you the ability to pick up objects. After the boxes are moved to the other garage, she will then want them moved out of the garage onto the driveway. Once that is completed, she will then want the boxes on the roof for some reason. During this entire process, she is blabbing on and on while Trover is telling her to shut up. After struggling to get the boxes on the roof, I finally realized I was supposed to just use the boxes to stack a platform I can jump on to progress to the next area and just ignore the blabbering lady entirely.
Trover will also do or say some stuff to break the fourth wall a bit. Early on, there is a wooden door that must be opened by solving some puzzles. While you are solving the puzzle, Trover talks about how this game isn’t even a puzzle game and the developers are just lazy. Once you get to the last puzzle, he will say something along the lines of, “F**k that, let’s just break down the door.”. After struggling on the puzzle and a lot more comments from Trover, I finally realized that I was actually supposed to quit the puzzle and literally just break the door. They are plenty of other dialogue exchanges that had me holding my sides, but it would take too long to go over them all.
While the narrative and dialogue are exceptionally funny, the gameplay is where Trover Saves the Universe is lacking. If you were a fan of many 3D platformers from the PS2 era, you will probably enjoy most of Trover Saves the Universe. Levels are relatively straightforward and have specific spots where enemies will appear. There are power babies hidden through each level that can be found by being a little adventurous or using the headset to look around. Those can then be used to gain extra health points. The level design reminded me very much of Jak and Daxter or even Ape Escape if you want to go even further back. It’s never bad but the gameplay is just good enough to complement the hilariousness of the game.
Trover wields a beam sword that he uses to attack enemies and early on, you are given two attacks: a slash and a jump attack. As progression is made through the game, Trover collects a couple of other moves like a double jump, a heavy attack, and the ability to roll — stuff you would typically find in a 3D platformer. Engaging in combat with the little chicken nugget looking enemies (Trover repeatedly refers to them as such) is nothing special. The first enemies encountered are the Goombas of Trover Saves the Universe as they’re basically there for you to get a feel for the game. More and more difficult enemies are introduced such as ones that have big shields and must be hit from the back and others that have protective armor that must be broken by throwing a dropped enemy weapon at them. Squanch Games really didn’t introduce anything groundbreaking for the combat and it was far too easy.
Even though I have my gripes with the gameplay, Trover Saves the Universe‘s main hook is not the gameplay, it is everything else. The over-the-top storyline and hilarious banter make up for how average the actual combat got at times because the dialogue is almost always there. Whether Trover is dealing with another character, trying to solve a puzzle, or just standing around, chances are he is saying something that will make you chuckle. Hell, even the little chicken nugget enemies would crack me up with some trash talk. They even would make some weird comments when they die like, “I never sucked a butthole.” If this wasn’t there, then yes, I probably wouldn’t have had such a fun time with the game. But, since I was almost laughing most of the time, overlooking other aspects of the game was made much easier.
If you are a fan of Rick and Morty and own a PSVR headset, Trover Saves the Universe is a must-play. And even if you have never watched the show, I would still recommend picking the game up. Your sense of humor might not line up with Justin Roiland, but the $30 price point is a fairly low investment compared to other titles. Trover Saves the Universe can be completed in under about 5 hours but can be extended by finding all of the power babies in each world, which will probably contain a lot more funny banter between Trover and the environment. Trover Saves the Universe overall is a great experience and is one of the funniest games I have ever played.