If Justin Roiland’s name weren’t on the title screen, it would still be abundantly clear who was responsible for Trover saves the universe. It would be evident within 10 seconds of pressing the home button when a massive blue alien appears in the galaxy’s most gruesome chicken nugget, and you use two adorable dogs as his new eyeballs. There is no denying that our hero, the neurotic purple alien Trover, opens his mouth, and Morty’s voice comes out. This is our Trover Saves The Universe Review.
1. Trover Saves The Universe Review: AboutNext Section
- Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Oculus Quest, Microsoft Windows
- Developer: Squanch Games
- Publisher: Squanch Games, Gearbox Software
- Genres: Action game, Adventure game
- Release Date: May 31, 2019
2. Official TrailerNext Section
3. Trover Saves The Universe Review: GameplayNext Section
The fascinating thing is that we don’t have another video game of the twisted mind behind Rick & Morty. It’s in looking at those twisted ideas with an M rating and all the attributes of a swamp-standard 3D E-for-Everyone platformer. The crazy premise is that the chicken nugget mentioned above, named Glorkon, has somehow acquired divine power by putting your dogs in his eyes and will start the apocalypse in a hurry.
Meanwhile, you are an unfortunate, milquetoast dork from the suburb of Chairorpia, where the entire population is permanently tied to floating banks, doomed to watch a soap forever that feels suspicious as if you’re trying to teach you the controls of the game. Our hero, Trover, finally appears at the door and tells you that he needs your help to take down Glorkon. Using the unstoppable power of powerful babies – a variety of adorable multi-colored cherubs that belong in the eyes of Trover’s people – and with Trover’s back to control his actions, the two of you set out on a galaxy adventure to find out how to use Glorkon turns off.
Much is happening there, and it is not even the surface of the baffling procession of wicked idiosyncrasies that follows. The very first level, your quest for a special crystal that will allow you to visit Glorkon’s home dimension, is interrupted by an irritating little hassle called Mr. Popup telling you about an alien neighbor who has not only eaten his family and is holding several pregnant women.
Pop-up females hostage so that he can eat their babies, but more importantly, has no regard for his neighborhood’s zoning agreements. That’s what kind of ride this is, and from there, it just gets weirder and darker. Probably the best running joke in the game is a recurring joke where you accidentally ruin the lives of the deformed people who sell your upgrades, accidentally killing their pets or family members every time.
Conceptually it is wonderfully cunning and bizarre, laced with moments of stomach-cramping physical humor. It’s the performance that’s less consistent, mainly due to the long, stuttered, and often-screamed improvisations of Roiland and the rest of the cast, just endless riffs to fill the time. The game rarely allows moments of silence to land the jokes that work. Even more annoying is that it gives too much time for the more obnoxious characters to do your very best.
Meanwhile, there is seldom enough silence to work your way through the more complicated puzzles, which sometimes get tricky in anger unless you turn down the dialogue for a few minutes. And that’s a shame, because a lot of the dialogue-based jokes are familiar, although you should just take my word for that since absolutely none of the best examples here are even remotely repeatable.
What I can say is that the runtime of my first playthrough was probably tanked because I would spend minutes just listening to subconscious enemies talking to each other about being clones of Glorkon, going on about their training routines, their weird alien sex life and how they would kill Trover and how much he sucks. You can jump, perform light, and massive attacks and roll. It all looks a lot like essential action platforming principles in recent memory, with very few surprises or close shaves or thrills until the last hours.
The only real complexity is because the game is mainly designed around VR. The game can be played without, but the camera, in particular, is locked to fixed points in the stage and only reorientates when Trover is at a specific point along its path, allowing you to press a button and teleport to its location. You can raise and lower your seat in-game to get a better vantage point, but the angles still aren’t always where you want them, and it’s generally uncomfortable.
There’s a telekinesis option that you pick up later to move blocks and environment items, and it’s nowhere near as intuitive with the right stick instead of your head to swing the camera around. However, for most of the game, it doesn’t take anything to formulate a strategy. Enemies are painfully basic grunts, usually making three or four strokes to descend. Shielded enemies only have one attack with enormous excitement.
Battles only get harder exceptionally late in the game when enemies with bulletproof vests, which can only be eliminated with Telekinesis, appear. The only real trick is to get the right perspective to see everything in the area. You have to be diligent in this to find the extra power babies hidden around each stage and worth collecting; they give you additional health, and the descriptions for each are some of the best lyrics in the game.
There is nothing special about Trover Saves The Universe from the gameplay point of view. There is some lip service to branching paths depending on decisions made while playing, but none of them drastically change the game somehow apart from an alternate dialogue at the end and a few extra trophies. That leaves it to the comedy and concept to do most of the heavy lifting, much of which is very aware of its essential nature.
This makes it hard to get bored or unmotivated by how rudimentary it all is when Trover and many of the characters in the world around them are just as annoyed as you are dealing with many of the mediocre parts. Ultimately, even with all his neuroses and non-stop running mouth, Trover is the saving grace of the game. The more Trover adapts to be your sidekick, the more he is invested in seeing through this quest, and the more recognizable he becomes.
4. Trover Saves The Universe Review: ConclusionNext Section
Mainly, Trover Saves The Universe is a screwed up alien buddy comedy. The work it takes to spend time in this universe with these creatures is easily due, but it is work done with a hilarious partner who is often just as bored, annoyed, angry, or disgusted as you are. It’s not the smoothest ride, but you have the right company.