Trover Saves the Universe Review
So, I just finished saving the universe. Well, technically, a weird purple guy named Trover saved the universe, but I helped him along from the comfort of my couch. Along the way, we electrocuted a guy in a bathtub, pushed someone’s house off a cliff and yanked two dogs out of the eye holes of an evil dude named Glorkon. And it was awesome.
Trover Saves the Universe is a 3D platforming adventure from Justin Roiland, one of the creators of Rick and Morty. If you are already a fan of Rick and Morty, you’ll recognize a lot of the same tone and style of humor present in Trover Saves the Universe, but knowledge of the show is not necessary. This is an all-new tale with new characters created for the game, even if they do share a lot of similarities with those on the show.
Trover, for example, who is the game’s protagonist, is a big purple gumby-like dude with a cracking, stammering voice who tends to ramble on neurotically when he talks. In other words, he is Morty’s personality and voice placed in the body of a Mr. Meeseeks. You play as an unnamed “Chairorpian,” a creature who apparently is confined to a mobile La-Z-Boy with a device in his hands that looks enough like a game controller that I couldn’t help feeling I was being mocked a little bit. Together with Trover, you embark on a quest to rescue your two dogs from the evil clutches of Glorkon, a giant blue blob-monster who has stolen them and put them in his eye holes in a bid to take over the universe. It is mostly 3D platforming, but with some combat and puzzle-solving along the way.
A Brilliantly Twisted Tale
Justin Roiland’s twisted and brilliant talents are on full display in Trover Saves the Universe, and I found the game to be a fun, hilarious, entertaining ride throughout. The humor, unlike in many games, is actually laugh-out-loud funny in many parts, mostly due to Roiland’s trademark delivery style that sounds like it is improvised and random, but is actually a skillful jazz-like comedic riffing that has a crazy coherence. The dialogue is definitely the star of the show in this game, and I recommend that you listen to the entirety of each line said by the characters, who will go on for an insane amount of time and even eventually break the fourth wall and crack with laughter if you wait long enough.
Trover Saves the Universe pokes loving fun at the adventure game genre – much like the also-brilliant South Park games do with RPGs – with a fresh and hilarious take on the familiar tropes we have come to expect. For example, to upgrade Trover’s abilities you collect and cash in “Power Babies,” which are little green babies floating around each level. When Trover obtains a new ability, he literally stuffs a new Power Baby into one of his eye-holes, so that he has two little faces, each with two eyes, where normal eyes would be. Again, it all feels very off the cuff – if you’ve seen the “Rixty Minutes” episode of Rick and Morty, you’ll know what I mean – but it is delivered with such confidence and skill that it works brilliantly.
And underneath that seemingly-random façade, I was also impressed by the game’s very solid design. In the VR version which I played, you move using teleport nodes, which your Chairorpian character can warp to once Trover stands on them. Just like Baby Legs needs Regular Legs to solve crimes, you and Trover rely on each other. In this way, Trover Saves the Universe is much like a co-op adventure since progression is a continual puzzle-solving process of getting Trover to the next node so that you can warp to it. You’ll have to help him at times as well, by moving blocks, flicking nipple-switches (you’ll see), and other actions. With the use of nodes, you as the player are mostly stationery and so I never felt motion sickness or other VR-related discomfort.
Surprisingly Smart Game Design
I also liked the game’s use of verticality as a mechanic, which is a new and creative idea that really added, well, depth to the experience. You use R1 to move up as many as 2 levels higher, and L1 lowers you down again. In order to achieve progress or defeat some enemies, it is necessary to get higher to see hidden objects or terrain. Overall, I was impressed by the thought and creativity Roiland and his team put into Trover Saves the Universe’s game mechanics and levels. This might be a comedy but it clearly takes the process of quality game design seriously.
Are there things about Trover Saves the Universe that weren’t perfect? Sure. The platforming, if I’m being honest, could have been a bit more tight and polished. Especially in VR, I wasn’t always sure where Trover was going to land, and I died more than a few times needlessly due to my limited visual perspective. The combat also got to be a bit repetitive, and I would have liked to see the game introduce new enemies once in a while to force me to adapt more. And yes it’s a bit short, at around 4 or 5 hours (a typical length for a VR title) – but mind you, that could extend to 8 or more hours quite easily if you decide to find all of the game’s Power Babies, which I did not.
But despite the imperfections, Trover Saves the Universe is a blast, a genuinely funny, entertaining and well-made game that I enjoyed from start to finish. You don’t have to play it in VR, but I recommend that you do since that was primarily what it was designed for. And at $30.00 US, you get a good value for the price, plus the developers have announced that they’ll be adding free DLC in the future. But trust me, just hearing all of Justin Roiland’s hilarious dialogue alone is well worth it.
** A PSVR game code was provided by the publisher **
- Hilarious dialogue and voice acting
- Surprisingly solid game design
- Lots of Rick and Morty-style humor
- Imprecise platforming
- Repetitive combat