In a way, Trover Saves the Universe almost feels more like a Rick and Morty video game than Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. It shares the zany, off-the-wall humour of the popular show, but also its sense of adventure. You join the titular character on a journey across the cosmos to thwart an evil power, and no opportunity is missed to make the experience as comically bizarre as possible.
For starters, the game begins with a giant alien creature named Glorkon stealing your two dogs and plugging them into his eye holes. This inexplicably makes him all-powerful, and Trover is sent to fetch you in order to set things straight. Of course, it doesn't go quite that smoothly, and so begins a quest across various worlds to put an end to Glorkon's plans.
If the tone and overall presentation doesn't make you think of Justin Roiland's hit Adult Swim show, the performances will. The man provides much of the voice work, and it's just as improvised, profane, and mad as you'd expect -- perhaps more so. It's Trover, along with a crazy cast of side characters, that elevate this game to something more than a simple action adventure. The story isn't anything all that special, but the entertainment comes from hearing what everyone has to say about what's happening. Hearing Trover arguing with aliens of all shapes and sizes, bumbling through sentences and swearing like a sailor, it's hard not to be swept up in the absurdity of it all.
This is especially true because the game does its utmost to make you part of the action. Playable in PlayStation VR or on the television, you play as a Chairorpian, a humanoid creature who permanently resides in a floating chair. From the very start, Trover and the rest of the cast speak directly to you, and it goes some way to making you feel more involved; you're as essential to the story as anyone else. Occasionally you'll even be able to answer questions by nodding or shaking your head (literally in VR), and they'll respond accordingly. That your ability to control Trover's actions is contextualised early on should explain how smartly the player is incorporated.
Unfortunately, playing the game is maybe the weakest part of it. Essentially, the title is a basic action adventure, with straightforward attacks to perform, a couple of upgrades to earn, and some simple platforming and puzzles sprinkled on top. In terms of gameplay, there's nothing here that'll blow you away. Combat and platforming is competently done, but don't expect to be particularly enthralled by either. Navigation is definitely something to get your head around; whether you're playing in virtual reality or not, you move Trover as you'd expect, while you move yourself via warp nodes dotted throughout each level. These fixed positions aren't so bad in PSVR, because you can tell how far away Trover is within the 3D environment. On a TV screen, it's far from ideal, although not unplayable. One annoyance is the virtual rendition of your controller getting in the way of your view, blocking you from clearly seeing things below you.
In addition to all the action platforming, you'll also want to keep an eye out for the collectable green power babies. Finding every single one results in a ridiculous reward that we won't spoil, and each of the critters comes with a dumb description to read. It gives you something more to look out for while you're meandering through the weird, colourful stages.
With gameplay that just about gets the job done, it's the character interactions that remain the driving force here. You'll play through a section just to hear what Trover has to say, and you'll be more interested in listening to unreasonably long conversations between NPCs than tackling the next combat arena. Even basic enemies have funny things to say if you let them live long enough. The run time isn't particularly long, but it'll depend on how much of the optional dialogue you want to hear -- there is a lot of it. A second run through the story is encouraged, too; while the ending and main plot points won't change, it's worth it to see how everyone reacts to your alternative choices.
Having said all that, you should consider this game's sense of humour before jumping in. From beginning to end, this is a deliberately surreal experience full to bursting with swearing, adult themes, and fourth wall-shattering jokes. If you enjoy the ad-lib exchanges in Rick and Morty, you'll feel right at home here, but some will definitely find the humour a little juvenile and perhaps too heavy-handed. For what it's worth, we enjoyed it, and you do have the option to censor some of the cursing.
One of PS4's strangest offerings, Trover Saves the Universe is a mouthy, madcap adventure with words that speak louder than its action. It's not all that long, but the promise of free DLC will extend the adventure later down the line. The option to play on the TV as well as PSVR is welcome, although it's clear the game is built with the immersive headset in mind. However you play it, the unusual landscapes, characters, and scenarios are what make this a game worth playing, but be aware of the silly and often dark humour before you take the plunge.