I’m going to ask a really honest question, so get ready. Why isn’t literally everyone talking about how good Trover Saves the Universe is? I don’t think a single day has gone by since it came out that I haven’t thought about this.
Let me get this warning out of the way though: This game is mature. It comes straight from the dome of Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty, so if you’re thinking this game looks cute and colorful so I’ll sit my kids in front of it — that’s a nope. I mean, do whatever you want because they’re your kids, but maybe give it a spin first before seeing if little Timmy or Elizabeth can handle it. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Heck, watch the trailer I included up above. It’s uncensored, so, at your own discretion.
I’m quite obviously a fan of Rick and Morty and that’s not a controversial admittance because most people in my age range are. Because of that, I pretty much jumped at the opportunity to play the games that came from Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games. The Rick and Morty VR game Virtual Rickality, as well as Accounting which is a partnership between Roiland’s Squanchtendo and William Pugh’s Crows Crows Crows studio, were both played into the absolute ground. I was in the painful Reddit mines trying to find the Water Park Level and I found so many endings that I’ve literally crashed my game at least ten times. So, when I knew Trover Saves the Universe was finally launching, I was ready.
Imagine my surprise to see that it played almost identically in many ways to the PSVR hit Astro Bot? See, I love my PSVR but it’s got some floppy little games that came out along with it and I didn’t know if PSVR had the capabilities I wanted to see until I played Astro Bot and Moss. When I knew that Trover could be played in both normal console mode and shipped with PSVR capabilities, I wondered how that would work. I booted it up regularly to give it a try before seeing it in VR because I didn’t want a headset’s limitations to sway my thoughts on the game. Very quickly I saw that it was going to be good based on the level design and the clever player character movement.
See, Trover is who you control but you also control yourself. Well, kinda? A clever way that Squanch did this was that they turned the seated player into a race of people who had to be essentially without free movement. Utilizing this as a feature and not a flaw was incredibly smart because you’re a Chairopian and as a Chairopian you can pretty much just float around in your chair. Looking down and around, you can even turn about but you don’t just glide places which can sometimes make people (I’m including myself here) feel absolutely like Zenyatta from Overwatch after too many drinks. Teleportation methods in VR work really well to combat this and by including the Chairopian as part of the design, they all but freed themselves up to worry about everything but how the player would feel when essentially on-rails.
While you may feel like your movements are halted, you have complete control over Trover and can do all of the leaping, fighting and floating that your player character would typically be doing yourself. You can boost up a couple of times and see places that Trover can’t from his place on the ground and that turns a platformer into this little diorama of beautifully done Dr. Seuss-Gone-Mad artwork. The goal is to get your dogs back from a rogue God that has gone rather insane and used them in his eye sockets. You were found, as the owners of these dogs, and tasked with helping retrieve them and cut the power from said God.
What continues on in this game is nothing short of an intensely long episode of Rick and Morty’s Interdimensional Cable and that’s where it shines. It’s not so far removed from Roiland’s writing and quirk that you wouldn’t grasp onto it fast as fans of Rick and Morty but it’s also so uniquely layered with intelligence and easter eggs that you feel honored if you get them. There were moments in Trover that I would sit back and realize.. some people won’t play this again and see the language branches and story beats I got because of choices they may have made. Some people would never encounter this one incredible moment with Trover really just unleashing his soul to you — and that was bonkers to me. There is a buddy cop schtick to this but to assume that’s all it is because it’s such a simple game — is a mistake. For a $30 game that you can beat in 5 to 6 hours and has an epic amount of replayability, well, that’s kind of bananas.
It was incredibly smart for Roiland’s Squanch Games to utilize the Astro Bot mechanics of gameplay because it gave them the opportunity to flush out a fun world that visually pops with a platformer that didn’t make me want to push myself off of a cliff. I suggest this be your third PSVR title you buy after Astro Bot and Moss and go through the achievements and see just what kind of things you should aim for to get even more from the story. Don’t stop at one playthrough and then go tell your friends about it because I know you want your friends to have fun, you know?