Mention the name Justin Roiland and those in the know will probably think of Rick and Morty instantly. Yet Roiland has ventured away from cartoons and into videogame development – more specifically virtual reality (VR) development – having created Accounting for PC VR and Accounting+ for PlayStation VR in collaboration with Crows Crows Crows. His studio, Squanch Games has now unveiled its first in-house title, Trover Saves the Universe which is every bit as zany and comedic as you’d expect.
The Accounting videogames tended to be elaborate tech demos that were fairly short, putting players into surreal virtual worlds filled with Roiland’s expletive ridden comedy. Well Trover Saves the Universe is essentially more of the same, with a similar design style just this time everything is expanded upon, with bigger levels, storyline and a dude putting a purple crystal up his butt.
There’s some sort of weird storyline about going after a lunatic who has kidnapped your dogs and wants to destroy the universe – obviously – but you don’t care about that. Trover Saves the Universe is all about exploring the warped minds at Squanch Games, taking titular character Trover – a purple dude who has a sword plus red and blue creatures for eyes – and hacking up the world around him, uncovering tiny green people hidden in the bushes (or encased in shells hidden away).
Essentially a 3rd person adventure, Trover very much knows you’re there and in control, talking back at you, swearing, or occasionally offering useful advice. He’s not the silent type, running him around chopping up the local foliage or taking down enemies that look like mouths with boobs on top will elicit a reaction.
Squanch Games has taken a somewhat different approach when it comes to this style of VR title and camera angles. Most will either feature a fixed camera that changes once a character has moved along – think Moss – or a more roving designed that tries to keep an area in view. In Trover Saves the Universe there are specific locations lit up in blue that Trover can run to, transporting you so you can move through the world. Played using the PlayStation DualShock4 controller, the viewpoint can then be spun round and increased in height to solve puzzles or just get a better look at the world.
As with most of Roiland’s comedic output Trover Saves the Universe on the surface sticks with his butt and fart joke style that some will find either crude or very humorous, with some darker undertones boiling up. While the comedy value will certainly be Trover Saves the Universe’s biggest appeal, it’s the gameplay that needs to be tight. Certainly fun for the 10 minutes VRFocus got to play and see of the title, it’s difficult to tell how repetitious the experience may become (hopefully there are some nice surprises in store).
From this early look at Trover Saves the Universe it seems as though Squanch Games are sticking with what they know. It’s gross, over the top, funny, bizarre and just the right sort of adventure for a more mature VR audience. So long as there’s enough gameplay variety to compliment the comedy then there’s no reason this can’t be a worthy successor to Accounting.