Trover Saves the Universe PC Review: A Veritable Riot in VR
Trover Saves the Universe is a comedic virtual reality platformer from Squanch Games with a twist: the entire game can also be played outside of VR. It’s a novel approach that works incredibly well thanks to the unique symbiosis between third-person gameplay and a first-person view.
The characters, environments, and plot of Trover Saves the Universe are beyond bonkers, though. You play as a mute, unnamed Chairopian — a race of chair-bound aliens — who controls the eye-hole monster Trover on a journey to stop Glorkon. Oh, Glorkon? He’s a big, blue, featherless chicken who kidnapped your dogs and stuffed them into his eye sockets.
You’d be forgiven for needing a couple of attempts to make sense of those sentences, and it’s no surprise that Squanch Games is run by Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland. It’s actually surprisingly easy to follow the plot in-game; every new character and world you’re introduced to is as crazy as the last, so it somehow blends into a cohesive storyline.
It’s very obviously built around the idea of VR, but the Chairopian angle was a stroke of genius. Rather than adopting the disembodied floating role that many VR titles put you in, your character has a body, down to skinny little legs that flop around as you move your chair and hands that mimic your inputs on an in-game controller.
This is how you direct Trover around the different worlds, and although his body is at your mercy, his mind is very much his own. He’ll disagree with you, berate you for taking too long or for making poor decisions, and generally comment on the world around him as he sees fit. The game is constantly ridiculing itself, at times poking fun at its own sense of humor, while Trover regularly breaks the fourth wall by complaining about game mechanics.
The combat is fairly routine, though you’ll unlock new powers throughout the story that put new twists on the gameplay. The main draw of this title will be the comedy and environments, however.
Perhaps the most fun you can have with Trover Saves the Universe exists outside of the main story. Encounters with NPCs often consist of a few lines of vital dialogue, followed by minutes of improvised chatter that you can sit and listen to.
These expositions often lead to laughs that otherwise would have been missed entirely, and there’s reportedly 20 hours of dialogue in Trover Saves the Universe. Now, you could rush through everything in around five hours, but you’d miss most of the hilarity hidden in these extended conversations.
Though there’s still a smattering of crude jokes and toilet humor, this is a softer shade of Roiland comedy than you might be used to from Rick and Morty. The writing and voices are still very clearly his own, and the delivery follows the same deliberately stilted, slapdash format you’d expect, but the overall themes are comparatively light. It tends not to get bogged down in existential crises or morality, even sweeping downright evil acts under the rug.
This is perhaps due to the “child-friendly” option offered by an obscenity filter, which lets you play Trover Saves the Universe without — some of — the vulgar language.
The delivery just doesn’t pack the same punch without the customary swearing, however, and it still doesn’t bleep everything. Coupled with the questionable themes and heaps of murdering, this probably isn’t something you’d want to buy for the young and impressionable.
On a different note, the soundtrack is a genuine surprise. The music is pleasant and calming, almost serene, and it complements the vibrant saturated environments superbly. While you have the option to play Trover Saves the Universe on a flat screen, the VR experience is far more compelling, and I loved turning my head to see the beautiful, bizarre worlds that Squanch Games has crafted.
Still, the option to give your eyes a break without having to close the game entirely is incredibly welcome, and you can seamlessly swap between VR and flat-screen modes whenever you want to.
- Fantastic humor throughout, especially the fourth-wall breaks
- Environments are lush, vibrant, and out of this world
- Ability to play in VR or flat-screen is amazing
- Combat can get repetitive, not particularly challenging
Though the initial offering may be a little short for some, Squanch Games has also pledged future support for Trover Saves the Universe. They announced that they’ll release free DLC to extend the experience, but don’t intend on dropping the price for a while.
The satirical comedy and vibrant world-building are enough to recommend this at full price, anyway, so more adventures to look forward to is a cherry on top. This is a game you’ll want to come back to.
[Note: A copy of Trover Saves The Universe was provided by Squanch Games for the purpose of this review.]