Review: Trover Saves the Universe
When it comes to comedy in virtual reality (VR) Squanch Games certainly has a major advantage as one of its co-founders is Justin Roiland, one of the creators of Rick and Morty. That humour vibe has arced from the cartoon over to videogame projects Accounting/Accounting+ and the studios’ biggest to date, Trover Saves the Universe. Originally an Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR release in 2019, the outrageous and funny sci-fi adventure has now made its way to Oculus Quest, losing none of the factors which make it such a standout VR experience.
Trover Saves the Universe is a VR platformer designed for a comfortable, easy gameplay experience suitable for any player because its entirely seated – so grab a nice spot on the sofa. You play a character who lives on a floating armchair, so to explore this colourful title you get to control an eye-hole monster called Trover. He’ll run around carrying out the majority of the actions but Squanch Games has ensured it has a co-op participation feel with plenty of dialogue coming from the headline character.
If you’ve seen Rick and Morty then you’ll know the kind of humour that awaits, if you’ve haven’t then prepare for a massive amount of swearing, ass jokes and general toilet humour. The big hint is right at the start where you can choose between a mature or censored version. Needless to say for the full comedic/offensive effect you shouldn’t neuter Trover Saves the Universe as one of its best elements is the level of writing.
Squanch hasn’t been lax when it comes to the use of the f-word, in fact, Trover Saves the Universe probably has more foul language than Roiland’s other projects – and that’s saying something. What you will find is some clever and witty humour which can truly make you laugh, not just a little chuckle but actual standup comedy levels which surprisingly helps increase the level of immersion as it creates an emotional connection. Trover may be crude and rude but he has character which is rarely seen in other videogames – Roiland does voice him after all.
So the writing’s top-notch, how about the gameplay? The problem here is that Trover Saves the Universe is a restricted affair when it comes to enjoying the bizarre planets in this universe. If you enjoy roomscale VR where you can freely wander around, pick stuff up and enjoy things at your own pace then you won’t find that here because the title has your character holding a controller the entire time. This makes it feel confined, especially as there are almost no options to adjust variables like the snap turning.
To get around levels are populated with teleportation nodes which you have to walk Trover up to to activate. Through various upgrades you can then start to exploit the features which make sense in VR, adjusting the height to survey the area, locating those adorable power babies which creatures love putting in their eyes and finding more nodes to move to. Further down the line you can also remote grab items to solve puzzles whilst Trover rattles on about the latest task. There are moments if you don’t solve a task quickly you will get ribbed which can be quite funny to just see what the reactions will be.
It can be easy getting carried away with listening to some of the random dialogue even in the midst of battle. The action elements are fairly basic with Trover able to swipe at enemies with a lightsaber-style weapon, unlocking more powerful attacks along the way. Yet it never seems to get old hearing attackers f and blind when they get hit.
While Trover Saves the Universe doesn’t have that same level of interaction a lot of other VR titles tend to feature as standard nowadays, its elevated from being a standard VR platformer to one with a unique atmosphere thanks to all the other elements. Trover Saves the Universe is the funniest experience you’ll have on Oculus Quest, plus there’s plenty of content thanks to the included free DLC. It’s a fun experience which should give most players a good 5+ hours of entertainment.