Review: Trover Saves the Universe

About this Game

Trover Saves the Universe

Publisher

Squanch Games, Gearbox Publishing

Developer

Squanch Games

Release Date

May 31, 2019

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

~10h

Platinum Difficulty

Easy

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

No

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A Proper Justin Roiland Experience

I’ve been a fan of Justin Roiland ever since I saw the first episode of Rick and Morty. There’s just something about his half-assed pseudo-improvised comedy which hits the spot for me.  He slurs and stutters his lines like a drunken lunatic who’s only focusing on what he’s saying about 10% of the time while the rest of his brain tries to come up with words containing “Schm”, “Glob” and “Ooble” syllables. His unique art style compliments his voice-acting and captures that personality perfectly.

As a gamer fascinated by VR technology, Justin formed game studio “Squanch Games” in 2016 and has since created a handful of great VR games featuring his own art style and hilarious voice-acting approach, the culmination of which is found here in “Trover Saves the Universe”.

Please note that I played this game in VR and so I will be talking about it from that perspective, but you can still enjoy and plat this game without PSVR.

Trover Saves the Universe Review

Justin Roi-Land

You like what I did with that there subheader? You get it? It’s because the game is like a Justin Roiland theme park… Called Justin.. Justin Roiland… Oh forget it.

One of the best things about this game is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. The warped and goofy art style of the environments, the testicular plant-life, the ridiculous character design, the never-ending and bizarre dialogue, it all comes together to create a world which feels so very much like a Rick and Morty spin-off, yet has enough life of its own that it can be enjoyed just as much by someone who has (somehow) never even heard of Rick and Morty.

To be perfectly honest, all 4 of those characters sound just like rick.

I’m pretty sure like 90% of the dialogue in the game is all just Roiland riffing in a booth to himself. At times you’ll hear him crumble the 4th wall and blurt out that he’s lost interest and the player should just head to their objective already. Or simply just say “Hey, we’re putting a cool effect on my voice here”. 

In that same vein – for some characters – he will record literally 5 minutes of non-stop dialogue about what the character is doing, should be doing, or what’s happening in that part of the game and while I can definitely see how some people would find it irritating, I find awkward and dark humour to be quite funny. 

No, I don’t shoot jets of laughter-jizz from my nostrils every time Roiland goes “haha, poop, poopie, peepee”, but that isn’t the point, and he certainly doesn’t expect people to be losing their shit over a joke about dicks. The point is that the absurdity of it is so out there, and so relentlessly present that you can’t help but let out an uncomfortable giggle of confusion. And that’s a fun feeling to explore.

Just wait til you hear some of the things this guy has to say.

Frequently Trover will drop any pretence that this is a real world he has been living in and start talking about how the game is stupid, or the developers did a stupid thing. It’s all fully whole-hearted nonsense filled with curse words and needless violence.

You’ll brutally murder an NPC, which in any other game would be a moment to shrug your shoulders and move on – maybe lose some progression, but Trover will have a small existential crisis over it, freak out a bit, feel a little uncomfortable around you for a while, it’s not supposed to make you question your morals or anything deep in that sense but it does help to increase the absurdity of the situation. Especially when the NPC you murder looks a bit like an Adventure Time action figure your younger sibling decided to microwave.

A Chair-bound Journey

We start the game as a “Chairorpian”. This is a neat way of pulling you into the VR world while still acknowledging the fact you’re sat in a chair with a gamepad in your hands. You’re an alien, part of a race known for being chair-bound, and can look down to see your limp, useless legs flopping around as you control Trover via the controller.

Oh boy, just look at those floppy legs! Just floppin’ around and… being floppy!

A fat, blue, and naked chicken-like alien turns up and steals your precious dogs away, so that he can place them within his vacant eye-sockets. For a reason which is never explained, having these dogs inside his eye-holes make him infinitely powerful.

So, under instruction from his boss, Trover turns up to take you on an adventure to stop this large naked chicken from doing whatever assuredly evil things he plans on doing, and obviously you go with him because that chicken guy has your dogs, man.

I’d tell you what his name is but it’s just one of those Roiland words which is funny at the time but mostly forgettable… I think it has “Gazorp” in it, which I’m sure doesn’t surprise anybody.

Turns out Trover also has eye-holes and he places things called “power-babies” inside them, these give him abilities which will be very helpful in working your way through the story. Along the way you’ll meet many grotesque or just bizarre characters, all of whom will make you laugh, while also making you a little uncomfortable. 

From a bee-like fairy guy who hovers wherever you’re looking and is wearing nothing but a couple of plasters over his junk to a morbidly overweight guy who insists you don’t stop feeding him, there truly is no shortage of insanity to be found here, and nobody really seems to find it all that weird except Trover… Sometimes.

I’m just not going to offer you any context for this image. It’s funnier that way.

For a majority of the story, though, you’ll just be sat doing nothing… And it’s probably the best part! The absurd interactions between characters, even enemies, is truly hilarious, and often you’ll benefit from hanging back for a moment and just hearing what they talk about and where the conversation ends up going.

Totally in Control

Playing Trover Saves the Universe is a fairly simple process. The addition of a VR helmet mainly just helps to immerse you and changes the aiming controls slightly. Looking around for collectables is much more involved with the help of the headset, as you lean forward in your chair to try and peek around an obstacle or twist your neck trying to see what might be hidden above you.

I see you, you sneaky Power Baby

As stated before, you control Trover rather than yourself, moving around the available, mostly just platforming to the next available warp pad, with which you can teleport yourself closer to Trover and therefore make progress.

Via use of blank you can turn your chair, to get the full 360 rotation that your head is naturally incapable of, and later on you can also use it to “pop up” or “pop down” as Mr. Pop-up puts it. This will let you get a higher vantage point on your surroundings to better solve puzzles and more importantly, find the collectable “Green Power Babies”, which appear to just be eye-hole drugs for Trover to get wasted on.

There’s nothing particularly special about the platforming in the game, it’s a lot like “Moss” or “Astro Bot Rescue”, similar VR platformers, but it is set apart by the general Roiland-ness more than anything.

Kinda like Mario if his mushrooms were magic… I’m sure that’s a very original joke.

There’s a bit of combat in the game, you start off with just a normal blank attack but will eventually build on that repertoire, albeit not much. The combat is very samey and boring, some enemies take far too much effort than the game normal demands, not out of challenge but purely because they have a lot of HP and you’re just mindlessly swinging at the same enemy for a minute or so, just for them to spawn another two.

So, the platforming is standard, the combat is boring, anything else?

The game does have a few puzzles, often more tied to getting collectables than actually progressing, but they do offer more of a challenge than the rest of the game which is a bit of a saving grace, to be honest.

To summarise, Trover Saves the Universe is a fun-filled adventure through a twisted and bizarre world, it doesn’t take itself seriously and you’ll have more fun just sat smirking at the outlandish things the characters say than you will in any sort of action-packed combat scenario.

It might be hard to believe, but it’s definitely worth playing.

My Trover Saves the Universe Trophy Experience

Initial Playthrough

There’s nothing particularly challenging about platting this game, in all honesty. I just put on the headset and let myself get immersed. 

The game gives you the option of leaving a level once it is done, it’s not something which will automatically happen once you complete a certain objective or anything like that, which meant I had the opportunity to fully scour every level for collectables before leaving, which I did every time, making sure I left with everything.

You can check your Power Baby collection via the touch-pad menu, and they all have their own unique face, name and description which makes for some fun light reading.

There was also a trophy for killing every killable NPC, so I made sure I was doing that along the way too. Apart from that and actually beating the game there was only one other thing to do, which was to put some of the crumbled paper on the floor of the telepod into the bin, through the basketball hoop, 1, 10 and then 100 times. 

I did it 10 times pretty much the first time I was in there. It’s a little awkward to do because the best you can do is “click” on the paper balls and they will fly up into the air in the general direction of the hoop. So it’ll go in maybe 1 in 5 times which means it can take a while to get 100. 

In order to make it less frustrating, I would do it 10 times every time I came back to the telepod between missions, eventually reaching 100 at around the mid-way point of the game. Turns out it wasn’t that much of a challenge, or as much of a grind as it seems to be at face value.

I don’t know enough about Basketball to make a funny caption here… Uhh… Swish?

Some trophies required doing certain parts of the story under a time limit, but the time it gives you is so absurdly large compared to the difficulty of the game, that I really didn’t need to extensively attempt to be fast, the trophies just occurred naturally.

Final Clean-Up in Level Select

When all was said and done I had only 2 things left to do;

On the first level, you’re given a choice of which NPC to kill, but as they’re both killable, you obviously need to kill them both to get the trophy for killing all killable NPCs. This cannot be done in a single run, so I had to play the entire level again (much much quicker when not looking for collectables the whole time) in order to kill the NPC I didn’t kill the first time.

On the second level of the game, there’s an NPC who gives you a Green Power Baby, but she is also one of the NPCs you need to kill, so I ended up having to replay the level to get that last Power Baby. Once I took it back to the Telepod and deposited it, I got a questionable reward from Trover,  the “The Ultimate Happy Ending” trophy and my 152nd Platinum Trophy!

It’s not often I get an actually decent Platinum Screenshot, so I’ll take that!

Time Breakdown

Scouring levels for Collectables

Making Campaign Progress

Level Select Cleanup

That concludes my Trover Saves the Universe platinum trophy review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

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It’s been a while since I played a decent VR game and Trover Saves the Universe turned out to be the most fully-formed actual game-like experience I’ve had in VR. A short, sweet, but ultimately complete action-platformer in a ridiculous world where everything is a total joke. Definitely worth the short time it takes to Plat.

Pros

  • One of few actual games in VR
  • A complete Justin Roiland package
  • Immerses you well into the gameplay

Cons

  • Gameplay isn’t very exciting or challenging
  • Could certainly be annoying to some people
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Gold Trophy

While the gameplay might not be anything special, it’s crafted with a special level of loving detail that helps to bring its never-ending absurdity to life around you, especially in VR.

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About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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