At this level, it bears acknowledging that that is 100% a Justin Roiland challenge, full with all of the hallmarks of his comedic philosophy. Speedy-fire monologues, fart jokes, demolition of the fourth wall, ad-libs, darkish comedy–it’s all intertwined throughout the recreation’s narrative and presentation. If issues like Rick and Morty, Trover Saves The Universe, or Photo voltaic Opposites aren’t your cup of tea, this may not be both. That stated, I’ve a really excessive tolerance for this type of goofiness and I discovered myself laughing all through the 10-hour journey.
I obtained a kick out of the truth that Squanch Video games licensed 4 full-length schlocky B-movies for gamers to “get pleasure from” just because it may. Each time a voice actor in clear ad-lib mode would snicker in the course of a diatribe, I’d additionally snicker. The referential humor at all times obtained a response out of me–particularly mentions of different video video games, just like the full-throated endorsement of indie darling Donut County by Kenny the pistol.
There is a real appeal in all of it. Certain, a few of the jokes do not land, and the ramblings of the gun in my hand can typically go on too lengthy, but it surely’s clear in each try that the event workforce was having enjoyable making Excessive On Life. I by no means knew what was going to occur as scenes progressed, and that lack of predictability enhances the expertise. Truthfully, this unruly method is the one manner sure jokes work–which consists of, for instance, a complete scene that performs out in “Area Applebee’s,” full with waiter interruptions as you order meals.
Nevertheless, Squanch Video games additionally is aware of this model of humor is not for everybody, and it gives the choice to tone down banter so these turned off by fixed chatter can nonetheless benefit from the recreation. I left my settings to “Frequent” banter and did not assume it was too much–in comparability, I didn’t discover the banter to be as egregious as what earned Horizon: Forbidden West criticism earlier this yr. This could possibly be as a result of the characters weren’t talking out loud in regards to the puzzles in entrance of me, which made the dialogue really feel extra pure for the setting.
When you get previous the goofiness and give attention to the sport itself, Excessive On Life delivers a stable 3D shooter expertise that emulates the exploits of Samus Aran. Every of the completely different biomes I explored have been brimming with secrets and techniques, from residing chests stuffed with gold to random NPCs providing a fast zinger or transient aspect quest. As the sport progresses, vertical motion is launched because of discovering a jetpack, and that opens up exploration much more.
These worlds are massive, as properly, which the sport tries to counter with a waypoint system that enables me to see during which course my goal lies and the way distant it sits. Generally this method will get its wires crossed, and reaching one waypoint in some way turns into me returning to the waypoint I simply got here from, however most of the time, a easy faucet of the D-Pad factors me in the proper course. The waypoints additionally turned one thing of a crutch within the later components of the sport, as not utilizing them typically led to me touring to the incorrect a part of the map and getting misplaced. It’s not an ideal system, however the waypoints are useful most of the time.
The Gatlians every stand out from each other, each of their quips and the way they’re utilized in fight. Kenny is the resident pistol, Gus is a shotgun, Knifey is the… uh, knife, and Sweezy acts just like the Needler from Halo. Essentially the most attention-grabbing of the weapons is Creature, which acts as a type of Pikmin machine, launching small creatures at enemies for harm over time. All 4 are potent in fight, as they possess benefits over sure foes and make it important to modify by way of weapons throughout a combat.
Every gun has a second energy that aids with touring and environmental puzzles, which slowly opens extra of the world to me as I progress. Kenny shoots blasts of thick slime which can hit designated obstacles and mean you can move. Sweezy can hearth a shot that slows time within the space round the place it lands, making her the proper option to get previous fast-spinning followers that might in any other case trigger harm. These particular photographs can in a combat as well–Kenny’s slime photographs will launch opponents within the air for additional hits, for example–which provides me much more choices.
Utilizing the Gatlians in battle is plenty of enjoyable, and the enemies I am dealing with match proper into the bizarre and foolish aesthetic of the remainder of the sport. The dangerous guys are every coated in a type of yellow goo–the origin of which I cannot spoil–and as you deal harm, the goo wears off, exposing their grey our bodies beneath. Whereas unusual, it serves as a simple visible support for a way a lot harm you’ve got achieved to a sure enemy, and it additionally means that you can create your personal weak factors. If an enemy is hiding behind cowl, however there is a patch of grey pores and skin uncovered on its arm, goal that spot and the enemy will fall rapidly. It is an ingenious concept of displaying fight harm on enemies with out giving them well being bars or one thing related.
That stated, a lot of the enemies I encountered are dumb as rocks. I may run as much as any one of many regular grunts and both shoot or melee them to dying with out taking plenty of harm. There have been occasions I’d be overwhelmed and need to retry a battle, however these have been extra as a consequence of my being overzealous somewhat than enemies outsmarting me.
Certain, a few of the jokes do not land, and the ramblings of the gun in my hand can typically go on too lengthy, but it surely’s clear in each try that the event workforce was having enjoyable making Excessive On Life
Boss fights aren’t a lot better, as nearly all of them boil down to easily taking pictures and dodging. A few of them shake issues up a bit, whether or not they implement the particular shot of the Gatlian you’re about to rescue–Krubis fires massive discs you may replicate again at him, which it seems is the ability of Gus the shotgun–or offer you a number of bosses to combat without delay. At their core, nonetheless, it’s extra of the identical fight you get from grunts, simply with larger baddies.
Whereas total fight is enjoyable, the place it turns into tedious is the size of some skirmishes. Every encounter tends to play out in waves, with two or three units of enemies popping out earlier than the battle is over. A few of them stretch far longer than that, to the purpose the place Kenny the pistol says, “Oh my god, MORE?!” and I am feeling precisely the identical. These fights turn out to be a check of endurance as a lot as a check of ability. Boss fights haven’t got this concern for probably the most half, however a few of them fall into their very own issues–one combat specifically nonetheless makes me indignant simply occupied with how tough it turned in its last stage.
Finally, Excessive On Life is, in its personal bizarre manner, a tackle what a contemporary Metroid Prime recreation could possibly be, by way of the lens of Justin Roiland’s comedy antics. There is a related sense of exploration blended with fast-paced moments of fight, solely right here it is also swelling with expletive-laden jokes and typically incoherent rambling. The story, off-beat as it might be, is informed extremely properly, with characters and moments I will be referencing for some time. Even in the event you’re not a fan of the type of humor Excessive On Life presents, the recreation that is right here is definitely worth the journey.