Once I booted up Excessive On Life for the primary time, I knew what I used to be getting myself into. I am aware of the work of not solely Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty, Photo voltaic Opposites) but in addition of his recreation studio Squanch Video games (Trover Saves The Universe, Accounting+), so I had an concept of the form of comedy that was coming my method. What I didn’t count on, nevertheless, was a 3D shooter with Metroidvania vibes that echo a few of the finest video games of my youth, and extra importantly does them justice.
Excessive On Life tells the story of an unnamed protagonist–whom everybody calls “Bounty Hunter,” even their very own sister–fighting in opposition to an alien drug cartel that is invaded Earth. The cartel needs to spherical up each human on the planet and promote them because the drug, which different aliens can devour by way of elaborate machines. Our bounty hunter hero is armed with Gatlians, a race of speaking weapons, and every Gatlian possesses its personal assaults and skills. The idea is admittedly very bizarre, but it surely’s a well-told story that stored me guessing till the top.
At this level, it bears acknowledging that that is 100% a Justin Roiland undertaking, full with all of the hallmarks of his comedic philosophy. Fast-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 form of goofiness and I discovered myself laughing all through the 10-hour journey.
I bought a kick out of the truth that Squanch Video games licensed 4 full-length schlocky B-movies for gamers to “take pleasure in” just because it may. Each time a voice actor in clear ad-lib mode would snort in the course of a diatribe, I might additionally snort. The referential humor all the time bought 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. Positive, 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. Actually, this unruly strategy is the one method sure jokes work–which contains, for instance, a whole 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 supplies 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 12 months. 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 deal with 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 facet quest. As the sport progresses, vertical motion is launched because of discovering a jetpack, and that opens up exploration much more.
These worlds are giant, as effectively, which the sport tries to counter with a waypoint system that permits me to see during which course my goal lies and the way far-off it sits. Generally this technique 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 as a rule, a easy faucet of the D-Pad factors me in the suitable course. The waypoints additionally grew to become one thing of a crutch within the later components of the sport, as not utilizing them typically led to me touring to the mistaken a part of the map and getting misplaced. It’s not an ideal system, however the waypoints are useful as a rule.
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. Probably the most attention-grabbing of the weapons is Creature, which acts as a form of Pikmin gadget, 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 via 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 assist you to move. Sweezy can hearth a shot that slows time within the space round the place it lands, making her the right option to get previous fast-spinning followers that may 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 further hits, for example–which offers me much more choices.
Utilizing the Gatlians in battle is plenty of enjoyable, and the enemies I am going through match proper into the bizarre and foolish aesthetic of the remainder of the sport. The dangerous guys are every coated in a form of yellow goo–the origin of which I can’t spoil–and as you deal harm, the goo wears off, exposing their grey our bodies beneath. Whereas unusual, it serves as a straightforward visible assist for the way a lot harm you’ve got finished to a sure enemy, and it additionally lets you 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 exhibiting fight harm on enemies with out giving them well being bars or one thing related.
That stated, many 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 loss of life 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 resulting from my being overzealous reasonably than enemies outsmarting me.
Positive, 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 significantly 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 giant discs you may mirror again at him, which it seems is the ability of Gus the shotgun–or provide you with a number of bosses to combat directly. At their core, nevertheless, it’s extra of the identical fight you get from grunts, simply with greater 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 grow to be a take a look at of persistence as a lot as a take a look at 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 particularly nonetheless makes me indignant simply serious about how troublesome it grew to become in its closing stage.
In the end, Excessive On Life is, in its personal bizarre method, a tackle what a contemporary Metroid Prime recreation could possibly be, via the lens of Justin Roiland’s comedy antics. There is a related sense of exploration combined 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 could be, is informed extremely effectively, with characters and moments I will be referencing for some time. Even should you’re not a fan of the form of humor Excessive On Life presents, the recreation that is right here is definitely worth the journey.