High on Life, the upcoming first-person shooter comedy from Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games, doesn’t take place within the Rick and Morty universe. But it looks like it might. It has crazy and foul-mouthed aliens, fantastic settings and a 100% Roiland sense of humorfrom the interdimensional animated shorts that act as TV commercials in the High on Live universe to your default talking gun, a gun named Kenny that sounds exactly like Morty.
I’ve played for a few hours, and the developers have been careful not to show me the first few minutes, but otherwise they’ve left me free to choose whatever activities I’d like and in whatever order I’d like during my testing time. In summary, High on Life is more than I expected, in the best way. I was expecting a fun FPS with beautiful game worlds. That’s what it has, for sure, but when it comes to gameplay it also includes upgradeable weapons and skills, side quests, and hours of comedy in the form of ads, movies, and NPC dialogue that you can hang out with and be entertained by. , if you wish. All of this is a refreshing change of pace in a genre that is usually taken far too seriously.
Let’s start with what will undoubtedly be the cover letter of High on Life: Their sense of humor. I’ve always rocked Roiland’s comedy (from Rick and Morty to Solar Opposites to his utterly impactful short film made for Seth Rogan’s Hilarity for Charity event in 2018) and repeatedly laughed while playing.
There is a surprising amount of depth to the combat.
Combat is more layered than meets the eye. Of course, you have four unique weapons, but it’s the skills you can buy from in-game shops (such as dash, dash forward, and health and weapon upgrades) that allow you to feel more powerful in firefights the more you play. you advance in the game. Use Sweezy’s time-slowing secondary attack to create a pocket of molasses-like slow enemies, and then ignite them with his primary fire, which embeds explosive crystals into your targets, then power slide and melee so they the crystals explode and kill all nearby enemies. Or maybe you prefer to attack those bad guys with time bubbles by throwing Kenny’s alt-fire blob grenade to blow up your targets, then swing in with Gus’s shotgun-like primary attack to finish them off. Unless, of course, they still haven’t died, in which case you can use a melee finisher. There is a surprising amount of depth to the combat.
Also, is organically replayable. Roiland stressed this to me during my long gaming session. It’s not made on purpose for you to play over and over again, so you can get some better item. No, this is a story-driven single player game, but a natural side effect of having four main weapons (each of which has a distinct personality and a deep well of bespoke dialogue) is that you can replay play sections and enjoy the conversations with the NPCs again, as they will play out very differently depending on what weapon your mute protagonist is currently equipped with.
You can replay the sections and enjoy the conversations with the NPCs again, as they will play out very differently depending on what weapon your mute protagonist is currently equipped with.
I would like to take a minute to talk about the artistic style. Quite simply, the alien worlds of High on Life powered by the Unreal engine are delicious. It’s a far cry from the grays and browns we’re used to seeing in many first-person shooters. The Zephyr Paradise biome, in particular, where a village of lovable bear-shaped aliens called Moplets reside, is filled with a gorgeous array of pinks, blues, and greens. And perhaps that’s a subtle way High on Life heightens its humor: contrasting the pretty scenery with its unabashedly crude language. Visually, this game is somewhat reminiscent of Oddworld, an influence that Roiland gladly admitted.
Let me get back to comedy before I go. Although yes, humor is subjective, to my ears High on Life is funny. He is also ruthless. You can (and should) wait for the NPCs to say more funny things, because they will. Roiland told me that he and the Squanch team wrote a lot of material for this game, and that’s evident after a few hours of playing. Comedy comes from everywhere: of your weapons, of your enemies. For example, you can find entire B movies hidden here, licensed and covered. The big question is whether High on Life has the gameplay to support its plethora of jokes, and so far it looks very promising.