GDC Hands-On IMPRESSIONS: Trover Saves the Universe

Monday, May 6th, 2019

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Trevor Saves the Universe | Logo

Publisher(s): Gearbox Publishing
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PC (Epic Games / Steam)
Release Date(s): May 31, 2019 (PlayStation 4), June 4, 2019 (PC)
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram


Created and written by Justin Roiland (co-creator and executive producer of a little TV show called Rick and Morty on Adult Swim), Trover Saves the Universe is a game about you (who sits in a chair) owning a pair of dogs that have been both dognapped and inserted into Glorkon’s eye sockets as part of his bid to destroy the universe as we all know it. You are partnered up with Trover, who’s own eye holes have ‘Power Babies’ inserted in them that serve essentially a gameplay MacGuffin to let you control Trover as you sit there in both real life and in VR as a sort of ‘meta’ commentary. At GDC 2019, I was able to get my hands on a PlayStation VR demo of the game to see how Mr. Roiland’s style of humor translates into the video game genre.

Trover Saves the Universe | Apartment

The purple figure is Trover, who you can control with the ‘Power Babies’ that are in his eyes. You play as a person in a chair with a controller…much like how you sit down and play with a controller in real life. It’s meta. (Image courtesy of Squanch Games).

Trover Saves the Universe is a game that clearly will live -or die- by its writing. And thankfully, the game’s script and dialogue is on point. The writing in Trover Saves the Universe is sharp, clever, and often self-aware of its own gameplay mechanics. For example, at the beginning of the game, the control tutorial is set up as you watching a TV show drama titled As The Chair Turns between two people, one of whom won’t turn (using the right control stick) and the other who won’t interact with objects (by looking at them and pressing R2). It is a testament to the strong writing that I kept laughing throughout my demo, whether I am being called a ‘dirty Chairopean’ or Trover talking about how he likes to go to ‘Empty Peepers’ after work, as I was learning the various mechanics that I will doubtlessly need to know for the full game. This is, in other words, a truly adult-oriented VR title.

Aside from turning around in a stationary place and moving Trover around in your field of view, you (the player) moves around through teleportation locomotion to various set ‘warp nodes’ that you have Trover first run onto. While fixed warping locomotion does have it downsides (as you can’t really explore the world first-hand in all its VR detail), it successfully forces the player to focus on what dialogue and cutscenes are currently happening in the game. The graphics are quite bright and colorful, which belays a much more ‘cartoony’ aspect of the game than you would expect from the ‘M’ rating that this game has already achieved.

In addition to the light platforming and puzzles, Trover is also armed with a lazer sword for combat. Swinging the lazer sword from a third person point of view to attack a pair of enemies was fairly simple and fun. That said, I was surprised to find that I had some depth perception issues with properly targeting and hitting the enemies while playing in VR. It wasn’t enough to put me in any real serious danger of dying, but it was still a surprise. That said, I hope that when the full game comes out, and if combat is a major factor in the final product, that there is more variety to the game’s combat system than literally just swinging and hitting and jumping to keep me both engaged and looking forward to the next fighting encounter.

Trover Saves the Universe | Jumping

Trover Saves the Universe | Lazer Sword

A lot of the action, other than interacting with NPCs, in Trover Saves the Universe involves jumping and combat with a lazer sword. It works well, other than some minor depth perception issues. (Images courtesy of Squanch Games).

As I reached the spaceship at the end of the level and pressed the button to teleport, I was struck by the fact that Trover Saves the Universe is honestly a crazy and well-written game. The PSVR experience played extremely well, and I did not feel any VR sickness whatsoever. And as I said before, this game’s strongest asset is its writing. Even from my introductory-level demo, I can tell that this is a funny game to play and I am genuinely curious to see what else Justin Roiland and Squanch Games has in store for us when the full game comes out May 31, 2019 for PlayStation 4 and June 4 for PC.



Are you excited for Trover Saves the Universe? What do you think of this type of humor in a game?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Do you want to do an interview? You can reach me at interviews@oprainfall.com