Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Review – Laundry Day (PSVR)
Here’s where I admit something abhorrent, shameful even—I have never watched a full episode of Rick and Morty. It’s not that I don’t like it or even that I don’t want to. It’s simply not something that has crossed my path in such a way that I would have watched it. That said, I’m well aware of the pop culture impacts, the inside jokes, and the comedic style of both Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon. I was a huge fan of Owlchemy Labs’ hilarious Job Simulator, and I had a good time with Justin Roiland’s Accounting+. When I saw these two worlds colliding, I had to breach the multiverse to check it out.
Roiland and Owlchemy are no strangers to one another. Job Simulator features a couple of radio stations in the mechanic level that are more or less Roiland’s Rick and Morty characters talking to one another about innocuous things like cars and the weather. Of course, Roiland also has a relationship with Crows, Crows, Crows, and has his own development studio called Squanch Games. With Roiland’s persistent involvement in the video game space, specifically VR, it was inevitable that a Rick and Morty VR game would pop up somewhere.
And by inevitable, I mean that Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality has actually been out for a full year. No Rip Van Winkle, you didn’t pass out in the bar bathroom again. It released on Oculus and Vive in April 2017. Apparently the PSVR version got stuck in another dimension during for the last year. Or porting to another platform takes time and effort. Whatever.
Summoned into existence by Rick (or one of an infinitesimal number of Ricks), you are clone Morty. So yes, not only are there an infinite number of multiverse dimensions with an infinite number of Mortys, there’s now a clone Morty. So make that infinity plus one. You’ve been brought into this world for one task: to do Rick’s laundry. Of course, simplicity has never been the modus operandi for Rick and Morty, opting instead to over-complicate mundanity (see exhibit A: Szechuan sauce). Things quickly spiral out of control (or is everything always in control?), and your tasks as clone Morty go far beyond the simple scrubbing of Rick’s delicates.
Traveling the Multiverse From Rick’s Garage
Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality takes a lesson from Owlchemy Labs’ previous “object handling” gameplay in Job Simulator. Many of the puzzles center around combining two objects into a new one using the workbench in Rick’s garage. In fact, most of the game keeps you in the garage instead of out gallivanting among dimensions with Rick and real Morty. In some ways, it’s disappointing that you are the butler and don’t get to accompany them on their crazy adventures. In others, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Rick and Morty game, fitting right in with the smart and snappy humor that doesn’t hold back. You aren’t actually part of that family, so you aren’t good enough to go. Here’s a plunger. Unclog the toilet. The puzzles are more interesting than Job Simulator, requiring some actual critical thinking and skilled gameplay as opposed to simple object interactions.
There are a few instances that allow you to use portals to travel to different places. One of the interesting and exciting events of the game has you in Earth’s orbit, but it still doesn’t distract from the fact that these moments are small side scenarios, with the garage being the main base of menial operations. The campaign is brief, easily completed within a couple of hours. The post-game features a number of challenges for completionists (there are some tough challenges for that Platinum trophy) and some great Easter eggs for fans of the show, but the longer I spent in Rick’s garage, the more shallow the experience seemed.
Of course, the campaign itself is loaded with hilarious banter from the show’s lead characters, which is part of what made the post-game feel a little bit empty. The long rants between Rick and Morty as you try to solve puzzles and figure out what to do next was an excellent driver. It took me back to those relatively dull moments of being a mechanic in Job Simulator that were punctuated by comedic banter that Justin Roiland recorded for the radio. The endgame’s Easter eggs were entertaining once found–such as the hidden cassette tapes–but the hunt was often less than interesting as time ticked by.
Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality has the riotous opportunity to be self aware, knowing that it is indeed a game. A number of fourth-wall breaking comments heighten the sense of being there with these famed characters. The conclusion of the campaign leads to a particularly interesting rant about the game itself, a clever way for the developers to communicate additional goals and reasons to keep playing. As I said earlier, I’ve never sat down to fully watch an episode of Rick and Morty, but this game did create a renewed interest in adding it to my watchlist. There’s a sharp and uncensored wit that’s always present, and I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
Year in Waiting
Having been out for a year already, however, reviews of the content are already in. The leap from PC to PlayStation brought some problems with the room-scale tracking the game was originally designed with. Most PSVR developers have acknowledged that the cone of vision for the PlayStation Camera obstructs most movement behind the player. I occasionally found myself trying to grab objects behind me or just out of reach of the camera’s view, losing the tracking and watching a ghostly hand float off in an odd direction. There’s no turning ability in the game, so forward is always a preset direction. It wasn’t a big issue most of the time, but it would have been a nice to implement a turning feature for usability (at least quarter turns to open up the usable play space).
Teleportation allows you to move to three different zones in the garage, while the portal to new areas simply requires you to sidestep through it. You-seeks are provided as a sort of mirror-image clone of yourself to get out of reach objects, but even those can require reaching in directions that doesn’t do the tracking any favors. I like to think that I have a decent-sized play space that has worked out great for most PSVR games, but in Rick’s garage I found myself hitting things like my couch and even knocked my light fixture down at one point while frantically waving my hands around. Expect to play this one standing, and expect to hit a number of things.
Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality is another hilarious creation by Justin Roiland and Owlchemy Labs. It brings the world, characters, and humor of Rick and Morty to life in a way that you simply can’t experience outside of VR. It’s relatively short length is easy enough to complete in a single VR sitting, but aside from Easter eggs for hardcore fans and difficult challenges for completionists (good luck with the battery), there aren’t a lot of reasons to jump back in to play it again once Rick and Morty vanish through that portal for the last time. Virtual Rick-ality is for those who love Justin Roiland’s style of humor. Others might find some moderately intriguing puzzles and fun object interactions, but the humor and licensed content are the central constructs that really justify the purchase.
Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.00 reviewed on a standard PS4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.