Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Review (PC)
Steven Hurley puts on his headset and checks out Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality
“Oh jeez Rick, I don’t know about this VR stuff, y’know? Like maybe VR needs time to develop or something, I don’t know…”
“M-M-Morty *URP* shut up Morty. J-Just put on the headset.”
It’s tough to talk about the game without making this sound like a review of the show. That’s because, broadly speaking, the game relies heavily on references to the show for your enjoyment. Mr Poopy Butt-Head makes a cameo, as does Jerry. You can pick up a Plumbus, play the Game of Troy, shoot robots (it’s a figure of speech), and so on. I don’t want this review to lean on the old “Fans of the series will enjoy…” etc, so I’ll talk a little around the show before coming back to it.
What gameplay there is, shares many similarities with Owlchemy Lab’s other VR experience: Job Simulator. Which is fine, Job Sim is a great show piece – something you crack out for folks who haven’t used VR before and want a demo. You can interact with all the objects within your reach, they act exactly as they should and you often get fun outcomes when you force them to interact. The levels/tasks in Job Sim are also short and don’t overstay their welcome.
Unfortunately, Rick and Morty does overstay its welcome. Unlike Job Sim, tasks have no break between them, so there’s no natural pause. With no delimitation things feel longer and more laborious. Add that to the fact that the game is functionally an Adventure game, with everything that entails: Get your objective, find the things you need, rub these things together to make a new thing and then test the new thing to see if it achieves the objective. It can be boring, slow and lacks a feeling of accomplishment or progress.
The game does offer a hint system which can be incredibly unhelpful. The ‘hints’ it gives often just restate the objective, without clarifying it or offering guidance on how to achieve it. “Get the egg from the rock.” What egg? Which rock? That doesn’t look like an egg. “Get the egg from the rock.” Repeating commands is not a hint system, it’s frustrating.
And for all the game touts itself as a ‘Rick and Morty’ game, there’s very little of either in it. We spend most of the game tooling around Rick’s lab, performing tasks he gives to us through his communicator watch. Meanwhile Rick, Morty and Summer have the adventure off-screen. We’re pulled in to clean up their messes periodically. Beyond a host of references, the Cronenburgh-style body horror is completely missing, as is the disintegration of the Smith family unit. So is any mention of Rick’s (allegedly) tragic past. The closest we come to the original show is: Rick does something messed up. Morty comments what Rick did was messed up. Rick will equate his messed up action to something we’re tacitly complicit with in our daily lives. We’re meant to feel kind of icky with it and move on.
On a technical note, the game really needs a VR Play Space of 6.5ft by 5ft to function. You can do it with less, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Many of the tasks require you to use the full extend of that space – any less and you may find yourself punching a wall.
I’ve spent the majority of this review talking about how the game is lacking in various ways. I’ve also used the words ‘game’ and ‘experience’ interchangeably – which might be unfair. It’s not a game, and it is an experience. You can interact with all the objects in your reach, they all act exactly as you’d expect (with a few Rick-related exceptions) and some novel outcomes happen when some objects interact.
But Job Simulator does all those things and the experience doesn’t feel drawn out. Plus you can stick your parents in Job Sim and it won’t swear at them. In light of there being a better substitute to Rick and Morty: Virtual Rickality, unless you’re a super fan, you’d be better with Job Sim.
5 Squanch’s out of 10