Trover Saves the Universe (PS4) Review
Strong story and sense of humor
Mediocre action and gameplay
When you design anything around comedy, you are required to walk a fine line. If you make the humor too abstract and esoteric you alienate your audience. On the other hand, trying to please everyone results in generic and flat humor that might as well not be there at all. You also need to consider how far you’re willing to hinder other aspects in pursuit of the punchline. When thinking about this dilemma, a phrase that comes to mind is “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”
Trover saves the Universe is a fun platformer that is elevated by its creator’s unique sense of humor. To begin with, the plot is a little odd and very silly. The main villain, Glorkon, has stolen your dogs and shoved them into his empty eye sockets. This gives him the powers of a god for some reason, which he then uses to try and take over the universe. They’re your dogs, so it’s up to you to stop him. Unfortunately, you are a “chairopean” and are unable to leave your weird space recliner. Fortunately, Trover is sent to aid you and his addiction to “power babies” means you can do far more together than separate.
The tone of this game is very sarcastic and is quick to make a self-referential joke. The writing usually see-saws between either insulting itself or insulting you for playing. The creators seem to take an odd delight in trolling players as well. Fans of the creator’s other works *cough* Rick and Morty *cough* will likely be used to this, are very likely to expect it, and enjoy it. That being said, it’s not for everyone and has a tendency to drag on. Especially as you try to explore the level rather than move forward with the plot.
The gameplay, unfortunately, is mediocre at best. 3-D platformers have been around since the mid-’90s, and Trover does nothing to improve or change this genre. In fact, one of the most unique game mechanics appears to have started as a way to troll VR users. Your actual character is bound to a chair and uses a controller to manipulate the secondary character. So if you were to play in VR, you would have the perspective of someone sitting in a chair using a controller. The “chairopean” can be transported to fixed locations around the level and as you progress gain additional abilities, such as being able to change your height and move items to aid your partner. The issue is that it often becomes difficult to see where things are or how they relate to other objects from these fixed points. Something that is a constant problem for 3-D platformers to this day. Whether this was intentional is still undetermined. Outside of this, there’s just the standard physic puzzles and bashing of enemies common to this genre.
The artwork is very cartoony and nonsensical. While sometimes a bit gross, it’s not gory, and the clean lines and shadows are pleasing to the eye. Voice acting is very reminiscent of other works *cough* Rick and Morty *cough* but is still professionally done. A technical flaw that needs to be mentioned is in regards to audio tracks. Certain NPCs will have speaking lines as you move about the level. The flaw is that these lines will continue to play during cutscenes creating a weird overlapping effect.
Trover Saves the Universe is an okay game. While the action feels clichéd, the story and humor can easily make up for it if you’re a fan. But only if you are a fan. So if you enjoy the creator’s style, I would highly recommend adding this to your playlist. If you’re not a fan or even just on the fence, well that’s why we have Youtube.