"I sold our likenesses to some video game publisher for a lot of money, Morty," Rick jokingly explains in the trailer for the Adult Swim show's first virtual reality game, but fortunately it isn't a remotely cynical venture.
First off, all the voices and plot points and dialogue are legit, and you can tell great care has been taken to make this game really feel like a part of the Rick and Morty universe rather than just being a third-party game with an R&M skin thrown on (probably because show co-creator Justin Roiland is a keen VR enthusiast and even has his own VR studio).
Secondly, and crucially, a Rick and Morty VR game makes total sense. TV shows and films turned into video games have a checkered history to say the least, and often leave you wondering 'Why am I playing an RPG version of Sesame Street?' or whatever, but VR is a good fit for R&M given its overacting interest in the metaphysical and the idea of multiple realities.
The game is centred in Rick's garage, and puts you in the body of a Morty clone tasked with fixing various gadgets. It's problem and puzzle solving, essentially, but with a dose of shooting and surreal storytelling thrown in there too. It's quite ingenious how creators Adult Swim Games and Owlchemy Labs managed to not only incorporate various beloved supporting characters from the show but actually make them very useful. Portals, for instance, solve the problem of you not being able to walk very far in the game lest you hit a wall in the real world, while Mr. Meeseeks are cleverly employed as ways to transport items outside of your playing zone.
I played the game on an HTC Vive and it was seamless; it took me seconds to mentally calibrate to my new environment and all of the controls felt completely instinctive, to the point where I felt like I wanted to click to pick things up in the real world after removing the headset. Checking my in-VR watch for mission updates from Rick made total sense, and lifting, moving, throwing and inspecting objects worked exactly as it would in real life. In short, as you'd want from a VR game, it feels like you're there.
The downsides here are that, although the portal gun provides a few more areas to explore, you do crave to move out of the garage after a while, but this is more a limitation with the technology as it stands as opposed to an oversight in the game. Virtual Rick-ality is also perhaps a tad short for the £22 price tag, but has various challenges wired in to improve replayability.
Not only fun little game, then, but a genuinely worthwhile addition to the Rick and Morty cannon and a peak at the surreal possibilities ahead in VR.
Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality is now available for the HTC Vive and Oculus + Touch on Steam and Oculus Home.
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