Coming from one of the co-creators of Rick and Morty, you won’t be surprised to here how familiar the humour in High On Life is. Just like Justin Roiland’s other projects, including Solar Opposites and Accounting, it’s hard to escape the shadow of the hugely successful adult-themed animated sitcom. But then, as you’ll learn from this High On Life review, it never really tries to.
The game begins with a retro-styled FPS game teaching you the control mechanics. For the uninitiated, you could be confused into thinking you’re playing the wrong game. However, it’s highly unlikely that many playing High on Life won’t be aware of the Rick and Morty connection, and as such playing through and waiting for the delivery is part of the experience. Not just in this sequence either, but for much of the game.
Once the sequence has been completed – or, rather, interrupted – you’re introduced to an NPC and asked to pick your avatar. There’s a limited number of faces to choose from, but they do represent a spread of diversity. What’s more important however, is the way in which you choose. Being offered a line of cocaine upon a mirror, you press left or right to choose your identity. It’s this kind of in-game mechanic that High On Life champions throughout. Similarly to Gears of War or Dead Space, High On Life delivers it’s mis-en-scene not through the environmental details, but through an interactive, cohesive world.
That’s not to knock the environment design at all. Within the first few minutes you can figure out a lot of background story detail just by looking around. The posters on your wall suggest an angsty teenager. The notes on the fridge suggest your parents – who your sister informed you have gone away – have gone to Paris. The appearance of a giant alien ship informs you that aliens are invading. Wait, that one’s not so incidental.
The game has you bouncing around alien locales in search of the G3, an alien cartel that has decided, for some reason, to destroy the Earth. There are several lieutenants you must track down and eliminate before facing the big bad boss. Each lieutenant is located in a different area, and introduces a new set of bad guys to fight as you track them down. It’s pretty formulaic stuff. But, as you may have guessed by now, it’s the scene dressing that sets High On Life apart.
Each of the weapons you will acquire has a personality of its own. These talking instruments of death will guide you along the path to victory, giving advice and commentary as the action unfolds. Some of it is very amusing, much of it is filler. It is entirely unique, however. It even offers comment on it’s own potential High On Life review. There’s not a game in recent memory that has delivered so much character – even Justin Roiland’s own previous works.
Those guns provide more than just conversational set pieces however. They can shoot, too. High On Life features a decent variety of weaponry, each with secondary fire for both combat and puzzle solving. Within it’s campaign there are plenty of puzzles to solve, but as the game itself comments upon, most will be familiar to experienced gamers. There’s a considerable amount of platforming, too. While – like most of the game – it’s not exactly ground-breaking, it should give DOOM Eternal pause for thought.
Now for a bit of negativity. As enjoyable as High on Life is, its not without flaw. Occasionally, the many humorous (and frequently inane) sound bytes can overlap, leaving one of your weapons speaking two sentences at the same time. The draw distance on the finer detail is pretty poor, which is especially noticeable in larger outdoor areas.
As this High On Life review attests, the game is a fantastically playable single-player FPS. It’s a breath of fresh air from all the multiplayer, battle royale offers that the genre seems to be falling into. However, that being said, the gameplay far from original. It’s like a patchwork of the best ideas the genre has had over the past decade, sewn over with that familiar Roiland humour. If that sounds appealing then you can’t go wrong with High On Life. But if actively dislike Rick and Morty, this game isn’t going to change your mind.