Excessive On Life: The Kotaku Overview
I’m about 4 hours into Excessive On Life and I’ve a migraine. It’s unfair to say that the sport has given me one—I’m, in any case, notoriously vulnerable to them—however it definitely isn’t serving to. The brightly coloured, gloopy, blobby alien worlds and constant chatter from NPCs, enemies, and my weapons aren’t precisely a soothing salve for an aching head, however I’m decided to forge on.
So, I decide to heed the dev’s advice and play the remainder of Excessive On Life whereas out-of-orbit excessive, and hit up my supply service to safe the products. Excessive On Life is strictly what you’d count on by way of plot, narrative, and humor from Squanch Video games’ creator Justin Roiland (who additionally makes Rick and Morty): aliens have come to Earth to smoke human beings like meth and get excessive off of them, and also you (a suburban teen whose visage you select from just a few faces proven in a mirror coated in coke traces) gotta develop into an alien bounty hunter to kill off the cartel members hell-bent on turning your species into their subsequent designer drug. There are jokes about cum and buttholes, and jiggly, bouncing tits hooked up to little aliens in overalls. All the pieces is gloopy and globby and slightly bit icky, from the weapons you maintain in your hand to the bosses you must take down.
Talking of: A washed-up former bounty hunter named Gene is your sort-of coach on this journey to kill off the G3 cartel. Positive, he’s glued to your sofa for everything of the sport watching B films like Tammy and the T-Rex and jacking off, however everytime you return to your childhood house that’s been transported to an alien metropolis, he’s there, able to say one thing asinine earlier than pointing you within the route you’ll must go subsequent: nab a bounty on the alien portal that’s sitting in your front room, head to a pawn store to fetch a jetpack, the same old.
Every considered one of your chatty weapons (you’ll be able to alter how a lot they discuss within the menus, don’t fear, although I doggedly refuse to in self-flagellation), has completely different talents and use-cases. In a Metroidvania like Excessive On Life, which means you should use new weapons in outdated areas to achieve areas you couldn’t earlier than. The reward? Some credit which you should use to improve your weapons or a gross little collectible that goes in your stock, however largely completionist satisfaction. That and the platforming itself, which is surprisingly satisfying and hefty.
Previous mid-game once I’ve received a jetpack and magnetic boots, the platforming actually sings. I can use my grappling hook to soar throughout neon acid lakes, shoot a disc from my J.B. Smoove gun and jetpack as much as it to achieve excessive heights, and run alongside a magnetic wall whereas firing my knock-off Natasha Lyonne gun.
The weapons are additionally a pleasing shock, even when the fight itself can all too usually be same-y, with only a few enemy varieties to rotate by throughout every encounter. I discover that I swap between virtually each gun in each firefight, whether or not it’s the Morty-eque pistol, the SMG that jogs my memory of a Halo needler, or the gun that shoots little alien children who can latch on and gnaw enemy faces. Switching between them provides some much-needed selection to the fight, and helps hold it from feeling too stale.
Throughout Excessive On Life’s leaner fight moments that don’t really feel like the sport is simply opening up the identical two two doorways to ship out the identical three enemy varieties, there’s an virtually Doom: Everlasting high quality at play. However this doesn’t occur sufficient, and that’s a bummer.
I return to Excessive On Life to strive it out in a special mind-set. I’m on the hub planet the place the protagonist’s house has been transported, wandering round it for the primary time, taking a look at all the extent artwork that I’ve been blowing by for the final 4 hours in an try and make some headway (Kotaku obtained a overview code somewhat late on Friday night, as we had been beforehand warned of by a rep for Squanch Video games).
A voice emanates from the displays scattered concerning the hub. Reasonably than tuning it out—which I began doing about an hour into the sport—I’m transfixed by it. A globby, pink alien (which might describe almost each character in Excessive On Life, save for the bizarre progress protruding of this one’s again) is asking for somebody to please fuck it. “My complete species died out twenty years in the past, and I haven’t been fucked since,” he says. That progress is, apparently, his genitals. That is, in line with him, The Lil Sick Lil Fuck Present. I cackle. Okay, high quality, you bought me.
Sadly, I attain a psychological stalemate—-no matter how excessive I get, the sheer quantity of dialogue piles up in my thoughts till I can’t discover something humorous, I simply need each character to depart me be, together with a floating, screaming, wailing alien who follows me across the majority of a complete degree. Once I attain a degree the place I must do detective work in an try to search out my subsequent bounty, or have interaction in yet one more mediator session between my in-game character’s sister and the couch-surfing Gene, the incessantly lengthy dialogue sections make my leg begin anxiously jiggling, which is one thing I haven’t actually finished since highschool math class.
That is quintessential Roiland humor: Drag out one thing for therefore lengthy it begins to make the viewer uncomfortable, then drag it out slightly longer till they begin to uncomfortably snigger, then drive that laughter house with a splash extra discomfort—see, now it’s hilarious. However whereas this formulation works (largely) nicely in a 22-minute-long Rick and Morty episode, by the point I’m a number of hours into Excessive On Life, each line of dialogue makes it clear that in some way, I’m not excessive sufficient.
As I’m sitting with my head in my palms whereas yet one more NPC drones on, I bear in mind one thing artwork director Mikey Spano stated throughout my hands-on: “I believe we’re within the contenders for many dialogue ever.” That, together with the curses, grumbles, and stammerings of Roiland and Roiland-adjacent voice actors, rings in my head just like the voice of Sauron for the remainder of my Excessive On Life expertise. And but, nonetheless, I doggedly refuse to regulate the dialogue settings. That is how the sport was initially designed and marketed, and I’ll settle for it as such.
When the sport shuts the fuck up, there are some genuinely humorous moments. The Morty gun stammering over easy methods to pronounce ‘Marlboro’ is an effective bit, and I’m (naturally) a fan of all of the Italian references and Italian-coded characters jammed into this recreation. A random location on the main hub planet called Little Shitaly had me laughing, and anytime Roiland pulls out a stereotypical New York accent, I can’t assist however smile. There are some celeb cameos that may have you ever doing the Leonardo DiCaprio pointing meme at your display screen, as nicely. In case you’re on the fence about this recreation, do not forget that it’s on Xbox Recreation Move, and no less than value an try at a playthrough. The humor could not click on with you, however it’s not meant to appease everybody.
However though Excessive On Life pointedly prods at cliche recreation design decisions like quest-giving NPCs, clue-finding missions, and recycled degree layouts (we heard that Kotaku shoutout), and exhibits off some distinctive gameplay components that really feel genuinely impressed, the majority of this recreation shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel. There are elements that I want had been pushed slightly bit additional, probabilities that would have been taken that may actually promote the entire meta recreation vibe—the warp discs, which allow you to warp in random worlds like Cutie City and an alien site visitors jam, are a good way to boost what is usually a reasonably typical degree format. However they will’t be utilized in that many locations, and there aren’t all that many simply but (although I ought to word Spano did counsel there might be extra to come back post-launch).
There are additionally fairly just a few bugs, although a day-one patch on PC and a soon-to-come patch on Xbox could repair that. A number of occasions, nevertheless, I used to be pressured to reload a earlier checkpoint as a result of a bug had launched my character excessive above the extent, or an enemy had glitched by the ground and I couldn’t progress with out killing them.
Excessive On Life, like Rick and Morty, walks up the precipice of revelation, opens its fly, and pisses into the chasm. It’s fucking humorous to virtually do one thing completely different in kind and performance simply to tug away on the final second, isn’t it? You thought we actually gave a fuck, didn’t you? Fucking fool. Right here’s a fart.