Who knew a garage could be so much fun? I mean, apart from the occasional box of forgotten thingamajigs and a disturbing amount of spiders, there isn’t a lot going on in mine. As soon as you slip on your virtual reality headset and find yourself in Rick Sanchez’s, however, Owlchemy Labs and series co-creator Justin Roiland have made sure that a whole world of weird and wonderful adventures await you. So sit back and let me tell you how Rick & Morty – Virtual Rick-ality spun a stupidly entertaining sci-fi story about life, death, dirty underwear and detergent.
What? Is there something on my… my… wait a minute, I seem to be missing something here…
You know the one thing I really enjoy about virtual reality? I pull on my headset, power up the controllers, click the icon and bam, I’m in another world. Rick & Morty – Virtual Rick-ality is no different, plopping you into the living room of the Smith household. As you look around the room, a mess of empty red drink cups, crumpled beer cans and various stains are visible, while outside the patio windows, a garden sprinkler is causing a sizeable puddle. What happened here? I have no idea, and that’s just fine. The game doesn’t tell you because it doesn’t need to. Instead, it directs your attention to the TV cabinet which, much like the computer selection thingy from Job Simulator, serves as the main menu for the game. Grabbing one of the labelled discs from the rack takes you to that segment of the story, but from the beginning, there’s only the one available.
As soon as you load up that first disc, the story kicks off. In a flash of some blue science gizmo, you come face to face with Rick, looking you up and down in the garage while a distressed Morty is asking what it is he has done. He has a right to be distressed as you’re a clone of him, but in a way that cleverly explains the disembodied nature of VR, Rick only cloned the head and hands of Morty. Even though you’re missing most of your body, it is worth mentioning that the characters of the series translate very well into three-dimensions. Both Rick and Morty are very animated in their expressions, gestures and body language during their banter back and forth.
You guys are coming back right? Right?!
So why did Rick go to such lengths to clone and genetically modify Morty? What is the purpose of Clone Morty in this game? Well, brace yourself for some truly Citizen Kane levels of storytelling, but Rick created you to do his laundry. No, seriously. Right at the start of the game, he dumps a basket of dirty clothes on you and then you’re off and rolling. Congratulations! Just like that, you’re a Morty version of the robot that passes the butter. Once you’ve done the wash and then been shot in the face for your efforts, you get a quick lesson in how to move about, how to use your communicator watch and so on, and then you’re left alone to your own devices. The story carries on throughout all your actions, but from this point, you can freely move around the interaction areas of the garage. You can grab pretty much anything you can see, toss it around, break it, and even eat and drink things. Sometimes Rick or Morty will call you up and offer a funny little tidbit about whatever you grabbed. Finding out that Rick measured his junk with the ruler you’re holding or having Morty yell at you for tossing stuff out the window are extra little touches that make the game more enjoyable.
Using the combination machine on Ricks workbench reveals one the most extensive parts of the game. Dropping any two items on the pads and hitting the button will result in some new mix of both. An apple and a stick will unsurprisingly give you an apple on a stick. Simple combinations are straightforward, but the device goes a lot deeper. Blending the crystallised xanthanite and a beer can will apply its properties to the can, creating a crystal can. A clock and a poo reward you with a ticking turd. Adding Ricks dick ruler to the mix will allow you to shrink items, while a growth enhancement pill you can find will increase their size. I’ve played for hours at this point, and I’m still discovering new things to create.
Who do I shoot? I don’t see a red X! Who do I shoot?!
While most of the game has you confined to the three activity areas of Ricks garage, there is a crazy amount to do in such a small space, and in a total stroke of genius, the developers have created what is probably one of the most efficient ways to expand your actions outside of those areas. Activating the Meeseeks box on the shelf will present you with a small ball like device, that when thrown, pops a Meeseeks into existence. This Meeseeks isn’t your average Meeseeks though, as just like Clone Morty, Rick went and messed around with these guys too, creating what he calls a Youseeks. They’re a floating head and hands just like you are, and they will mimic your every action in the place where you throw the ball. You can toss them pretty much anywhere you can’t go to grab things outside your reach and pass them to yourself, even using up to four Youseeks to create a chain. It’s quite a cool way to interact with the full game world, even though you remain stuck in the little play boxes.
Without giving too much away, there’s a lot more to the game than just what you find in the garage. It wouldn’t be a Rick & Morty adventure if there weren’t some portals or different dimensions, and the story takes you through more than a few before it’s finished. Using Ricks portal generator takes you to the bathroom, into space, and even to another planet involving a fun Gromflomite shooting mini-game, while the shrink-ray on his workbench takes you to his microverse battery charging device, which at higher difficulties results in the hardest game of Simon Says I’ve ever played. There’s even a way to load up a bootleg copy of Roy, the life simulator game from Blipz and Chitz, with this ripoff version called Troy. There’s a bunch of different lives you can live in this cheap knock-off, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the moment I realised that I was playing a simulation inside a simulation.
You created me Rick, sooooo… technically, this mess is your fault.
All the best humour and creativity of the series is present in Rick & Morty – Virtual Rick-ality, and, on so many levels, it reaches the same quality as any episode of the show. The full voice cast came on board for this game and not just in clips taken from the series. All new dialogue has been recorded featuring a whole range of hilarious interactions between characters. From Summer complaining from the back seat of Ricks space-car to the car itself insulting you for being an idiot, and even Jerry awkwardly asking for his haemorrhoid cream, it’s always entertaining whenever someone speaks. On that same note, I can’t even begin to list all the hilarious easter eggs that are in the game. You’ve got some pretty great call-backs to the show, to a bunch of hidden cassette tapes where you can hear even more from the cast, or groove out to the cool songs from the series, such as the Rickdance, Farts Song, or some random alien nonsense from a Garblovian rapper.
Looking at comments on Steam, one of the most common things I’ve noticed other people have complained about is the length and price of the game. While the story does seem a little short once you know the solution to the puzzles or what to expect, it really is worth spending the time to find all the extra content I’ve mentioned. The replayability in Rick & Morty – Virtual Rick-ality is high when you start messing around with everything, and as I’ve said, there are still things I’m discovering in the game that make me laugh, which to me, completely justifies the price of admission.
Taking the most unremarkable of locations from the ridiculously entertaining Rick & Morty TV show and adapting it into a game was a stroke of genius from Justin Roiland and the team at Owlchemy Labs. Add to that the perfect performances from the entire voice cast and a story full of hilarious twists worthy of an actual episode, Rick & Morty – Virtual Rick-ality becomes a brilliant example of what virtual reality has to offer in an ever widening range of uninspired or not fully realised games. While it may cost a little more than the average title, the game you get for what you pay is easily one of the most faithful and entertaining licensed properties I’ve ever played. If you just can’t get enough of this excellent series or you find this review in that eternity between seasons, then ditch the ground kalaxion crystals because Rick & Morty – Virtual Rick-ality will give you a fix that you can happily come back to again and again.