Video gaming is no stranger to unique adaptations of more mature cartoons. Remember The Simpsons Game? How about Family Guy: The Video Game? Sure, those were fun little romps through those cartoon worlds, but no title has gone through the tender love and care that it so deserves. OK, so South Park: The Stick of Truth most definitely did, but that was an outlier -- until now.
Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality, developed by Owlchemy Labs of Job Simulator fame, is as close to a heartfelt love letter to the cult fan-favorite cartoon as humanly possible. For those not in the know, Rick & Morty is an adult-oriented cartoon created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon (Community) for Adult Swim. The show follows the exploits of its titular characters Rick & Morty, grandfather and grandson adventuring into the unknown, getting into all sorts of "high-concept sci-fi rigamarole."
The show is full of crude humor, in-jokes, insightful commentary, wacky characters, suggestive themes and so, so much more. It would be easy for a virtual reality "experience" based on the show to fall flat on its face, right? Well, after spending hours with the game in its entirety, one can say that Alchemy Labs knocked this one straight out of the park, creating a fully-immersive, hilarious and honestly enticing virtual reality world built from Harmon and Roiland's foundation.
Virtual Rick-Ality riffs on the Job Simulator format. The player character, an expendable Morty clone, completes tasks for the show's characters by spending time in different room-scale environments. The game's hub world, the garage, allows you to teleport around, messing with all sorts of gadgets from the shows. Remember the plumbus? How about Rick's blaster? Or a MeeSeeks box? They're all here, and they're all intensely fun to play with.
Objectives in the game include ordering parts from Rick's porn-infested home computer, doing his laundry, fixing the bathroom, and destroying agents of the Galactic Federation with your blaster arms. Yeah, the game gets weird. But for every weird thing it does, it does another to absolutely blow your mind. One mission has you going through a portal to a satellite hovering above Earth. You open a panel on the satellite and immediately realize you're in zero gravity.
Everything floats, including liquids, and if you look down over the bridge you'll actually see the planet. While the world is cartoony and pop-y, this moment was absolutely breathtaking, and encapsulates the emotional depth of the show more than any scripted adventure game could.
The show's main cast of characters all make appearances, from Justin Roiland-voiced Rick & Morty, to Jerry, Summer, Mr. Poopybutthole and more. While not all of the voice lines were recorded specifically for the game (instead ripped from show clips), Rick & Morty's lines are all original. This allows the game to feel like it's part of the continuity of the show, and less like an adaptation.
In many ways, Virtual Rick-Ality is a collection of minigames and tech demos spliced together, but where Job Simulator could only keep you occupied for minutes at a time or to show your friends what virtual reality could do, this game takes it a step further. You can easily revisit these mini-game segments, but you'll lose two hours alone just exploring the garage, the game's different portals and plenty more. The game's achievements instigate this as well, asking you to throw something at the family's house from space or get Mr. MeeSeeks hit by a bus.
And that's where Virtual Rick-Ality truly succeeds, in its awareness and love for its source material. The game is absolutely littered with references and details from the show, from Real Fake Doors all over the house, to an advertisement for "Two Brothers: The Film" on Rick's computer. Remember the secret lab hatch from the show? It's here. The micro verse creator? Here. Oh, and there's a tool that lets you combine any two items you can find. Seriously.
For fans of the show, Virtual-Rickality is nigh perfect, but for non-fans looking for a new VR game to mess around with, it's still incredibly polished and extremely fun. What are you waiting for? Go get Schwifty!
Rating: Five out of five.
Rick & Morty Virtual Rickality is now available for HTC Vive and Oculus Touch platforms.