The hero uses a talking shotgun to blast an enemy in High on Life

The hero uses a talking shotgun to blast an enemy in High on Life

High on Life, the newest undertaking from Squanch Games, is troublesome to advocate. That has nothing to do with the game’s high quality — as a substitute, it’s a results of the game’s hyperspecific humor. Unlike different comedy video games, like Portal 2 — which is crammed with a wide range of characters, every with their very own model of humor — High on Life strongly pulls from the comedy stylings of the studio’s co-founder and CEO, Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty fame.

But the game isn’t so particularly Rick and Morty that you would be able to boil a suggestion all the way down to a “yes” for Rick and Morty followers and a “no” for individuals who haven’t seen it. Even people who find themselves largely ambivalent towards Rick and Morty — like myself — would possibly discover one thing to like (or hate) in High on Life’s jokes.

So how are you aware if High on Life will work for you earlier than dropping 60 bucks on it? How are you aware your buddy will prefer it should you determine to present it to them? You don’t, and you may’t. But that’s the place Xbox’s Game Pass service can actually work its magic.

Game Pass has gained a status as a place to find darlings and gems you may need missed. (This very column is, in part, dedicated to highlighting them). Small, beloved video games like Death’s Door can flourish there, and area of interest titles like Signalis can develop into breakout hits. And it’s clearly the finest spot to get your repair of Xbox-owned video games like the newest Gears of War or Halo Infinite. But Game Pass is additionally the perfect vacation spot for video games like High on Life.

High on Life is a game that can both make you cringe so arduous that you just flip it off in the first 10 minutes, or chortle your ass off all the technique to the game’s first boss. The magnificence is that, with Game Pass, both of these outcomes are completely acceptable. Either you’ll discover a new game that you just’re excited to see by way of to the finish, otherwise you’ll delete it off your arduous drive endlessly and by no means give it some thought once more — no hurt, no foul.

The hero in High on Life swings on a knife while firing a smiling weapon with eyes

If you do determine to stay with High on Life, you’ll discover a comedic combine between Metroid Prime and Doom (2016). The taking pictures is a bit free, and extended fight isn’t my favourite a part of the game (though it will get higher the extra upgrades you get), but it surely works nicely sufficient that it doesn’t actively drag down the expertise. The actual enjoyable in High on Life’s gameplay is the exploration. Roaming round planets and looking out for the bounty you’ve been assigned presents some cute environmental puzzles the place you should use considered one of your speaking weapons to assist attain a brand new space and, most likely, open a chest.

Ultimately, the game lives and dies off of its goofs and characters, that are each fairly humorous. Kenny, your first gun, is voiced by Roiland and sounds identical to Morty from Rick and Morty. He’s continually jabbering and spewing awkward jokes that swing wildly between charming and mildly obnoxious. The second gun I discovered is Gus, who is voiced by comic J.B. Smoove. Gus is delightfully chill in comparison with the frantic Kenny — though he nonetheless matches into the game’s irreverent, random, and ceaselessly soiled humorousness.

The game is additionally fairly meta, and your weapons will remark should you pause the game at sure factors or attempt to shoot an harmless bystander. It even pokes fun at “lazy game design” and specifically mentions Polygon. High on Life additionally surprises pretty typically with weird and surprising interactions. Early on in the game, I shot a nonviolent NPC and it instantly gained a big well being bar. When I killed it, Kenny congratulated me on killing a secret boss. I didn’t get any tangible in-game reward — I simply acquired the joke. And that’s OK, as a result of the jokes are what I’m right here for.

Smaller video games excel on Game Pass as a result of they’re comparatively unknown till gamers discover and adore them — like individuals scrolling by way of Netflix solely to find a hidden gem. High on Life is a distinct breed of Game Pass game: a identified commodity that appears like a simple skip however turns into a shock hit in your house as a result of you don’t have any purpose not to strive it out.

Gamers are sometimes keen to spend some huge cash to take pleasure in one thing they love — just look at how costly some MMO subscriptions are — however when a game you’ve paid for spurns you, it leaves a foul style in your mouth. When you take away that monetary threat, and the solely factor you’ll be able to stand to lose is a meager period of time and arduous drive house, you’ll be able to take dangers on video games that may actually shock you. And for this vacation season, no game is extra surprisingly satisfying than High on Life.


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