Owlchemy Labs, developer of one VR’s most popular games, Job Simulator, returns to the toybox genre with Rick and Morty: Virtual Rickality. The studio’s second major VR foray tops its previous game by bringing wackier gameplay, better visuals and amusing puzzles into the universe of the hit Adult Swim show.
The player assumes the role of a Clone Morty, created to assist Rick with mundane tasks like doing the laundry, which, consequently, is the first mission of the game. Used to train the player on the core game mechanics, the actions of picking up undies, pouring detergent and selecting a spin cycle are intuitive and, pretext aside, don’t feel like a chore.
Tasks do become more varied and interesting moving forward. Deploying a Mr Meeseeks, which mirrors your movements to help you grab things out of reach, carries some inventive (if short-lived) puzzles; shrinking inside a micro-universe to recharge batteries is a frantic mini-game with a view; and merging lab props using Rick’s splicing machine has hundreds of combinations to try. I felt pretty clever when I repaired a broken garage lightbulb by combining it with a glass beaker.
The game is littered with references to the show and the writing and voicing by Justin Roiland is top-notch. You can pick up and play with almost everything that isn’t bolted down and most objects have unique physical or reactive properties, be it a bottle of wine you can uncork and drink (or smash), a jar of squishy eyeballs that bounce when you drop them, one of 13 cassette tapes you can load into a stereo for extra audio content, and I’d be remiss not to mention the jiggly plumbus; I’m not sure what it does.
Despite the level of interactivity and the faithfulness to the look and feel of the show, the game is likely to disappoint for its length and limitations. Tasks only just start to get zany a few steps before the conclusion and, rather than be along for an insane interdimensional ride, Clone Morty is mostly confined to the garage while a presumably grander adventure is happening with Rick and the real Morty elsewhere. You are in regular contact with Rick through the communications watch, but the main characters only occasionally stop by or call on you to portal travel.
The few areas outside the garage that Rick and Morty do pull you into are fun while they last. Moving through portals also manages to deliver a sense of travel while keeping you within the designated bounds of the game’s playspaces. The visuals are in keeping with the look of the show. Character models and textures are clean and vibrant, and the cartoon shading won’t put too much stress on your GPU.
With no more than a couple of hours of ‘story’ gameplay included, there is certainly room for expansion, with some great potential to flesh out a few of the puzzle elements and add more environments. But with a lot of interactive content crammed into a small package and the production value so high, you’ll enjoy it while it lasts.