Interactive Sci-Fi Rigamarole
The world of Adult Swim’s sociopathic mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his pubescent grandson Morty is full of ludicrous wonders and madcap danger, and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality gives fans a new way to put themselves right in the middle of it with a fun and funny – though short – Touch-enabled VR experience.
You play the role of one (of the potentially infinite supply of) Clone Mortys, each of which is little more than an expendable floating head and set of hands designed by Rick to help with mundane tasks like doing laundry or repairing his spaceship. The scenarios get more involved as you go, and developer Owlchemy (of Job Simulator fame) does a good job of keeping the pacing up by cycling through several hallmark VR tasks like solving puzzles, environmental exploration, and the occasional shooting gallery.
None of these odd jobs are particularly challenging, aside from a few that are designed as endurance tests, but they’re both interesting and enjoyable to complete thanks to the recognizable toolset we’re given. A modified Mr. Meeseeks that mimics our own movements allows us to pass items around a room, for instance, and a crafting table that allows you to combine any two items you can pick up allows for some great experimentation with the grab bag of items found lying around Rick’s lab. The spectator camera adds the option for anyone else in the room to control their perspective of the action using the keyboard or a controller, and the fact that the VR player can interact with the camera can make for some fun audience participation.
Navigating around the three work stations in the garage lab via a teleporter is easy after a brief tutorial, and a smart solution to the problem of larger virtual spaces versus small VR play areas. That said, while playing on a stock two-sensor Oculus Rift setup, not being able to control which direction was “forward” sometimes became an issue when I’d want to interact with an object behind me and the sensors would lose track of my hands. This was fixed by adding a third Oculus sensor, and is of course not an issue at all with the Vive’s full-room coverage. It wasn’t a game-breaking issue, by any means, but it did make a few activities a bit more frustrating than they should’ve been. Thankfully, there’s usually enough banter between the other characters to keep you entertained even while you’re struggling to right yourself.
The two to three-hour story isn’t as epic in the show’s stronger episodes, but the clever writing weaves together the various activities into a fun jog through a well-developed universe (or two). Performances from the show’s cast, including Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon, Spencer Grammer, Chris Parnell and Sarah Chalke, help carry over the series’ irreverent, nihilistic, and brutally honest tone. In a few spots, however, it feels as though Virtual Rick-ality embraces the show’s improvisational nature a bit too much – I’m used to Rick’s antics being more bombastic than they are here.
Even so, it still had me laughing out loud, and the rest of the experience is a veritable geek-gasm. Every drawer and cabinet hides some reference to the vast lore established in the show, yet this only occasionally feels like nostalgia purely for nostalgia’s sake. A slew of collectibles, including and alongside more easter eggs and hidden references than you can shake a plumbus at – or whatever it is you do with a plumbus – means that once Clone Morty has finished the main story there’s still plenty left to do for players who want to keep experimenting in dimension C-137.
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