When it comes to the type of gaming experiences the majority of players look for, it usually comes down to 2 groups. The first group looks for AAA titles and the second group looks to discover the next great indie game that will demand the attention of the gaming community. High on Life falls in neither category and instead has the player asking WTF am I playing…and why can’t I stop laughing?
To avoid wasting anyone’s time, I need to say that this is a Justin Roiland (creator of Rick & Morty) game. His style of humor is vulgar, crude, and unapologetic. With that said, if you are not a fan of his style of humor then High on Life is not for you, however for those who are, well, you are in for an absolute treat.
High on Life‘s story feels like one from an episode of Rick & Morty and in some respects, there are connections. Don’t worry, this is a spoiler-free review but here is what you should know. An alien cartel called G3 has invaded earth to use humans as drugs. Yes, no surprise the main plot is focused around drugs considering the title.
During the invasion you pick up a living gun named Kenny (voiced by Justin Roiland) which is part of a race called Gatlians. Kenny will set you on the path of being an alien bounty hunter with the goal to stop the G3 cartel. Along your journey, you will pick up an assortment of Gatlians of which are all voiced by familiar standup comedians such as Betsy Sodaro, and JB Smoove. While the over arching storyline isn’t memorable, the comical dialogues from all involved are. From the Gatlians to the multitude of NPCs that you interact with, there is laughter to be had from everyone.
There was one alien that I briefly interacted with and as he was talking I decided to walk away. At that moment, the NPC got upset and said “hey I wasn’t finished, ok, fine be that way”. I stopped, returned back to him and he continued with the story. I would have to say the absurd amount of dialogue in this game is what makes it special. Again, you have to be into Justin Roiland’s style of humor to truly appreciate High on Life.
High on Life is a colorful and imaginative game. Each location is packed with high contrast colors and whacky structural designs. This is clearly not just for aesthetics but also to impact the gameplay. While the story is linear, each location is pretty large and can be explored to obtain collectables and other useful items.
However, navigating these locations will require some puzzle-solving in the sense that you have to figure out what you can swing on with your trusty knife/grappling hook (2nd weapon you obtain) and what you can shoot in order to trigger an expandable platform or draw-bridge of sorts. As you get deeper into the game, these puzzle elements will blend into the main story, therefore, becoming more familiar to solve.
High on Life is a straight forward FPS. Each weapon has a secondary function which will at some point be needed to complete an objective. Some weapons perform better on particular enemies which there are a decent assortment of. These enemies are not too challenging but some areas can be challenging solely based on the number of enemies thrown at you. You find health or obtain health from falling enemies and you can regenerate your bounty hunter suit’s shield when in cover.
The real challenging moments occur during boss fights. Each has distinct patterns that need to be performed in order to win. There is one battle that takes place on a platform that can sink into a toxic ooze. The ooze will cause damage and even kill you so when the platform sinks you need to find objects to grapple and swing around until the platform resurfaces. Throw in a few lower-end enemies to distract you and you have yourself a rather entertaining boss battle.
High on Life is a unique game strictly based on the humor and amount of dialogue it contains. I can easily see this as a game people will put on during a party setting or just to shock others in the room. The gameplay while on the simpler side in the FPS genre, functions well while constantly throwing laughable elements at you.
It never gets old as I look down my sight with Kenny and can see his eyes wide open blinking at me, or when I‘m on a zip line and he’s shaking around in my hand. There are so many memorable moments that make this a game for everyone who is looking for something a bit different and not easily offended to try it out. Heck, the game is on Game Pass so honestly, there is nothing to lose.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of High on Life for Xbox Series X provided by Squanch Games.