As a devout “Rick & Morty” superfan, I’m often an evangelist. “You haven’t seen ‘Rick &Morty’? How lucky you are to get to experience it for the first time, totally fresh!” I might say.
It’s one of those shows — like “Arrested Development,” or “Community,” or “Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!” — where it’s almost as famous for its cult following as it is for the show itself.
While fans eagerly await the much-anticipated third season (expected to arrive this summer on Adult Swim), there’s a new game starring “Rick & Morty” that’s planned for a much sooner launch: “Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality.”
Sounds ridiculous (Rick-diculous?), right? It absolutely is. I spent 20 minutes with the game at a recent event. Here’s what it’s like!
The premise is simple: You're a clone of Morty, and you're tasked with completing various insane objectives by -- who else? -- Rick Sanchez.
The structure of 'Virtual Rick-Ality' is similar to that of 'Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives,' which makes sense given that the same company made both games (Owlchemy Labs).
In 'Job Simulator,' you were tasked with -- as the title suggests -- simulating various jobs in VR. The twist is that all the jobs were re-creations of mundane tasks as viewed through the perspective of intelligent robots that run society in 2050. Something as simple as being a short-order cook became a comical and ridiculous experience, with ingredients flying everywhere in a 'Muppets'-esque fashion.
'Virtual Rick-Ality' takes that concept and moves it into a more narrative-based progression. There are momentary tasks that feel panicky in the same way many 'Job Simulator' levels did, but you're just as likely to spend 10 minutes exploring every nook and cranny of the space you're in. And 'Virtual Rick-Ality' rewards that exploration with delightful little nods to the series, from Mr. Meeseeks to Blips and Chitz.
You can 'teleport' around the garage -- the room is divided into four areas (three of which are explorable) -- as a means of completing early tasks for Rick. In my 20 minutes with the game, I fed an alien who's imprisoned underneath the garage, travelled to a satellite in space (through a portal, naturally), and used a Meeseeks to retrieve a package from the driveway. Seemingly simple tasks, perhaps, but made all the more enjoyable by the ongoing communications from Rick.
Let's be up front here: You need a powerful computer and an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset in order to play 'Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality.'
You'll also need a pair of Oculus Touch controllers if you're using the Rift, or a pair of HTC Vive controllers with the Vive, as the game is built entirely for the 'room-scale' VR concept -- which is to say that the game requires a powerful PC, a high-end virtual reality headset, motion controllers, and an open space to play it.
In case that isn't clear enough, we're talking about the deep end of VR here. To play this game, you're either one of these people who has a dedicated VR room or you're friends with someone who is. It's rad if you are that! If you're not, there's no other way to play 'Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality' at the moment. And that's less rad.
(As a consolation prize, there is another 'Rick & Morty' game -- 'Pocket Mortys' -- available for smartphones. I hear it's pretty alright, in the style of 'Pokémon' games, but I've not played it.)
It appears that you'll be travelling to other rooms in the main house, like the bathroom seen above. Rick's portal gun appears to be the primary method of travel.
I used a portal one time, and then literally stepped through (in real life). It was pretty intense! That kind of base level experience is what sets VR apart -- it's hard to convey how impactful it is. Stepping out of the HTC Vive after my demo time was up took a minute, as exiting high-end VR experiences often does. Shallow as it might be compared with actual reality, 'Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality' leaves a similar psychological impact with real places I've been. It's a strange feeling, having a locational memory of being in Rick Sanchez's garage -- of being shot in the face by him.
Beyond adventure-game style puzzle-solving and fan service, there are mini game-like experiences as well.
The one instance of a mini game I experienced was different from the first-person shooting seen above. Instead, I was tasked with managing a control board full of nobs, dials, and levers that had to be moved to various positions against a constantly moving timer.
It was tough, and fun, and a great demonstration of the kind of unique experiences that can be had in VR alone.
I expect much of the game will be laced with these types of experiences as you help Rick and Morty on their adventures.
I only encountered Rick and Morty, but it's also clear that Morty's sister Summer is in the game. I'd expect the whole family will make an appearance, as well as many of the dozens of characters from the show. In that same breath, I'd also expect lots of cameos, asides, and secret storylines. It wouldn't really be a 'Rick & Morty' product without that stuff.