That High on Life was a highly anticipated title (especially by us, and not just to make the review) is a certainty, there is no doubt. Since its very first announcement, somewhat surprisingly, we have had high expectations regarding what was expected to be the second great videogame work created by the creators of Rick and Morty.
The “weight of the premises” refers precisely to this: how many would have been interested in the title if the creators of the animated series weren’t behind it? We don’t say “nobody” because High on Life still has its peculiarities and uniquenessbut there is no doubt that the majority of users who will download and play it will do so because they have expectations.
But it is precisely when what you expect is different from what you receive that that cursed “weight of the premises” makes itself felt. However, let’s not come to hasty conclusions: our review of High on Life will in fact be as detailed as possible on some fundamental aspects of the gameplay, storytelling and the graphic-artistic sectorthree elements that are much more connected than it might seem.
This is because the plot of the title puts us in the shoes of any teenager, stuck in front of a console at his parents’ house with a sister who does nothing but act like an American teenager. A sudden alien invasion will lead us to meet Kenny, a strange sentient gun with eyes and a mouth: from here on we will discover that the mysterious creatures want to use mankind as a drug. Consequently, our task will be to set off on an adventure to hunt down the various ranks of the G3, the alien organization, in order to save humanity.
We didn’t randomly say that gameplay, storytelling and graphics coexist in unison, precisely because in High on Life the presence of Kenny – and other sentient weapons – it is constantly an integral part of both the gameplay, both of the narration and of the artistic system. Kenny will play the role of the protagonist in many situations, as well as having a secondary character role at the same time: he is a constant and unique presence, especially due to the countless awkward jokes and fourth wall breaks.
High on Life: You will never really be the protagonist
In our opinion, it is they who are really the protagonists in High on Life the dialogues, never predictable and always ready to surprise us in absurd ways. Some speeches even border on black humor, although they never reach truly exaggerated levels for any type of audience to which the work can aspire. As far as this aspect is concerned, the only real flaw that we would like to underline is the lack of dubbing in Italianwhich would have made some exchanges not only funnier but also more understandable, especially in busier contexts where it is difficult to keep an eye on the subtitles.
After all, the narration constantly follows the line of the unpredictability of events, offering the players situations that are almost always different and never really obvious. The problem, however, is the progression in the story, which is instead much more linear than we would have expected and sometimes too simple: we are talking about repeating a vicious circle where we will have to accept the bounty of the boss on duty, go to his planet, complete the quest main to then get to the final showdown, win some money and then repeat everything.
The clash between originality and banality
They are also present interesting little minigames and a fair amount of backtracking in perfect metroidvania style, which colors an otherwise too simple level design. However, it is above all the clashes that become really repetitive, which will immediately become the usual one against a hundred wave clash with opponents who, in addition to not being intelligent at all, are even repeated in their features. To remedy the problem, albeit marginally, there is a fairly varied, fun and original gunplaythanks especially to a very good diversification of weapons.
Even the dialogues themselves are likely to get bored with time, or at least stop surprising as they did in the early stages of history. The most curious problem with High on Life, which leads us to make the review a broad analysis, is that the rhythms of the game are almost never exploited correctly: The narration is more interesting in the very first hours and conversely, the gameplay becomes really enjoyable only as the plot progresses.
The narrative premise that the creators of Rick and Morty have worked on the project – which then has the mere task of pushing the marketing of the title – has done nothing but destroy the expectations of many players who have tried High on Life in recent weeks. Let’s talk about a title that often has to deal with its indie nature and it can be seen when we notice uncertain character models, facial expressions that are not at the top, an imperfect graphic sector and, which we were very sorry for, a soundtrack that is not at all up to par with expectations, much less original.
High on Life (Tried on XBX/S)
Overall, High on Life is also quite a fun game, but one that never manages to get out of the indie scenario with all the technical, artistic and playful uncertainties that this entails. If you’re not a Rick and Morty lover, you’re unlikely to see the good in High on Life, and we say that because we struggled too. In any case, since it is on Game Pass, we still recommend that you give it a chance. We are sure you will not regret it. Perhaps.