I recently got the chance to go hands-on with Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality on the HTC Vive from Adult Swim and Owlchemy Labs. The first thing I noticed about the game is that seeing 2D characters in 3D is weird.
If you’ve ever played one of the Simpsons console games you’ll know exactly what I mean. But that weirdness took a back seat as soon as virtual Rick opened his mouth and I heard that iconic alcoholic voice. Without spoiling too much, the game is full of the same absurdist sci-fi humor that fans of the acclaimed Rick and Morty show know and love.
The game starts off inside of Rick’s garage, complete with a large collection of props on the shelves and workbenches. Super-fans of the show will notice that some of the props are even in the exact same position as they are in the animated series. In order move around the garage, players can teleport between predefined regions outlined in a blue square on the floor. The real-world play space that I tried the demo in was fairly large, but developer Owlchemy Labs says that those blue boundaries will be adaptable to fit the size of the space you have at home.
In the game, you take control of a Morty clone, ostensibly created for the sole purpose of doing chores for Rick. The first task Rick gives you is to wash his dirty laundry by placing it in the washing machine and turning it on. It’s a very simple task, but everything about it, from placing the dirty underwear in the machine to turning the knobs, felt like a activity in Job Simulator. The reason for the similarity is that Owlchemy built the game using version 2 of their VR interaction system and so they were able reuse a lot of the same technology that powered Job Simulator.
After you finish the laundry task, Rick says that your poor performance indicates that you are a defective clone and so he summarily executes you. You spend a brief moment in purgatory only to be immediately brought back and told by Rick not touch any of his stuff while he and not-clone Morty are away. This of course is a fantastic opportunity to spend some time playing our with all of the interesting props positioned throughout the garage.
At the end of the demo, Rick comes back and instructs you to activate a blast shield so he can open a portal on it. I admit I hesitated before hopping through the portal when it first opened, but that’s a good thing. I was immersed enough in the Rick and Morty Universe to genuinely have a tiny bit of fear about what crazy danger I would find on the other side of the portal.
While it was a quick demo, I was pleased with the quality of what I saw, and I am looking forward to picking up the full experience when it is released. Rick and Morty Simulator is exactly what you would expect from placing the Rick and Morty universe in the hands of Owlchemy Labs.
I didn’t get a direct answer when I asked about the expected length of the final game, but Owlchemy Labs producer Andrew Eiche said that they were being “very conscious of how the gamer’s dollar is being spent.” The demo I tried was on an HTC Vive, but there is currently no word yet on the final platform list or release date (though Job Simulator is soon to launch on Oculus Touch and PSVR in addition to its current HTC Vive support).