High on Life review: An absurd game that breaks the fourth wall

La recensione di High on Life: un gioco assurdo che fa a pezzi la quarta parete videoludica thumbnail

Today we have a difficult task – to write a review for High on Life. Already because the video game developed by Squanch Games it is something absolutely bizarre, and it is only by acknowledging that it is the son of the mind of Justin Roilandco-creator of Rick and Morty, that everything begins to make a minimum of sense.

Let’s start from the beginning: High on Life is a game that sets out to break the videogame fourth wall and it succeeds. A chaotic and totally nonsense experience. But it also has flaws. If you haven’t played it yet, and you’re curious to understand why everything seems so surreal to us, just take a look at the plot.

An alien drug cartel called the G3 storms into Earth and begins exterminating humans. Not to dominate the world as in the most trivial sci-fi, no: they want human beings because in the universe they are a delicious drug. After taking us and rolling them nicely in a paper, the aliens smoke us for purely recreational purposes. To prevent the Earth from becoming the greatest source of narcotics in the universe, it will be up to us to fight the powerful alien drug cartel. Like? Arm yourself with a talking gun that will never stop sarcastically commenting our in-game actions.

The review of High on Life: between quotations and nonsense

Available for PC, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One (also on Game Pass from day one), High on Life is essentially one first person shooter for single player in what could be considered an open world (more world than open). However, there are also some platforming and puzzle elements, just to add some chaos.

The game begins with a decidedly innovative gimmick to remedy the tutorial problem: it will immerse us in a scenario that is clearly an ape of Doom to teach us the basic commands. Then, once this part is finished in 2D, everything will reveal itself for what it is: we were actually just playing a video gamewith a spectacular zoom out from the TV that will take us to the middle of the story: we are at home, with our sister, and the alien attack is about to take place.

Already from these first minutes the absolute eccentricity of the title is clear, which breaks the gaming fourth wall with an irresistibly irreverent style. Like when he asks us, in the tutorial, to double jump to overcome an obstacle, only to discover in the air that “oops, sorry, there is no double jump in this game”. Another example is instead when our protagonist wears a VR viewer which however is full of malware, finding himself wandering around with his eyesight disturbed by advertising pop-ups and hot sites that promise close encounters of the third kind with disturbing aliens.

Everything becomes even more absurd when we discover that our adventure companion is a talking and talkative gun, who will punctually criticize all our actions. And if that doesn’t sound strange enough to you wait until you know the knifea sadistic sharp blade that will incite you to ruthlessly skewer any little beast that crosses your path.

The gameplay leaves a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t matter

As fun as it may be to discover all the hidden talents of our talking weapons (and their very personal characters), combat phases are the weak point of High on Life. It almost seems that the developers wanted to focus exclusively on the comic aspect of the title, skimping on the more competitive and adrenaline-pumping side of the battle. A choice that, being a shooter, is quite absurd, but to be honest we stopped looking for normality already after 5 minutes of gameplay.

What is rather impressive is the visual component, really well taken care of and which gives us the impression of being in front of a high budget title. And if you play it on new-gen consoles (we tried it on Xbox Series S), everything will seem out of this world, literally.

High on Life

The cyberpunk game environments offer different secrets and areas to explore, each characterized by its own urban planning. The presence of shops (where to buy items), activities and Blathering NPCs it will make the gaming experience pleasant even for those who, instead of following the story, want to wander around the alien world that characterizes High on Life. Don’t be surprised, for example, if more than one NPC will try to sell you substances of ambiguous origin, such as alien seminal fluid resulting from intense acts of masturbation.

High on Life review: Not a game for everyone

We say it clearly: High on Life is not a game for everyone. First of all there is an imposing language barrier: the game provides subtitles in Italian, but only for some cutscenes and graphical interfaces. It’s otherwise in English, and since much of the fun is in the guns blabbing and making fun of our actions, if you are not versed in the English language you will miss out on much of the fun.

The type of comedy presented is also very particular. If you don’t appreciate Rick & Morty’s typical humor, between allusive, foul-mouthed and often irreverent jokes, then you probably won’t like anything about High on Life. In fact, it should be noted that the game bases all of its comic part on the dialogues. Lots of dialogues. Too many dialogues: our talkative gun will never stop talking, so this aspect could get tired after a few minutes.

If you add to this that the gameplay leaves something to be desired, the about 10 hours needed to finish the whole game will seem like a real nightmareand you’ll be tempted to give in to the alien cartel as you prepare to be sniffed from their Martian nostrils.

For everyone else, however, High on Life is a game to try and definitely not to take seriously.

PRO

  • Fun and irreverent
  • Graphics and environments
  • Componente open world
  • Dialogues and story
  • Available on Xbox Game Pass
  • It doesn’t make the slightest sense

VERSUS

  • Little variety of enemies to fight
  • Few weapons (five total)
  • If you don’t like this comedy you will hate it
  • Not suitable for non-English speakers
  • No multiplayer