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High on Life Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC)

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Let me start this review by saying that from a technical standpoint, there is little fault in High on Life. The game runs as advertised and even delivers an experience that I'm sure some will enjoy. However, that being said, just because a roller coaster runs well doesn't always mean you enjoy the ride. While I'm sure, there will be plenty of people for which the comedy and gameplay all land. But for me, the experience was a slog. In contrast, the opening minutes excited me for what was to come. Unfortunately, the ride I was on afterward left me feeling queasy. So without further ado, here is my review of High on Life.

High Expectations

I want to start this section of the review off by saying that I, for one, am a fan of the humor within Rick and Morty. So when I discovered that Squanch Games were making a game. An FPS, no less. I was on board to see what they had to offer. As someone who thoroughly enjoys FPS games, I thought this should be up my alley. Unfortunately, I soon discovered upon playing through the game's opening minutes that High on Life isn't only not up my alley but in a different neighborhood altogether.

For starters, while presented in the very tongue-in-cheek style of Rick and Morty, the characters quickly began to grate on my nerves. The game starts strong enough, with the opening moments being in a game within a game. This type of meta-humor and commentary on the state of gaming made me chuckle for a bit. Unfortunately, as soon as the gameplay section ended and the actual game began, however, I had a sudden realization. It was at this moment I began to see just what I was in for.


Comedy in video games is something that I, for one, believe can work well and not only work well but exceedingly well. It is all about how the comedy is implemented and its purpose that makes it all worthwhile. When I began my journey with this game, I fully expected to find myself laughing throughout and having a genuinely good time. Instead, what I received was something that I was unprepared for and soon regretted deeply. As a general rule of thumb, I attempt not to make sweeping passing judgments early when receiving a game. Or any work of art for that matter.

Constantly I think to myself, what I cannot appreciate on a base level, I can at least give merit where it is deserved. This game is no different for me in that regard. However, the very stream-of-conscious style of humor presented in the game can be complicated to pull off convincingly. So when I was faced with this in the opening moments of the game, I thought to myself, “Oh, so the comedy style is very similar to the show” For the most part, I was right. Though I will add there is a core distinction to be made here. For example, on the whole, television as a form of media is one that is designed to be consumed and moved on from. The same cannot be said of video games, however, as you are constantly playing through the experience.

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I feel the same rule of thumb can apply to the comedy within High on Life. For hours, I felt like I was stuck in a repeating loop of self-referential humor. Unfortunately, this quickly began to get on my nerves. So here, I want to praise the developers for adding a slider for how frequently the weapons talk. I think this is an excellent addition to the game and allows the players to have more control over their overall experience. This is something that is commendable, to say the least. Giving the players more agency about how they experience the game, I, for one, think is a great idea and something that more game developers should allow in their settings. That being said, as I wanted to experience the game as naturally as possible, I myself didn't touch these settings.

That means that, for the most part, I received every line of dialogue that be heard within the game. Herein lies the problem; however, there are many times throughout my gaming experience that I thought, “So are they just going to keep talking?” I quickly found my answer, and it was a resounding yes, yes, they will. In the game's opening moments, this seemed innocuous enough. However, I felt some parts of the opening were a bit too much, even for me. Here I want to reiterate that I am a fan of Rick and Morty‘s irate humor. Typically when watching the show, I can take the jokes for what they are and move on. However, as I will explain, this isn't simply moved on from within High on Life. In the next section, I will explain what makes these experiences different for the people consuming them.

High and Dry

The feeling that I have after completing my time with High on Life is one of mediocre acceptance. The reason why television can be consumed and moved on from, while video games tend to stick with you longer, is due to the interactivity within gaming. It is this interactivity that can offer players some of the most memorable experiences they have ever had, or in the case of High on Life, as you'll see throughout my review, one of the most mediocre moments in gaming. Here, I will discuss exactly why I felt this way and the merits that the game possesses as a whole. The game, from a technical standpoint, works as advertised. That is to say; there are very few technical glitches or bugs that I ran into over my playtime.

That isn't to say that these bugs and glitches don't exist, simply that they were not present in my gameplay in particular. While at first, there were no glaring bugs or glitches. I did experience a rather annoying text bug that filled my screen with old dialogue through half of my playthrough of the game. However, this was less of a game-breaking experience and more of a mild annoyance. So I'm willing to forgive the game for this, as it can be exceedingly difficult for games to release pristine. This isn't something that I am a harsh critic of, and I can, most of the time, overlook these things. Nevertheless, I wanted to make a note of it for this High on Life review. Throughout my playtime, I ran into very few technical issues.

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For this section of the review, I would like to discuss the various gameplay mechanics and weapons that worked for me personally. My review of the gunplay within High on Life is that it feels fine, and serviceable for sure. However, I fail to find anything that makes it stand out within the FPS space. In fact, while feeling solid, the gunplay within the game began to bore me to the point that when fighting a boss, the infamous 9-Torg, I stood in their attacks to do damage to end the fight quicker. I feel this isn't something a player should have to do merely to slog through a boss battle. In contrast, I did feel that the different gun mechanics felt unique. It was hard to enjoy their utility over the sound of their yapping and yammering.

I get it; the game is supposed to balance comedy and FPS mechanics. However, I find it hard to focus on how good the guns feel if they are constantly talking. In several examples, I found myself putting away certain guns. Not because I thought they wouldn't serve me well in an upcoming battle. But so that I didn't have to hear from them for a while. The first few introductions to the quirky and often vulgar weapons felt good enough, but this only served to start the timer for when I would, without fail, be fed up with them. The never-ending banter about this or that was exhausting. In one instance, I had to hear about an alien's love life for up to twenty minutes while moving through a level. In the next section, I will discuss the highs and lows of the game overall.

Highs and Lows

High on Life was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. There were parts that made me genuinely laugh, as well as parts that had me questioning why I was playing this title at all. I quickly found my answer after ruminating on it for a while. High on Life is an experience that isn't supposed to be some great epic or simply written off as a comedy game. It is a title that I believe is somewhat divisive as it deserves to be praised for the amount of work into it, yet it may not work for everyone. The player's sensibilities are something that I believe must be considered when thinking about the game, let alone rating it.

That being said, it is my opinion that while the game does deliver on what it promises. But, unfortunately, what it brings to the table isn't for me. Much like how every cuisine doesn't suit every taste, this High on Life review left me with a feeling akin to fast-food. It is undoubtedly serviceable. It provides something to stave off hunger, but is it a proper meal? Will I return to this experience and cite it as one of the best? No, I won't, but for some, the irate humor might provide just the amount of sustenance they need or even want.




High on Life Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC)

A Sobering Experience

High on Life is a game that many people have enjoyed. However, I, for one have had some issues with the game that I would like to address in my review. From the good, to the bad, everything will be covered here, and I hope you enjoy it.

Judson Holley is a writer that began his career as a ghostwriter. Returning to the mortal coil  to work among the living. With some of his favorite games being tactical FPS games such as Squad and the Arma series. Although this could not be further from the truth as he enjoys games with deep stories such as the Kingdom Hearts series as well as Jade Empire and The Knights of the Old Republic series. When not attending to his wife, Judson often tends to his cats. He also has a knack for music mainly composing for and playing piano.