Look, I would really rather not be a hater. It’s nice to like things. It makes life simpler, and we can all be happy together. Plus, humor is a highly subjective thing; what’s funny to you may not be funny to me. But, woof, man. The latest trailer for High on Life had me cringe so hard, my soul withered away from my body.
The premise of Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland’s upcoming sci-fi shooter is as wacky as you’d expect: An alien cartel invades earth because they like to literally get high on humans. You become a bounty hunter and set out to stop them. To accomplish this heroic feat, you team up with two talking guns who like to comment on nearly everything you do in-game.
And of course, the guns have Roiland’s signature voices—if you close your eyes, sometimes the weapons sound like Rick and Morty themselves. Possibly, if you are of a certain age, that by itself is worth the price of admission, and extremely funny on its own, without it mattering what, precisely, Roiland even says. It never matters if it’s vaguely Rick and Morty adjacent. That’s why these Nickeledeon slime-ass Rick and Morty shoes exist and that’s why there are people out there who legitimately think they look great.
Living in a post-Szechuan Sauce world has made me weary, though. Rick and Morty was pretty good, and then it got played out by that fervent fandom, except years later I’m still being subjected to the same thing.
It’s the same shtick, but crossed with everything that makes Marvel dialogue so damn bad. It’s almost like modern media is so afraid to let you sit with your self that it has to insert constant quips in there to make sure not just that you’re getting it, but that you understand it’s quick-witted and in this case, edgy. Whedon by way of Borderlands. Maybe in my teens or early twenties this would have been the height of comedy, but now it’s just uncomfortable.
Some of that discomfort is by design, of course. Roiland loves his gross-out fun, and the guns themselves are a little ugly. The base mechanic, however, is clearly meant to be funny but instead veers into flat-out annoying for me: I don’t want something commenting on everything I do. That’s like asking your clingy little sibling who won’t leave you alone to aggravate you on purpose. Why?
Likely, I am not the target audience. As of this writing, one of the top-voted comments on GameSpot’s YouTube upload of the trailer, by the distinguished RageCrazeGamer, says, “looks sick and i was laughing hard looking forward to this one.”
High On Life is out for Xbox and PC on December 13th, 2022.