Aliens come to Earth to take people away and turn them into something that can be used in space. Yes, that is what Bad Taste, Peter Jackson’s first movie, is about. You might not have seen it, but I find it hard to believe that Justin Roiland hasn’t. It seems like a movie he would like, you know? Not that High on Life is a blatant copy or anything. I’m just saying that it seems a bit like a tribute. I know that a lot of people think it’s a lot like Rick and Morty, and they’re right. But if you like that show, this is great news, because Roiland’s style of humour is on full display here. But it’s kind of mixed with the main idea of Bad Taste.
A group of aliens called the G3 sells humans to other aliens as drugs. The main character meets a homeless alien bounty hunter and, with the help of a few talking guns called Gatlians, sets out to destroy the G3. Justin Roiland gives Kenny, the main gun, his voice, and he mostly talks like Morty.
The game is a lot of fun. I didn’t laugh all the way through or anything, but I did laugh a lot. There are a lot of swear words, some gross jokes, and a lot of jokes about murder. But as a bounty hunter, it makes sense. Mind you, High on Life isn’t just funny. The story is interesting on its own, and I ended up caring about a few of the characters, including the Gatlians. But it’s hard not to when Tim Robinson from “I Think You Should Leave” and JB Smoove from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” do the voices.
If I had to compare High on Life to another game, I’d say it’s similar to Rage. But the first one. Except that the end of this one doesn’t feel like it’s part of a bigger story. I will say that the ending was a lot shorter than I would have liked. After the main storylines are wrapped up, the game just kind of stops, and Polaroids with writing on them are used as an epilogue. The game is not open-world, but you can move between three large areas using the Bounty 5000 machine, which lets you choose which areas you want to go to.
There is a lot of space to look around in these areas, and there are a lot of chests to find that have money, upgrades, and collectables. You’ll visit a small city, the slums next to it, a planet with a forest, and a planet with a desert. You can go back there whenever you want to look for chests, and some of them can only be opened with new gear. The areas are well-made and look great, so it’s fun to explore them. Even though there isn’t a map, it can be hard to find your way.
High on Life has a function called “waypoints” that keeps you on track, but I don’t think you can use it when you’re just exploring and not on a main mission. There is a chance of getting lost. When I finished one bounty, I couldn’t set a waypoint, so I had to walk around until I found the warp point. But at least I found some good things along the way.
The plot is based on people taking up bounties to kill G3 leaders. You have to find them, kill them, and bring proof back to get the money. You can buy new upgrades at a pawn shop and a few smaller shops out in the wild with cash. You can buy upgrades for your suit, your ability to hold more ammo, and certain mods for your guns and teammates.
There isn’t a “new game plus” option, but you can keep exploring until your heart’s content after the credits roll (but you can’t get your final bounty, which annoyed me). From a presentational point of view, High on Life is of the highest quality. Fans of Justin Roiland will recognise the art direction, even though it is in 3D. The different areas are memorable and have a clear sense of where they are.
But the humour and story are the main draws. If you like the way Roiland makes jokes and tells stories, this is the game for you. If all you want is a good first-person shooter with some open space, you can also get that here. This is a great comedy game with a budget I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a game like this before, so it’s easy to just sit back and laugh as you blow up alien heads.