Video Games

High on Life: There’s a Lot More to This Shooter Than We Saw at Opening Night Live

We’ve already seen quite a bit of High on Life, a new single-player shooter that’s predictably weird and very gross. The big pitch is that Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland and his team at Squanch Games have built a first-person shooter in which you watch alien bounty hunters and kill them with talking guns. But it was the details that impressed me when I tried the game for myself.

Opening Night Live included an early section of High on Life boss fight, but my 25-minute hands-on (watch below) shows the full mission leading up to that fight. The demo started in the player character’s home (where his very confused sister and new alien bounty hunter handler Gene lives), then headed to the technicolor alien town of Brim and finally A series of battles descending into the sewer slums. In terms of gameplay in general, it’s a relatively short section, but I was able to fill that 25 minutes of him just because there was a lot of incidental detail to look at.

The attention to detail starts right away – your character’s home is literally your home, outfitted with a Bounty 5,000 computer, assigning missions, and (if repaired by Jean) portals to various locations. make it possible. But what took hold more quickly was the home TV, which showed animated shorts (some produced by Roiland himself) and four licensed feature films. This is an early sign of not just the game’s relentless approach to making jokes, but the effort put into adding fun details for those who stop and look around.

Brim itself is like Los Angeles in Blade Runner when designed by a cast of Sesame Street, primary-colored vomit, illegible signs of strange businesses, and scattered aliens living their daily lives.

Talking to these citizens gives you options for RPG-style dialogue, but it’s quickly apparent that the emphasis is more on hitting the punchline than making hard decisions. Her two tubes with faces guard the gates to the slums, and you have to answer questions to get through. Which is hotter? I have repeatedly said that the blue guy is sexier than his red friend. It made me sad and self-conscious.

It’s the whole game that focuses on taking familiar gaming tropes and milking them for jokes.Later, I was faced with very An annoyed little man who repeatedly mocked an unnamed player character. Naturally, the reaction was to try to shoot him… resulting in my talking gun chastising me for even trying. So i tried again. Say something else. once again? Ah, after all, he suddenly let me do it. “Normally you’re not allowed to kill kids in games, but he’s dead. We killed this kid,” rang my gun. “Rated E for Everyone!”

Yes, we are fully aware that High on Life is a game and we enjoy that fact very much. What’s even more surprising is that the game itself seems to be looking for ideas beyond the single-player shooter his gaming buddies. When I got into some of the fights (against a series of giant ants who lost more and more confidence as they cleared the ranks), I realized that combat had as much to do with platformers and barrages as it did with FPS games. I got

Enemy projectiles abound, but move slowly. That means you’ll spend as much time dodging and positioning yourself in fights as you’ll spend trying to push away headshots. Cover isn’t a huge consideration, so you’ll have to constantly move to avoid blaster shots scattering all around you. It’s clear that Squanch wants to be able to move not only vertically but also laterally in these fights as the game progresses.

I was only able to use one gun (a goop fire pistol called Kenny), but that other shot revealed another wrinkle to fight. Glob Shot fires an arc of explosive… globs. This slows down and knocks enemies into the air when aimed. What I didn’t expect was that it would offer some Devil May Cry-style juggling functionality once the enemies were there. I haven’t been able to experiment further, but it feels like the game encourages you to end fights stylishly rather than efficiently. We expect other guns to offer combos with these alternate abilities.

That feeling of hoping the game will offer more ideas as time goes on is what I’m most excited about about High on Life after I’ve played it. If it had enough jokes, clever touches, references, and combat ideas to write a lot about, how would you feel after hours into the game? High on Life will be far from a joke shooter. It could be something completely new.

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News.follow him twitterAny tips? Want to talk about possible stories?please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

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