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Game Review

Trover Saves the Universe is supposed to be a funny game. But in spite of its cartoonish and quirky goggle-eyed characters, and regardless of its colorful bits and pieces and splashes of rainbow hues, don't be fooled by this game's siren call of cartoon humor. This is not a "sweet" funny game, or a "nice" funny game, or a game that should be anywhere near any youthful tyke who might enjoy a sweet, nice funny game.

So, what exactly is it?

'Rick and Morty' Reloaded … Only Nastier

Trover Saves the Universe is an action platforming game from the mind of Justin Roiland, the creator of the animated Cartoon Network show Rick and Morty. Heard of that one? Plugged In had a lot to say about that not-for-kids cartoon comedy, including this:

"On any given episode, animated characters may have their arms ripped off or their heads smashed in or, perhaps, have their heads smashed in with their own ripped-off arms. Animated blood falls like rain in Seattle. And Rick and Morty is not above showing a little animated skin, either. Or a lot. Or even sexual interludes. In the second episode of season three, which I reviewed, Summer—remember, Morty's live-at-home teen sister—gets into an apparently sexual, cohabitational relationship with a leather-wearing, buttocks-exposing dystopian gangland leader."

That should give you a sense of what Roiland's particular penchant for "humor" might entail. Of course, to get closer to this games content, you'll need to take that show with its TV-14 rating and bleeped s- and f-words and turn its intensity up a thousand degrees or so, stripping away any modicum of network-mandated content restrictions in the process.

Take a Chair, Grab a Trover

This game is designed for full immersion in a VR environment (though playable without that PlayStation headset), and it sticks you in the role of a Chairopian—a guy who sits perpetually in a teleporting lounge chair, clutching a PS4 controller. That avatar, in turn, controls the actions of Trover, a purple monster with babies for eyes (uh huh) who runs around killing things with a lightsaber while he solves platforming puzzles and spews a constant stream of machine-gun, profanity laden, abuses at you.

The story? Oh yeah, there is one. There's this evil alien bird monster, known as a Glorkon, that has snatched up the Chairopian's twin pet puppies and jammed them into its gaping eye sockets. These once cute pups then give the creature (which also screams streams of the foulest vulgarities) the power of a god. It's your job, then, to get your chair into gear, grab 'n' gut the Glorkon, and save those pups.

Gameplay-wise, there are levels to unlock, platforms to jump, gazillions of foes to fricassee, babies to find and grind, pets to torture, feces to throw, etc., etc. It's hard to adequately articulate the sorts of unhinged, terrible deeds you must complete here. All the while, a stammering spew of foul-upon-foul dialogue swirls around you as you play.

And it's all done in the honor of, uh, being funny.

Benign Violations?

Folks who study why comedy is funny point to a number of ways that humor works effectively. One of those notions is something known as the benign violation theory. It says that we all have a general sense of how the world should correctly work; when that sense is surprisingly violated, we're prompted to react with a chortle.

A sweet-looking grannie suddenly screaming obscenities at a child might be one example. But the violation must be "benign," since a real-world terrorist act is also a violation, but not funny in the least.

Trover Saves the Universe is all "benign violation": over and over, wave upon wave.

Frankly, there are some honest laughs in the mix. It's intended to keep you bobbing along on a benign-violation sea, gaming lightly and chortling readily. Still, it's far too easy to find yourself sinking beneath the waves of this game, as they wash over you and drench your brain with nastiness.

And that's not so benign at all.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Record Label


PlayStation 4, PC


Squance Games


May 31, 2019

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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