High on Life First Impression and Opinion
High on Life has been making its way around the web. The thing is, some people love it and others hate it. There seems to be a considerable division between the two sides. So, let’s see what’s going on. Today, I present you my High on Life first impression.
If one thing’s certain, it’s that this is a godsend for Rick and Morty fans. A couple of months ago, it celebrated its issue Rick and Morty #100. Plus, this year announced a Rick and Morty anime spin-off. And, the beloved duo made its way to Multiversus’ season 1.
So, there’s no shortage of content for fans. Now, High on Life brings that same humor to the shooter genre. But, is there more to it than humor? Is it a compelling addition to the FPS market?
Let’s answer those questions!
First impressions playing High on Life
See that guy on the left? He’s my new best friend.
Right off the bat, the game felt… weird. As you can see above, a retro shooter greeted me. It had heavy Systemshock vibes. But, the jokes came instantly. That bald guy on the left introduced himself as my divorce attorney.
He basically guided me through the level. It was a tutorial, but I’ll cover the details a bit better in its own section.
However, I can say that the humor was amazing. The guy had great quips, very reminiscent of Rick and Morty’s humor. That said, I think it’s a bit better in this game. I’ve never been the biggest Rick and Morty fan. Yet, the jokes here really got me.
Character selection is… Interesting, to say the least.
Then, the game blows your expectations away. You hear a sudden voice and the game stops. Turns out, you were just playing a video game. The real game gets revealed, with modern graphics and everything.
You get to choose your character on a coke-covered pocket mirror. You can see where the jokes are going. This is for mature audiences only.
With that introduction, the game sets the tone.
The graphics side of my High on Life first impression
The graphics are a great mix between cartoon and realism.
Before diving into gameplay, let’s talk about the graphics. They’re not ground-breaking by any means. Yet, they’re nice to look at. In other words, they do the job. And, I’m not saying they’re mediocre. I liked them.
However, things get a lot better once you start exploring the world. Indoors are fairly bland but serviceable. Your home is the main exception. It’s filled with furniture and details that make it feel real and cozy.
The game looks great most of the time.
That said, the outdoors are the real highlight here. Every mission sends you to a different part of the world. That means a new biome, architecture, and even characters. The graphics excel when you’re exploring larger areas.
As you can see in the images, the quality is quite high in all areas. The shading and textures are fantastic. They’re noticeable indoors, but they’re much better outside.
The sci-fi side of the aesthetic is amazing, I must admit.
This game is inspired by Rick and Morty. So, the art direction is mainly sci-fi and futuristic. Thankfully, this element is impeccable. The cities’ colors and architecture look fantastic.
I constantly found myself just taking in the scenery. It really gives you the incentive to explore your surroundings. I’m yet to complete the game. Though, all the levels feel unique and with personality.
Not everything is perfect, though.
Yes, there’s a “but” here. Visual glitches are plentiful as you advance through the game. They’re not too obvious at first. But, you’ll quickly start noticing missing textures and glitching objects.
That’s my biggest pet peeve with the game. You can stand still looking at a wall and doing nothing. It still won’t load properly. Sometimes, it’ll even shift textures while you stare at it. Some areas perform better than others. But, you’ll have to get used to it.
The soundtrack in High on Life: Surreal but immersive
There’s not much to say about the soundtrack. If you’ve heard Rick and Morty music, you’ve heard High on Life. Again, I’m not saying that negatively.
Tobacco is the artistic name behind the composer. And, I must admit, he did a pretty good job here. “Surreal” and “minimalist” are great adjectives for some of the tracks. Yet, others offer really complex and exciting arrangements.
Overall, it’s the ideal soundtrack for a sci-fi game. It’s also a highlight of my High on Life first impression. I never grew bored by the music in this game. So, I don’t have anything bad to say about it.
I guess my only “complain” would be some tracks’ identities. A few of the tracks blend into each other. That makes it hard to differentiate between songs. But, the examples are very few.
Plus, it’s not really a bad thing for a video game soundtrack.
High on Life’s gameplay, mechanics, and flow
Exploring the environments is pretty fun. But, you have to get used to the movement.
Now, let’s dive into the most important subject: gameplay.
High on Life doesn’t revolutionize the FPS genre. If you’ve played Doom or Call of Duty, you’re ready for it. You move with the WASD keys, aim and shoot with the mouse, and all that. The controls are classic FPS controls.
There’s one weird thing, though. Movement feels as if you’re moving a full character model. You can’t see your legs or anything. But, sudden turns feel clunky. It takes half a second for the character to align sometimes.
The game feels pretty bland at the beginning. You don’t have a HUD or objective tracking. So, you’re left to your own devices for the first hour. This can be frustrating.
Things get better when you get the suit, though.
But, you soon get a bounty hunter suit. That’s when the game really begins. Then, you can see your health, shield, ammo, and waypoints. You can also upgrade this suit with modules. For instance, the first module you get lets you dodge by pressing CTRL.
In no time, you become a bounty hunter.
So, you’re now a bounty hunter. What does that mean?
The main gameplay loop is going for individual targets. Each one brings a new location and, at the start, new mechanics. Each bounty target has a different personality. That manifests in their dialogs and the scenery.
Boss fights can be pretty fun, actually.
Naturally, all bounties conclude with a boss fight. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen them in FPS games. At least, they’re rarely as prominent as they are in High on Life. Each boss fight has different mechanics and strategies. You’ll have to adapt quickly to every boss.
Of course, the bosses’ lines are usually great.
More weapons translate into more gameplay options.
Obviously, weapons are a major part of this game. Every weapon can change how you play. Each one has different firing modes and special abilities. You can also mod them to boost their performance.
An interesting take on the FPS genre boosts my High on Life first impression
Shoot alien bad guys. That’s pretty much it, right?
Again, this game doesn’t revolutionize the FPS genre. In fact, you might think it’s your regular shooter from these images. Sure, the guns look funny and the environments are cool. But, it’s just aiming and shooting, isn’t it?
Ah, yes, your weapons are genuine characters here.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Yes, the mechanics are fairly run-of-the-mill. But, everything changes when we factor in the script. Every weapon is a character. They have personalities, dialogs, and opinions.
Thus, they feel more like companions than guns. You always have someone by your side, spewing jokes and remarks.
Aiming down sights lets you shoot more accurately. Plus, your guns get a bit more… Intimate.
Yes, you can aim down your guns’ sights in this game. But, the game places a nice twist here. When you do it, your gun stares at you. Sometimes, the gun will even whisper things to you.
You can upgrade your character and weapons and become more powerful.
Another solid addition is weapon and suit modding. You’ll keep getting more powerful as time goes on. And, these mods add new ways to tackle challenges.
High on Life’s humor: Fresh and hilarious
Here, you can find this couple arguing because the guy thinks he’s the chosen one.
It’s time we get to the main reason you’ll play this: the humor. Rick and Morty fans will feel right at home here. The jokes, dialogs, and even personalities feel just like the show. Again, I’m not a Rick and Morty fan. But, most of the jokes here are very good.
They come from all places, too: main characters, guns, NPCs, and environments. You don’t have to look hard for jokes.
Most characters are alright. But, the humor can get old at times if you’re not used to it.
I do have one complaint here, though. Some characters can be annoying. Your first gun is the best example. Most of the time, he’s likable. But, his personality can be one-dimensional. He’s constantly stuttering and anxious.
He’s basically pistol Morty. And, it’s one of the things I don’t like about Rick and Morty. This type of humor gets repetitive with time. And, my High on Life first impression was the same.
Things can get a bit out of hand at times.
Moreover, humor can get in the way sometimes. The image above is after you get your suit. You need to license it. Before that, you’ll get spammed with ads. You have to press E to remove each ad. That’s a lot of pressing.
In moments, the game makes you sit through a long bit. This tendency can become annoying if you don’t enjoy the joke.
Just killed a kid. Forget everything I said; this game is revolutionary.
That said, the game is still funny. It sets up plenty of moments for you to act in ways you “shouldn’t.” For instance, you’re free to kill characters you don’t need to take out. Your guns’ reactions in these cases are great.
The tutorial: High on Life’s perfect introduction
This came right after telling me how to double jump. Thing is, there’s no double jump in the game.
Let’s go back to the tutorial for a bit. This section is what made my High on Life first impression. And, my opinion remained mostly untouched for the rest of my playthrough. However, this section is stronger than other parts of the game.
The tutorial is more than an introduction to the game’s mechanics. It’s an introduction to High on Life’s philosophy. Everything, from the mechanics to the jokes, translates into the main game.
Well… I lost my divorce attorney.
So, I was a bit sad when I discovered that the tutorial guide wouldn’t stay forever. And, I’d lie if I say your first gun is the ideal replacement. In my opinion, the divorce attorney was more likable.
But, that might just be me not liking the over-stuttering type of characters.
Don’t worry if you feel it wasn’t helpful enough. You can find more tips in the forum.
Of course, the tutorial section isn’t complete. You have a lot more to learn during the game. This section just focuses on the basics.
Luckily, every new mechanic comes with a quick explanation. And, you can find more tips in the “Hunter Forums.” It’s a page in the pause menu.
The plot side of my High on Life first impression
It starts fairly unassuming…
I won’t spoil everything. Don’t worry. But, the plot is an integral part of this game’s first impression. It dictates a lot of the comedy and gameplay. So, let’s summarize it really quickly.
Things start fairly simple. You get out of your room and head out with your sister to buy groceries. But, aliens attack your neighborhood.
But, things quickly get out of hand.
You can see the main bad guy ingest one of your neighbors. This reveals the main plot of the game. An alien drug cartel uses humans as drugs. They’ve arrived on our planet to harvest their product.
Essentially, aliens invade the Earth because humans are drugs to them.
Your goal is to stop the G3 cartel and save the Earth. During your adventure, you’ll meet new characters that will help you out. That includes your sister, a former bounty hunter, and your guns.
Overall, the plot is fairly interesting. It’s not something you see often. It does rely on tropes now and then. Still, it’s an overall fresh experience.
The world and my High on Life first impression
Running around and listening to NPCs talk quickly became my hobby.
Finally, let’s dive into my favorite part of High on Life. The game’s universe is rich and charismatic. Every level feels and looks different. You go from futuristic cities to Mad Max-like desert junk towns.
Exploring the world is also very fun. You can find NPCs having conversations all around the levels. Sometimes, they shed light on what’s going on. Other times, it’s just a funny bit to keep you amused.
The game offers nice insight into how the different worlds function.
Every level feels alive. And, that’s due to more than just the NPCs’ chatter. You can find posters and TV transmissions all around the world. These offer more information about the different levels and cities.
For instance, you can find an ad about the Mother Against Violence. They’re a group of concerned parents trying to keep the streets safe. Then, you’ll run into an ad from Mothers For Violence. They’re the exact opposite.
This kind of insight is a great part of the game. But, if you look at that image above, you’ll notice something.
But, you have to push through the visual glitches.
Yes, the wall is glitched. And, that takes me back to my biggest issue with the game: polish. I loved exploring the different areas. But, that meant running into countless visual glitches. That can really take your immersion away.
Luckily, I can push past those issues. Yet, I can see them ruining the experience for other players.
Closing thoughts for my High on Life first impression
The characters, friends and foes, are the real reason why you’ll play it.
So, what’s my High on Life first impression?
This game won’t change the FPS industry. But, it’s a great time if you like the genre and comedy. It combines the two elements seamlessly, at least most of the time. Thus, the hiccups are forgivable to me.
That’s also the main reason you’re buying this game. Rick and Morty fans will have a blast with it. But, other audiences can also have a great time. You just have to be the right person for the humor.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend it if you want a serious game. It’s not a triple-A experience by any means. The lack of polish is evident. So, you’ll miss out on a lot of the fun if you don’t appreciate the humor.
Overall, High on Life’s quality depends on how you approach it. As just an FPS, it’s pretty much average. As an action-comedy video game, it’s a great time. So, keep that in mind before buying it!
Luckily, it’s also available on Game Pass. So, there’s little to lose for trying it.
Featured Image Credit: Squanch Games, Inc.