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Writing it out is tempting High on life as a Justin Roiland-powered comedy game where your opinion of it is based solely on whether or not his particular brand of comedy resonates with you. And while it’s largely accurate, it sparkles High on life being one of the best and most creative shooters released in 2022.

Let’s dwell a little longer on the first point. High on life is fundamentally Justin Roiland’s game. Its story and gameplay are steeped in its off-color, absurdist and self-deprecating (anti)humor. Roiland voices your sensitive gun, so he’s always in your hand, providing running commentary. Depending on your tolerance, that’s a pretty high barrier to entry. (That said, there is a setting where you can turn off his random dialogue.)

But, that aside, there’s a really creative game that scratches the surface of a first-person shooter in a year where shooters haven’t really stood out (except for Metal: Helsinger, which mixed Doom-like mechanics with bespoke metal music to great effect, and Hyper Demonbuilt on excruciatingly wonderful tension Devil Daggers)

Knifey functions as both a melee weapon and a grappling hook.
Image: Via Squanch Games polygon

majority High on life’s creation derives from its transition variants. Very early on, you’ll pick up Knifey, a killer and sentient knife. The knife is your go-to weapon, but it also serves as a grappling hook, which is like the greatest thing ever to happen to the Halo series in melee combat. Picking up the knife allows you to ride zip lines and scale previously unscaleable walls. Each of your guns, aliens called Gatlians, has a similar secondary use.

Your primary weapon, Kenny, has a Globe Shot, which he fires from his “sly hole”. In combat, this acts like a grenade, but also allows you to knock down some walls to create new paths. Like a shotgun, Gus fires disc shots that shoot a giant Frisbee that ricochets around the level to damage enemies. Shoot them at certain walls, but they create platforms that you can climb on. A copyrighted version of Halo’s Needler, Sweezy fires a Time Bubble that slows down time inside its shell, perfect for passing the spinning fan blades.

Using High On Life's Gus to shoot the climbing disc on the wall next to the green waterfall.

Gus shoots discs that you can climb on.
Image: Via Squanch Games polygon

Add to that the Jetpack and Mag-Boots that allow you to climb metal walls and navigate anywhere in the world High on life makes for a really satisfying action-puzzle shooter.

No matter how you feel about Justin Roiland’s humor, or how annoying you find his commentary, High on life it’s a good game. It’s not perfect, mind you. In about eight hours, we ran into glitches, clipping issues, and one game-breaking bug; something that rarely appears based on a quick search. Some of those bugs have already been fixed within a day, a spokesperson for Squanch Games told Polygon.

so yes High on life is an imperfect game that really needs you to buy at Roiland’s Rick and Morty style of humor to fully embrace it. But if you can handle it, you’re in for a really creative shooter. (The fact that it’s free on Xbox Game Pass makes it that much easier.)


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