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High On Life Review

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Let The Interstellar Teabagging Begin .

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Do you ever come to a point where you question your whole existence? A point you feel so hopeless you start to believe yourself incapable of achieving anything? Well, don't worry, for the solution lies in space, as the farther away we are from Earth, the lack of gravity tends to... you know, make us levitate to heights unimaginable! It is in the weightlessness of space that our burdens seem to dissipate, replaced by a sense of liberation and limitless desires to uncover and explore. The vastness of the cosmos stretches infinitely before us in an endless canvas upon which we can paint our dreams and aspirations — the very stars becoming guiding lights, illuminating the path towards self-discovery and personal fulfillment. As we gaze upon the celestial wonders, we realize that the universe, in all its grandeur, holds the key to unlocking our true potential.
 

 ...When the heat is finally brought to the masters of fire... 

Okay, let's skip the philosophical bullcrap, alright? Forget flying cars, implants, overtaking of AI, V-tubers, or basically anything your childish mind thought the infinity of space could hold in exuberance for humans to enjoy, as the intergalactic regions are instead dominated by aliens who see our species as nothing more than a product to be consumed. That's right! And not even 'consumed' in a good way, but more like something to be used and then disposed of, like an addicting hallucinogen, distributed by drug overlords following an invasion of earth on your average Saturday morning, where we could only survive by the miracle of teleportation and the help of a talkative pistol. 

Anyways, if killing the baddies aided by sentient guns while earning some respectable side income sounds like something that could be of interest to you, then look no further for you won't find a better game to live this reality other than High On Life, a sub-20-hour comedy-esque first-person shooter that is heavily inspired both visually and thematically by the long-running animation series Rick and Morty. Although it is the only game that'll ever insult you more times in a single line of dialog than you really deserve for the lack of a social aspect in your life, the game remains, without a doubt, a masterclass on how to execute onto an idea, simply by not holding back on the multiple ways it can use anything that has a mouth to throw insults at us.

 

The guns we wield in the game were all part of an advanced civilization before suffering a fate similar to ours. Due to being adept for combat, the species known as Gatlians fought back fiercely against the invasion of their home planet but wound up being decimated and the ones who survived were exploited exactly for their prowess in being hard to beat. United against an enemy in common, we join forces to end the enslavement of both our species and achieve the destruction of the evil organization behind the heinous acts that brought doom upon humans and gatlians alike.

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It is a game made to be enjoyed by those beyond the point of salvation — those who can laugh at bad jokes and take no offense in being called names left and right. If degeneracy with a teaspoon of godawful humor is your cup of tea, then rejoice, for you won't be able to find a game that sells the pitch of being so idiotic it can be appreciated as well as High On Life does it. So, that said, my apologies in advance if you're one of the few sane people left on our beautiful planet because, unfortunately, this review won't be for you.

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When The Gaming Session Gets Interrupted: Their Worst Mistake Yet .
 

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Developer: Squanch Games

Publisher: Squanch Games

Release Date: December 13, 2022

Buying the game from the link above is a great way to support the site.

Contrary to my previous statement, being far away from home doesn't solve our every problem — very much the opposite, it creates big problems instead. For example, while the atmosphere somehow being breathable is a sight for immediate relief, being able to just stand around breathing won't get us anywhere in terms of saving Earth, which kind of sucks, because it would be awesome being able to save everybody without having to lift a finger. The sobering reality is that, unfortunately for us, true heroism requires bravery as well as our active participation in order for a better future to be unlocked, and rescuing humans from the grasp of such monumental foes won't be so simple as standing idly from the safety of our home, meaning that, whether we like it or not, we'll. have. to. step. outside.

​In the universe of High On Life, you'll be quick to notice that, while a fantastic start, a mere change of environment is barely enough to achieve the grandeur of becoming an intergalactic superhero, and, as you may expect, going from obscurity to the status of legend should take slightly more than a little bit of effort and a few well-aimed shots. For this reason, our first objective in the game will be to, well, arm ourselves with more than confidence in our ability to clutch every encounter. To that end, we have a fateful encounter with Gene Zaroothian, an ex-professional bounty hunter who's retired and living in the streets due to an injury to his legs that crippled him, causing him to become incapacitated and unable to work again.

 

Being such an inspiration and a kind soul, we take his old bounty-hunting suit in exchange for a temporary place to live (permanent in case we happen to die), and from there onwards it's all a question of making those behind the vile actions against our kind regret the day they left their mother's womb. As the weight of saving more than our asses befalls our shoulders, every step we take, every shot we fire, is fueled by the unwavering conviction that we will not rest until they face the consequences of their malevolence.

Every legend has to start somewhere, some just have slightly humbler beginnings than others. To help kickstart our career and improve our odds of survival, we are given an old bounty-hunting suit that, besides making us look awesome, also gives us an array of highly useful abilities which are what allow us to move like an acrobat despite never having done any form of sport our entire lives.

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Bonded over unusual circumstances, we and our Gatlian friend forge ahead, braving the unknown in a symbiotic relationship that few can resist being targeted. Together, we are more than a force to be reckoned with – we are an undetectable threat that moves with purpose in a relentless pursuit of retribution.

To reiterate, being a good shot isn't everything, but being able to down almost everything in a single hit does bring a better resemblance of hope for the future of mankind, alright.

​Now that the preparatory phase of equipping ourselves is complete, it's nearly time we get down to business. Yet, before plunging headfirst into the fray, there remain pivotal matters that demand our attention. Since we are still a beginner at this whole bounty hunting thing, it's important we prove that we're capable of carrying ourselves in a fight and that we are serious about battling until death for what's essentially a lost cause. Fueled by a rush of adrenaline, we set forth on a relentless pursuit of the most notorious thugs scattered across the entirety of the cosmos, acutely aware of the possibility that our first assignment could very well turn out to be our last.

​After surprising our mentor by returning to our lair in one piece, we proceed to claim our very first reward and set out to spend our hard-earned pesos (as the currency used in-game is called) on some things to help ensure we'll be as durable as we need to teach those who oppose us a lesson — a valuable, valuable lesson: do not mess with the kid whose hands are so greasy, they can handle any slippery situation with ease. As is to be expected, we begin the process of dismantling their operations by taking down their lowest-ranking officers, going up the ladder of bastardity until we finally reach the mastermind behind everything, which, being the inevitable force of nature that we know we are, shouldn't take too long.

More surprising than living to tell the tale of an encounter with a famous group of mobbers is coming out with a trophy taken straight from the cold body of their leader after causing a major fuss in their territory. And although, yes, we're quite literally talking about a tiny insignificant ant in a mound of giants, that doesn't make the boldness of our actions any less impressive.

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​And now that we've done enough for contextualization, I think it's only fair we go ahead and talk about the part we've all been waiting for, which would be the combat. While there are things that I won't be able to say right away due to spoiler reasons, you can expect to hear every important bit of information pertaining to the game's most thrilling aspect. When it comes to combat, get ready for an immersive experience that's both exhilarating and delightfully offbeat, not to mention wacky at times. You can expect encounters that will keep you on your toes and inject a healthy dose of fun and excitement into your gameplay.

The One Who Knocks Cuz Why Not: Banging At Their Front Door .
 

​When it comes to gameplay, two things are made very clear about the game: the first is that, despite its silly approach to ranged combat, High On Life shouldn't be underestimated when it comes to spraying walls with the blood of our enemies, and second, it is a game that, in my humble opinion, strikes a perfect balance between fast-paced action and strategic depth. In terms of combat, it manages to find that sweet spot where the pace keeps you engaged without becoming overwhelming. It honestly flows really nicely, with difficulty not being too over-the-top either, meaning that even your dad could pick up the game and enjoy blasting through zones almost effortlessly.

Think of it more as a beginner-friendly action game with a lower skill floor, and a slightly higher ceiling due to the amount of maneuverability it gives us with our futuristic suit and our gun's trick abilities, both contributing to an umbrella of possibilities for how we can approach encounters. To expand upon those abilities, in sum they are basically talents that are exclusive to each of the five guns we can find across the game, being designed with the intent of fulfilling a utility niche meant to work in addition to the destructive powers of the guns. A fun fact is that some of the guns are even proud of their skills, even going so far as to admit that, due to the rarity of their abilities, they can call themselves superior to the other guns despite the gap not being so abyssaly huge.

Ranging from time-stopping abilities to fetus-yeeting parents, it's fair to say the game pairs us with quite a collection of some batshit insane weapons. More than being made to support different playstyles, it seems to me that the design philosophy behind each gun was to create a sense of unrestrained chaos and exhilaration that perfectly aligns with the overall tone of the game.

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Ranging from time-stopping abilities to fetus-yeeting parents, it's fair to say the game pairs us with quite a collection of some batshit insane weapons. More than being made to support different playstyles, it seems to me that the design philosophy behind each gun was to create a sense of unrestrained chaos and exhilaration that perfectly aligns with the overall tone of the game.

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And although, yes, having those funky aliens talk your ears off about how amazing they are mid-combat can be a bit distracting, do remember that they are nothing that your ears can't quickly learn to treat as ambient noise, muffling the sound of background conversation from those talkative characters down to a point you can barely notice it happen as you mow through enemies. There is even an option to turn down the amount of dialog you get via the in-game settings, which I'd recommend you change immediately unless you seriously enjoy the interactions so much you just can't help but want to hear more of them.

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​​As much as having unlimited ammo may appear 'cheaty', have no doubt that the enemies in the game, bosses mainly, more than make up for this "unfair" advantage (they have infinite ammo as well) by being highly active, aggressive and extremely tanky despite their nowhere-near-average damage output.

If you're ever having trouble with a specific enemy, consider using another gun temporarily, as their abilities might be more useful than others when it comes to certain encounters.

Needless to say, experienced players will have an easy time playing through the game even on the highest difficulty settings, being able to breeze through areas without breaking a single sweat, seeing as encounters are fairly basic, consisting mostly of low-level goons with a few elite-type enemies sprinkled in that force us to take a slightly more cautious approach. To be completely fair, its easygoing approach becomes understandable once we take its arcadey elements into consideration. Drawing inspiration from titles like those of the Doom franchise, the game can be kind of comparable to a hack 'n' slash experience where, rather than focusing solely on survival, the objective is mainly to dispatch enemies swiftly by utilizing strategic positioning and outpacing their advances.

Although small, the enemies we can encounter in-game is fairly distinct, with some counting as literal fodder while others are made with the sole intention of ensuring that you can't autopilot your way through the game. Just one quick tip: try to take the big ones from a distance because their attacks hurt.

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Moreover, because it prioritizes fun over anything else, the game manages to entertain us in the most unusual of moments. For example, you can sometimes see enemies perform actions improper for the battlefield, such as twerking as they're about to get hit or running away blasting at their own allies after getting shot at, seemingly unaware of their surroundings. If these don't serve to convince you of the game's carefreeness, do know that there are plenty of other instances where the game goes all-out with its quirky elements, adding a bunch to the frivolous feeling I've just finished talking about.

So, to conclude, while I didn't think the game was as mechanically advanced as I'd like, it still didn't do as bad for a game that's essentially a walking joke. As much as I'd love to have some slightly more advanced AI for enemies and extra bullet hell sequences beyond those that we did get, I can, once again, appreciate the effort that went into creating an experience that managed to be pleasurable regardless of it being challenging or not. While it may not cater to hardcore gamers seeking intense challenges, the game successfully achieves its goal of mainly providing entertainment and a welcome reprieve from the seriousness of other more explosive titles, and, for this reason, it deserves to have a pass for me.
 

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From unexpected dialogue exchanges to comical characters everywhere, the game constantly surprises and delights players with its lighthearted and whimsical nature. Because everything is meant to be viewed as a joke, it's impossible to take the game seriously, however hard it can be to swallow the pill of it being in the same genre as games such as Battlefield and CoD.

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When Starting Over Is The Only Solution: A Second Chance At Life .
 

If you're a fan of anime, you're probably already used to the whole "get transported to another world and start again from scratch" thing, where, as implied by the short description, is basically a sub-genre of animation that allows characters to start again from zero in a far, far away land, possibly even in a different dimension. Although a bit saturated by now due to the popularity of the genre, one thing has remained unchanged throughout the ages: the quick and to-the-point introduction to a distant world with different and yet recognizable laws of nature, without wasting much of our time explaining and introducing us to stuff we are likely to already have some basic understanding.

 

Anyways, point is, High On Life is, more or less, an isekai (the genre of animation we've talked about just now) game that combines adored elements of sci-fi with the layers of bizarreness and exoticity that only a high-fantasy world could provide by mixing up reality with surrealism, making an end product that is difficult to deny appreciation. A truly fascinating aspect of this game to me is that, because it didn't have to adhere to conventional logic, developers were pretty much allowed to explore imaginative realms and concepts with complete disregard for rules, basically receiving a pass with administrative rights for whatever crazy ideas came to their mind, and boy oh boy, they didn't hold back.

Despite its linear nature, the game offers a surprising amount of openness, allowing for a intuitive exploration in environments filled with foul-mouthed aliens that's also full of surprises. Whether you're traversing between comets, asteroids, or planetoids, the game presents an intriguing clash of settings and a realm of completely new fauna for players to navigate and overcome.

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Now, in relation to the game itself, High On Life was somehow far weirder than anything I could've ever expected. One notable example of its next-level weirdness is that, unlike your typical fantasy setting, the game likes to emphasize early on that you are the only unusual, foreign, misplaced, or odd object in the environment, while everything else around you is considered normal within that world. In other words, it basically doesn't even attempt to do the very basic and introduce us to anything or make us feel included in the place we've just happened to pop up, which, to be frank, was quite great for once, you know, not being hailed as the savior of the prophecy and instead being called the "weird, hairy alien" that came out of nowhere.
 

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Although there aren't many, the regions we get to visit during our short stay in space are so outlandishly pretty that you can say without a hint of doubt they are truly out of this world.

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Silently teaching us a thing or two without realizing, one of the first few things we learn is to never lower our guard, as dangers are everywhere, and sometimes they can blend together with the environment, approaching unseen under the cover of tall vegetation. Word of advice: caution can never be too much.

To be clear, that's something I really liked about the game; its boldness in calling it quits as soon as we arrive and not treating us like anything special is what made me assume that I'd have to work really, really hard to earn a drop of recognition. The simple fact that there was barely any non-negative reception to our arrival, that, right there, spelled this was no ordinary isekai game (yeah, I'm using the term really loosely here, but just bear with me for a sec, a'ight). And while I can agree that this information might be completely irrelevant to your enjoyment of the game, I still wanted to make sure to emphasize the uniqueness of this aspect, which completely caught me off-guard. 

Also, way up there in terms of dubious relevancy, High On Life is quite supreme when it comes to edging us before it irons out giving us enough upgrades to be able to reach the rewards that are visible but unreachable until much later into the game. It's both frustrating and amusing how we can spend hours parkouring to get tantalizingly close to the coveted prizes, only to realize we lack the required tools or upgrades to access the contents within the enigmatic chest-like objects known as Luglox. However, if you're dedicated enough, there are moments when you can even make the impossible work out in your favor, turning the tables and obtaining those elusive rewards through sheer determination alone.

 

Unlike in many games, High on Life actually likes to reward the players' effort of going out of their way to explore by populating the world with worthwhile loot and numerous collectibles in the form of Lugloxes. Although we're technically murdering them to access the loot contained inside them, the beings known as Lugloxes are portrayed as mindless creatures, being stationary and completely defenseless as we slice them open.

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Another thing is that getting around thankfully isn't as much of a problem in space as it is here on Earth thanks to the advancement of warping technology, which allows us to travel to faraway places instantaneously. This greatly facilitates our job of infiltrating enemy lines without raising any alarms and rescuing our fellow humans, as now we can just teleport basically anywhere, whenever we want, so long as we have the exact coordinates to instruct our warp device where we want to land. So, to conclude, I'd give the game an 8/10 for exploration just because of the stupid sprint toggle, which ruined my immersion every time I happened by the shift key.

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Being the main objective of our mission, rescuing humans and sending them somewhere safe is thankfully as easy as pressing a button. That said, although a simulation of our home, I still wouldn't count on the place known as 'human haven' being as safe and secure as proposed by our ally that, on top of being a politician, is an alien with no attachments whatsoever to our kind.

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Final Thoughts: Claiming Our Rightful Place Among The Stars .
 

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In the vast landscape of first-person shooters, High On Life comes across as a truly unique and captivating experience that is worth checking out, whether you're an FPS fanatic or have never come in contact with a shooting game in your life. On top of its stellar gameplay, the pulse-pounding combat, in addition to some ankle-breaking moves and a set of out-of-this-world weaponry, comes together to create an experience that transcends the boundaries of games as a whole, making for a delightful entry-level venture that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of their skillz.

Just a quick heads-up: do be aware that there is a great chance the game won't be for you. As a matter of fact, even I, myself, questioned many times if I should continue playing, only to keep being surprised until the moment I caught myself quite literally exploding a level 100 mafia boss' poopy hole. With that being said, if the content presented in this review thus far has not sparked any sense of concern or hesitation within you, then it may be worthwhile to explore the game further.

With this perspective in mind, there are two defining sentences that can be applicable in High On Life's case: one being that it is, quite obviously, an absolute menace to society, and two, the words might potentially hurt every once in a while even if you're as sturdily built as someone that wasn't raised in the golden era of social media. Out of those two, only the latter we can do something about, and that is to remember that words can only do as much damage as we allow them to.

And while I must confess I can't claim to be a fan of Rick and Morty myself at the time of writing this review (hold ya pitchforks - I simply haven't watched the show just yet), based on the clips I've seen, the humor in High On Life not only closely matches its style but it is also a direct 1:1 carbon copy of it. Therefore, if you happen to be an avid enthusiast of the show or resonate with that particular brand of humor, you needn't hold your breath in anticipation of the game's capacity to deliver copious amounts of precisely what you know and cherish any longer.

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Great visuals with a bright and inspiring art style, needed for the obscure mission of saving humanity.

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Top-tier bosses with a highly varied arsenal and a bunch of different techniques to catch us by surprise.

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Worthwhile and rewarding exploration, with almost every corner being filled with some kind of loot.

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Straightforward, yet satisfactory ending, concluding our quest with few turns and twists.

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An easy game overall, lacking tacticality to keep experienced players engaged for long with the combat.

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The characters' swearing can get out of hand fairly quickly especially if you plan on playing in your living room.

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Dialogue can get annoying, even more so when characters won't shut up while you're trying to save your hide.

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Too much background chatter which can be distracting if you decide to not bother lowering it via the in-game settings.

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High On Life

​By all accounts a must-play, High on Life is a meticulous first-person shooter that wins the race impulsionated not only by being different but also highly creative, combining everything great about those games in addition to a pinch of refined silliness.

08/01/2023 - Caius, The Hairy Alien

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