Unfortunately for those in my life, being around me for any amount of time will probably expose you to a few quotes from “Rick And Morty,” whether you get them or not. As a disciple of Dan Harmon, I have spent too many hours watching the show. So when “Pocket Mortys” was announced as a free download on Android and iOS, the excitement was palpable. I was gifted with an early download, and have spent the last week glued to my phone. While a full review will hit once the game is available to all, it absolutely deserves some hands-on impressions!
The comparisons between Pokemon and “Pocket Mortys” are obvious and deserved, but it is certainly not the most important. “Rick and Morty” is a comedy show, and the irreverence and bizarre sci-fi elements were always the most vital part to the game. Without capturing what makes the show so loved would simply make this another disappointing cash-in from the creators and network. Licensed games are notorious for their boring and fetid take on the property. It was a scary idea.
Luckily, the concern over how the game would be handled is unfounded. The first few minutes will have you chuckling out loud, capturing the Rick and Morty dynamic, from the loving disdain Rick has towards his Morty, to the sheer terror that Morty lives in day in and day out. Even the opening scene in Rick’s garage is a perfect replica of the show. Trying to pick out all of the tiny references throughout the game will take days. Nothing feels rushed or tacked on, and noticing that right away was like a warm, comforting hug. I knew I was in good hands.
Part of the show’s charm is in its ability to craft insane premises that, somehow, make sense. “Pocket Morty’s” takes a queue from the season one episode “Close Rick-counters Of The Rick Kind,” setting an alternate Rick against our Rick from dimension C-137. Quickly after, you approach the Council Of Ricks in order to make sense of the strange and vicious sport of Morty collecting.
This is where the Pokemon comparisons really hit. You collect Morty’s of varying types (rock, paper, scissors), battle other trainers, and attempt to catch wild Morty’s to improve your entourage. Even the amount of moves you can have active is set at 4. So, why not just play Pokemon?
No one expected “Pocket Mortys” to be a full and robust game similar to its inspiration, but damn it, they almost got there. This game is disconcertingly vast. There are numerous levels to explore, dozens of different Morty’s to collect and raise, and a crafting system that is more intricate and fulfilling that some AAA titles. Toss in the endless references to the show (Blitz & Chitz features prominently), and you have the mobile equivalent of sugar; addictive, delicious, and certain to send you one a slightly unhinged high. Considering how robust the game is, it is obvious that everyone involved, from creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon to every single employee at Big Pixel Games, treated this as a dream project. Even the music from the show has been adapted for the game, offering us midi versions of original songs to add a bit more authenticity to the homage.
Even if you have little to no interest in the show (which you should you heathen), the game is extremely accessible, and a fantastic “pick-up-and-play” experience for your phone. It’s free. Get it. There is really no reason not to. As I stated at the start of this hands-on you’ll be sure to see our full review soon!
Pocket Mortys will be available January 14th on iOS and Android.